Posts Tagged ‘Mir Quasem Ali’

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10 biggest terror finance news stories of 2014

December 30, 2014
  1. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria rebounded from a weaker financial position to amass $3 billion in annual income after taking over Fallujah in January and Mosul in June. Its diversified portfolio makes ISIS the world’s best funded terror group. Western allies are trying to cut off ISIS’s money, but admit that the best case scenario is that ISIS will run out of cash on its own.
  2. Treasury undersecretary David Cohen announced in March that “Qatar, a longtime U.S. ally, has for many years openly financed Hamas,” and that it is financing terrorists in Syria. These comments were followed up by former MI6 spy chief Richard Dearlove’s statement in July that “substantial and sustained funding” for ISIS comes from Saudi Arabia and Qatar. At least 5 but probably dozens more prominent Qataris are involved in the financial pipeline to Al Qaeda affiliates.
  3. The 4,500 rockets fired by Hamas toward Israel from July to August were financed and supplied by Iran and Qatar, further calling into question the wisdom of Iranian nuclear negotiations and periodic U.S. communications through Qatari diplomats for outreach to the Taliban.
  4. A ban from Israel and a designation as a terrorist entity by the U.A.E. made 2014 an annus horribilus for Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW). The world’s largest Islamic charity was also tarnished by revelations that its German subsidiary has worked with a Hamas-connected charity in Syria and that IRW’s U.S. subsidiary, IR-USA, was documented to have given $118,000 to terror-linked groups.
  5. Turkey’s role in financing terrorism spilled out into public view after paying $800 million to ISIS for oil. Turkey’s 2014 corruption scandal also revealed the extent of their involvement in Iranian sanctions evasion. Turkish president Erdogan’s support for Al Qaeda financier Yasin al-Qadi led his removal from U.S. terror blacklists.
  6. Arab Bank was found liable in Linde v. Arab Bank, PLC in September for funding 24 terrorist attacks by Hamas. The case sets a powerful legal precedent for victims’ families to seek justice against Middle Eastern banks involved in financing terror.
  7. A bill to declassify 28 pages of a Congressional report into 9/11 gained 20 new co-sponsors in 2014. The redactions deal with money given by Saudi officials and agents to the hijackers.
  8. Sharia banker and Islamist militant financier Mir Quasem Ali was sentenced to death by a war crimes tribunal in November for 8 torture sessions he oversaw against Bangladeshis in 1971. Ali’s involvement highlighted the intersection between Saudi money, violent Islamist groups, and sharia-compliant banking.
  9. Boko Haram kidnapped 200 girls in April, possibly for financial reasons, as suggested by Boko Haram’s demands for a ransom from the Nigerian government and from the girls’ families. Other motives include sex and household work and the prospect of money and prisoner swaps.
  10. An outspoken singer and fierce critic of terror finance, Saado Ali Warsame, was slain in Somalia in July. Warsame previously called upon fellow Somalis to refrain from using the remittance company Dahabshiil because of the firm’s role in funding terrorism. Warsame alleged before her death that the company offered a contract for her assassination.

Newer Money Jihad readers may also want to look back at our biggest stories of 2013, 2012, and 2011 to see how the threats are evolving over time.

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War criminal turned sharia banker sentenced to death by hanging

November 3, 2014

A former director of the largest sharia bank in Bangladesh has been sentenced to death for war crimes. Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal announced yesterday verdicts of Mir Quasem Ali’s guilt on eight counts of abduction, confinement, and torture; and one count of murder. Ali was found not guilty on four related counts. For the murder charge Ali was sentenced to death by hanging.

In addition to being a co-founder and a former director of the sharia financial house Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd. (IBBL), Ali has reportedly maintained over 100,000 shares worth over 40,000 USD in IBBL. Ali has worn several hats while financing Islamist militants in Bangladesh over the last several decades, including a stint as director of the Bangladeshi branch of the Saudi-sponsored Muslim World League “charitable” foundation that raises money for Islamist fighters. He has also played an instrumental role in financing the Jamaat-e-Islami political party. IBBL itself has been implicated in several terrorist finance schemes and is currently under audit by the government of Bangladesh.

The war crimes charges date back to November and December of 1971 when, as the president the Chittagong chapter of the Islami Chhatra Sangha (ICS), the student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami militia, and as a member of the Al-Badr death squads, Ali directed torture sessions and at least one murder of pro-independence East Pakistanis (Bangladeshis) at Al-Badr’s rooms in the Dalim Hotel. Interrogations directed by Ali were designed to elicit the whereabouts of civilians and fighters who were sympathetic to the cause of independence.

Findings from the trial include:

  • When a thirsty detainee asked for water during his torture session, Mir Quasem Ali instructed his men to “give him urine to drink.” Referring to the treatment against another victim, Ali said to his men, “seeing him [Shafiul Alam Chowdhury] the detainees here will have some lesson.”
  • On another occasion at the hotel, Ali said of a tortured boy: “he is not dead yet, throw him in [the room] so that the captives understand the consequence of not telling the truth.”
  • Survivor Sanaulla Chowdhury testified that Ali was present during several torture sessions and personally interrogated Chowdhury. Defense lawyers did not dispute Chowdhury’s testimony.
  • Sayed Md. Sarwaruddin testified that Ali and his accomplices “grilled” him for information about freedom fighters and beat him up on explicit orders from Ali after Sarwaruddin refused to answer their questions. Sarwaruddin said he also heard Al-Badr members refer to Ali as “Commander” and “Khan Saheb” [leader/master].
  • Torture tactics included beating detainees with electric wires and hanging them upside down.
  • Iskandar Alam Chowdhury testified that Ali told him “that he would be killed if he did not make disclosure about the freedom fighters,” although defense lawyers argued that Chowdhury had changed his story from earlier testimony.
  • Another witness whose name was transliterated in court documents as “Md. Salauddin @ Chuttu Mia” said that “Mir Quasem Ali threatened to kill and dump him in the river Kornofuli.”
  • Several detainees at Dalim Hotel were shot and dumped into the murky waters of the Karnaphuli including Tuntu Sen and Ranjit Das. Facilitating the murder of teenage detainee Jasim Uddin was ultimately what earned Ali his death sentence.
  • Sunil Kantia Bardhan said that he and five others confined to a room were told they would all be killed if they refused to talk, but the war crimes tribunal did not find his narrative to be credible.
  • Nasiruddin Chowdhury described being abducted and brought to Dalim Hotel where he was beaten by Al-Badr members. When they failed to get information from him, Ali entered the room and asked them why they couldn’t extract information from him, and ordered them to beat him more. They began beating him “indiscriminately with stick, iron rod, electric wire.” Then Ali personally asked, “who are your co-freedom fighters? Where are their shelters and arms?” Still getting no answers, they beat him again till he bled.

Most of the evidence against Ali consisted of eye witness testimony of torture survivors, but in some cases evidence came from second-hand accounts from family members of the deceased, as well as several cases from passages of books written by the victims following Bangladesh’s independence. The evidence appears to be quite consistent in indicating that Ali was in a leadership position over the Al-Badr “muscle” men. The testimony of survivors often depicts Ali giving instructions to Al-Badr members and of impasses at Dalim Hotel being escalated to Ali’s attention.

Ali eventually left the torture rooms of the Dalim Hotel for the board rooms of sharia banking in Bangladesh with Saudi backing.  With 40 years having passed, Ali’s lawyers argued that too much time had elapsed since the alleged crimes for Ali to receive a fair trial.  They also claimed that Ali wasn’t in Chittagong for at least some part of the time period in question, that alleged war criminals received amnesty from prosecution under a 1973 agreement, and that Ali did not have a formal leadership position over the Al-Badr members at Dalim Hotel. The tribunal was not persuaded by those arguments and laid out a 351-page ruling explaining their judgments in detail.

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Saudi-backed tycoon finances Jamaat-e-Islami

March 19, 2013
http://freemirquasemali.org/mir-quasem-ali-applies-for-legally-entitled-facilities-in-jail/

Mir Quasem Ali

Mir Quasem Ali serves as the de facto treasurer of Jamaat-e-Islami (JEI or simply “Jamaat”), the Islamist political party in Bangladesh with close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and militant causes.  He has served for nearly 40 years as Saudi Arabia’s money man in Bangladesh, being involved major Wahhabi-backed institutions since the 1970s.

Mir Quasem Ali (also often spelled Mir Kashem Ali) is in jail at the moment for war crimes he and his Al-Badr group committed during Bangladesh’s struggle for independence in 1971, but he is still sometimes touted as the party’s next leader.

According to one account, Mir Quasem Ali fled to Saudi Arabia after Bangladesh secured its independence, and returned after amnesty was offered in 1974.  He landed a job at the newly founded Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited, Bangladesh’s biggest sharia bank (which itself has close ties to Saudi Arabia’s Al Rajhi Bank), and he became IBBL’s director for many years according to an article by Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury:

…IBBL provides JEI an opportunity to launder money from abroad and also channel un-audited funds to various militant groups in the country and abroad. Islamic Bank Foundation (IBF), a JEI floated organization oversees all the projects of IBBL and profits generated by it and the interest / commission accrued on foreign donations goes to the IBBL account of IBF.

The IBF is headed by Mir Qasem Ali, JEI Executive Committee member and Country Director of the Saudi based Islamic NGO Rabeta-al-alam-al-Islami that funds a number of projects in Bangladesh. Mir Quasem Ali, the main brain behind JEI’s finances, is now in jail facing trial on war crimes charges. He remained Director of IBBL for a number of years since its inception in 1975…

Money Jihad readers will recall that Bangladeshi authorities say that IBBL has diverted 8 percent of its corporate zakat to terrorists.  The U.S. Senate also blasted HSBC last year for its banking relationships with IBBL.

In his role as country director for the Saudi-backed Muslim World League’s branch in Bangladesh—Rabeta-al-Alam-al-Islami Bangladesh—Mir Quasem Ali collected funds for local militants, Rohingya fighters from Burma, and Afghan mujahideen, which Money Jihad blogged about in 2011.

Mir Quasem Ali also sits on the board of the Saudi-funded Ibn Sina Trust, whose website describes his position with the trust and his previous positions with Rabeta-al-Alam-al-Islami and IBBL without referring to his current status in jail.

An article from the Policy Research Group in 2009 laid out additional details about Jamaat’s money laundering, terrorist financing, and business operations, and Mir Quasem Ali’s role in overseeing them: Read the rest of this entry ?