Posts Tagged ‘Senior Ulema Council’

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Sheikh: preventing terror finance violates rights

September 25, 2012

Sheikh Saleh bin Abdulrahman Al-Hussein, formerly the chief of the presidency of Saudi Arabia’s two holy mosques and a member of the Senior Ulema Council, has written a 1,600 word opinion piece in the Arab News defending the transfer of funds overseas through “charity” from Saudi Arabia.  Hussein asserts that such “charity” is a personal freedom and human right.

In the piece, Sheikh Saleh Hussein slams a 2003 U.S. congressional hearing, which he claims had no facts, just emotional smears, about Saudi charities involved in financing terror.  He blames that hearing, subsequent arm twisting at the United Nations, and traitorous reporting by local Gulf journalists, for giving Saudi Arabia a bad reputation as the world’s terror financial hub.

If the evidence of Saudi perfidy is all based on false or exaggerated rhetoric, can the sheikh please explain the following events?

  • Why the Saudi International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) branch in the Philippines, which was designated by the U.S. as a terrorist entity, was founded by Osama Bin Laden’s brother-in-law, Muhammad Jamal Khalifah—a senior Al Qaeda leader?
  • Why Saudi Arabia conceded that Al Haramain (a charity that operated under the control of the government of Saudi Arabia) branches in Bosnia, Indonesia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Pakistan were terrorist entities?
  • Why the former head of Al Haramain in the U.S. was convicted last year to 33 months in prison for funding jihad in Chechnya?
  • Why the founder of Saudi Arabia’s largest private bank (and the Sunni world’s largest sharia bank) was named in the infamous “Golden Chain” list of 20 financial benefactors of Al Qaeda, and why Saudi Arabia has resisted all legal attempts to access his bank’s records?
  • Why Saudi Arabia sponsors telethons to raise money for suicide bombers?
  • Why the chief of the Bangladeshi terrorist organization JMB says his funding sources include the Saudi-based Muslim World League and the World Assembly of Muslim Youth?
  • Why the Saudi government continues to award public contracts to the Bin Laden family for construction projects?

Oh, and one more question.  Sheikh Hussein concludes his commentary by invoking a verse from the eighth chapter of the Koran (“The Spoils”), a sura which addresses taking the spoils of war from conquered infidels.  If the sheikh is truly interested in defending the principle of charity toward the poor, this is a quite remarkable passage to select!

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Saudi clerics mount charity defense

April 20, 2010

The headline reads, “Saudi Arabia’s Senior Ulema Council Criminalizes Terrorism,” but that’s only half of the story.  As you’ll see, the decision may have more to do with defending zakat than criminalizing terrorism.  Hat tip to David Cafferty for sending in this Apr. 14 article from the newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat:

The Kingdom’s Senior Ulema Council has resolved one of the most important and controversial dossiers by descriptively defining “terrorism” and criminalizing its financing. The Council considered its criminalization of terrorism applicable to all terrorist actions to which the countries of the world are subjected and not just Saudi Arabia.

The council’s decision stipulates the “criminalization of the financing of terrorism” and it stressed its dangers, considering the financer “a partner” in crime, as the Shariaa texts make it clear. The Shariaa fatwa reached by the Senior Ulema Council is considered “important and unprecedented” as it criminalizes terrorism and refers to “fighting and criminalizing terrorism in all its forms and kinds, including its financing” according to the text of the decision that sources have reported to Asharq Al-Awsat.

The decision did not include a specific penalty for the financers of terrorism and left it to the judiciary to determine the penalty under Shariaa law.

The Senior Ulema Council’s decision included a definition of terrorism which was confined to descriptions, saying that these include “targeting public resources, spreading corruption, hijacking planes, and bombing buildings.” It stressed that the opinion it has concluded concerning the definition of terrorism and the criminalization of its action and financing does not concern Saudi Arabia alone but includes the Muslim countries and other countries of the world.

It becomes clear from the ulema’s decision that it excluded charity work from the responsibility for backing and financing terrorism while making individuals involved in exploiting charity work responsible. It exempted charitable work which targets the poor and the building of hospitals and schools on the basis that these are charitable functions under Islamic Shariaa.

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