Ryan Mauro recently conducted an interview with Money Jihad which was published yesterday at RadicalIslam.org—a leading news site about the treat posed by Islamic fundamentalism. We covered a wide range of topics including what laws on terrorist financing are being insufficiently enforced, what countries are funding terrorism, and problems with hawala.
The full Q&A is available here. Here’s just a taste of our exchange:
Ryan Mauro: What methods are the Islamists using today to raise money, besides soliciting wealthy donors?
Money Jihad: Well, it’s not just about zakat from wealthy donors. Folks like Amina Farah Ali in Minnesota, Shabaaz Hussain in London, and Irfan Naseer in Birmingham have fundraised for relatively small donations from individual Muslims to support jihad overseas. A few thousand dollars from the West goes a long way to fund a holy warrior on the ground in Somalia.
But apart from zakat donations, there are a whole host of other Islamic taxes that receive less attention but are huge revenue stream for jihad. Western reporters call it extortion, but the mujahideen don’t look at it that way.
Take for example two terrorist organizations with a ground game: Al-Shabaab and the Taliban. They have fighters on the ground and control definite territory. Organizations like that rely to a great extent on levying Islamic taxes on the people under their jurisdiction. The Taliban still gets money from ushr, the Islamic tax on harvests, which includes poppy yields. Al Shabaab imposes harbor taxes, checkpoint taxes (a practice from the early days of Islam up through Ottoman times), and a zakat on the lucrative Somali charcoal trade.
Ransoms, which are also permitted against infidels by the Koran, are a major revenue source for organizations like AQIM and Abu Sayyaf. For Hezbollah, the West focuses on their drug money, but they get a lot of money from khums, the Shia Muslim tax on individual profit.
Counterfeiting, Sharia finance, street crimes, welfare fraud — those are all being used as well in different parts of the world to fund terrorism, individual Islamists or both…
Ryan Mauro asked some other great questions during the interview, such as: “Do you believe that the Muslim Brotherhood network in the U.S. has stopped financing Hamas since the shutting down of the Holy Land Foundation, deciding to solely focus on political influence instead?”
In addition to serving as the national security analyst for RadicalIslam.org, Mr. Mauro is also a Clarion Fund fellow, the founder of WorldThreats.com, and often appears on the Fox News Channel. It was a pleasure to be interviewed by him.