Posts Tagged ‘property’

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Ayatollah amasses $95b in expropriated assets

November 27, 2013

Reuters has published a three-part report (hat tip to Sal) on how the Iranian agency Setad, purportedly an office administering unclaimed property, is actually a vessel for confiscating the assets of regime opponents, religious minorities, and emigrants.  Setad then auctions off those assets to make more money for the Ayatollah Khamenei.

Kai Ryssdal of the radio program Marketplace interviewed one of the Reuters reporters about the investigation.  Take a listen:

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Egypt commandeers Jewish deeds?

November 11, 2012

First, the report from the Times of Israel:

Egyptian authorities reportedly seize 1.7 million documents proving Jewish ownership of assets in Cairo

Two tons of papers, about to be shipped to Israel, grabbed by police in what Egyptian media call ‘dangerous security breach’

Egyptian authorities confiscated some 1.7 million documents reportedly proving Jewish ownership of land and assets in Cairo. The documents were reportedly about to be shipped out of the country to Israel, in what the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram is calling “the most dangerous case of security breach in history.”

The documents were found in 13 large cases, ready to be transported to Jordan and from there to Israel, Egyptian media reported Sunday.

Elaph, a Saudi-owned news site, reported that Egyptian police received notice that the packages were being held at a shipping company in the Nasser City district of Cairo. Upon arriving at the scene, police found over 1.7 million documents dating back to the 19th century, dealing with Jewish ownership of assets in Cairo. The documents, according to the security source speaking to the Saudi site, weighed over two tons.

Preliminary investigations have revealed that the documents were supposed to be used in an Israeli lawsuit involving Jewish property lost in Egypt’s 1952 revolution, the site reported. According to Elaph, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi is personally following the case, which it said affects Egypt’s national security.

The documents were reportedly stolen on December 16, 2011, from a Cairo research institution, the Institut d’Égypte, during public riots that erupted following president Hosni Mubarak’s ouster.

According to Al-Ahram, an unnamed senior member of former Mubarak’s National Democratic Party (NDP) was involved in the efforts at smuggling the documents out of the country, in the service of a French-Jewish woman. Another man implicated by Al-Ahram is a Jewish Lebanese businessman named Robert Khalil Sarsaq, who also holds other nationalities. Elaph’s source claimed that the two are suspected of having ties with the Mossad.

The source noted that some of the documents, containing Jewish ownership deeds for banks, companies and real estate, date back to 1863. The documents are now being held by Egypt’s general prosecution.

Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon recently launched a campaign encouraging Jewish refugees from Arab states to come forward and present testimonials of the circumstances that led them to flee their countries of origin.

Egypt’s Jewish community numbered some 75,000 before the founding of Israel in 1948. By 1957, only several thousand Jews were left in the country; most of the others had fled under Arab pressure, according to contemporary accounts.

In 2009, the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu established a national advisory council to examine Jewish claims of lost property in Arab countries, but the council was moved from the Justice Ministry to the Pensioner Affairs Ministry, and did little to register property claims.

Now for the grain of salt.  The reliable Elder of Ziyon doubts the story, writing:

I asked a friend who is an expert in such matters whether this makes sense, and the respose was “It seems that the Egyptians are running scared about this whole Israeli campaign to recover Jewish assets. They are quite capable of framing a woman in order to try and scare off any Jews who might want to take the law into their own hands. And it’s a warning to any Egyptian who might be thinking of helping Israel gather information!”

The story seems fishy to me as well. It seems that if you wanted to smuggle papers from Egypt to Israel, Jordan would not be the preferred route – a European country would make a lot more sense. Chances are they found a lot of documents, a minority of which had something to do with Jews, and their imaginations took over from there.

Whether the particulars of the document transfer are accurate, larger problem of confiscated Jewish property by Islamic governments remains.  It occurred in Turkey, it happened in Iraq, and this case illustrates that the same thing happened in Egypt.

Israel is condemned by elites, leftists, the U.N., and Muslims for “stealing” Arab property, but when it comes to Jewish property, one can hear the crickets chirping.

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Atlanta’s “largest and oldest” mosque faces tax sale

March 12, 2012

Legal notice from DeKalb Champion, Mar. 8, p. 20C

A tax lien has been filed against the Atlanta Masjid of Al-Islam, the self-proclaimed “largest and oldest Islamic community in Metro Atlanta.”  The owners of the mosque must pay about $6,000 to satisfy the lien and prevent the property from being sold on the courthouse steps of DeKalb County on Apr. 3.

The Atlanta Masjid normally pays about $10,000 in local property taxes a year for its property on 562 Fayetteville Road, but has only made a partial payment for 2011.  The mosque also owes smaller amounts on adjoining property it owns at 560 and 596 Fayetteville Road.

Details of Atlanta Masjid’s finances are not available to the public because the organization has no tax form 990 on file with the Internal Revenue Service.  Its website seeks zakat donations for the mosque, for Eid, and for the schools operated by the mosque.  The mosque has a “Majlis Ash-Shura Board” which appears to have marginal oversight over funding, but it does not appear to have a dedicated finance committee.  Daaiyah Shakir is listed as the mosque’s treasurer.

Atlanta Masjid caught the attention of Atlas Shrugs in 2008 for a potential violation of 501(c)(3) tax law by hosting a political event for Barack Obama onsite.

Despite its tax problems, the mainstream media is content to present only a positive image for Atlanta Masjid.  CNN has reported warmly on the mosque before, calling one of its Ramadan iftars “splendid,” and touting the mosque’s “community outreach.”  The Atlanta Journal-Constitution assured readers that Atlanta Masjid is “egalitarian, mainstream” (while showing a photo of male-only worship) during the mosque’s alleged 50th anniversary.

The mosque’s imam, Mansoor Sabree, made news in Georgia during the Ground Zero Mosque controversy for endorsing a mosque “anywhere, anywhere in America.”

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Rejoice, rejoice, oh Christian

October 6, 2011
Secretariat General for EU Affairs

Turkish gov't building on seized Greek Orthodox property

Good news for Christians and Jews in Turkey.  Turkish Prime Minister Ergodan says that properties seized by Turkish authorities from religious minorities in the early 20th Century will finally be returned.  (Of course, Christian and Jewish lands remain subject to discriminatory property tax treatment relative to Muslim owned land under sharia law, but let’s leave that to the side and enjoy a rare example of good news for the region.)  From Mission Network News, h/t RoP:

Turkey (MNN) ― In the last days of August, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Turkey would relinquish all properties or current property values to Christians and Jews who had had land confiscated 75 years ago.

Turkey has long been a difficult place for Christians to live. While persecution is not nearly as prevalent as in many neighboring countries, believers remain a small minority in the Muslim nation, and they have often been treated as second class citizens.

A prime example of these injustices was in 1936, when, Compass Direct reports, the Turkish government officially registered an incomplete list of minority properties. Hundreds of properties were confiscated from Christian and Jewish communities, some sold to third parties, others used for various offices…

The question is, can this important and positive step be replicated in other Islamic countries?  Can other Middle Eastern countries be brought around to return property to religious minorities?  Yes and no.  Turkey may be doing this to avoid fines by the European Union and to obtain full EU membership.

The U.S. and Europe have a lot of leverage at their disposal if they chooses to use it.  The Western business presence, foreign aid, and remittances by immigrants living in the West all present substantial windfalls for ruling Middle East elites.  All this money can be conditioned on those countries meeting certain terms if we’re willing to lay them out and follow through on our word.

Using the millennium challenge accounts can also help countries meet specific objectives in order to qualify for U.S. aid.

This doesn’t mean that we invite Saudi Arabia into NATO if King Abdullah lets some Christians build a church.  What it means is that we use existing international and financial ties and the threat of their removal to achieve specific outcomes in behalf of the Middle East’s suffering non-Muslim populations.

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Muslims stealing from Jews raised few eyebrows

June 16, 2011

The Islamists and international Left have long protested the “theft” of land by Israel from the Arabs of the Palestinian territories.  However, they have been utterly silent on the property that Arab nations stole from the Jews that they kicked out of Iraq, Yemen, Egypt, Syria, etc., during the 20th Century.  Here’s the rundown from YNet back on May 15 (h/t EoZ):

‘A Jew shouldn’t control Muslims’

The Jews’ situation began deteriorating with the Arab national awakening, before the State of Israel’s establishment. “From a British mandate, Iraq turned into an autonomic state in 1932 and immediately began disinheriting the Jews,” says Yehuda.

“They weren’t accepted to schools and universities and were dismissed from jobs with all sorts of claims.”

Who led the restrictions?

“The Arab nationalists and the militant Muslims. Read the rest of this entry ?