Posts Tagged ‘Sharia finance’


Sharia banker unseated for “militant financing”

January 25, 2016

A senior official of an Islamic bank in Bangladesh has been removed from his position by the country’s central bank over his support for Islamic militancy. The Dhaka Tribune reports that Nurul Islam, a deputy managing director of Islami Bank Bangladesh, is an ex-convict. Bangladesh’s finance ministry suspects Nurul Islam of “involvement in militant financing” and involvement “with the recent violence carried out by Jamaat-Shibir,” a radical Islamist student group. This development is further evidence of the connection between sharia finance and the funding of terrorism.  Prior Money Jihad coverage of the dangerous Islami Bank Bangladesh and its leadership can be found here.

Islami Bank DMD removed for having Jamaat ties

The central bank has removed Deputy Managing Director of Islami Bank Nurul Islam for his alleged involvement with Jamaat-e-Islami, the party which opposed the birth of Bangladesh in 1971.

Bangladesh Bank issued a letter in this regard yesterday. The decision came after the Finance Ministry asked the central bank governor to take action against the financial organisations linked to Jamaat.

A top officer of the central bank confirmed to the Dhaka Tribune that Nurul Islam had been removed on the ground that he was a convict and has cases against him.

The central bank issued the letter yesterday saying that a convict cannot hold such a high position. Moreover, the cases against him are yet to be disposed of.

The letter, however, did not mention about the issue of his Jamaat connection.

Bangladesh Bank last month detected 27 suspected terror financial transactions made by Islami Bank and put it under the scanner. Earlier, the bank was fined four times under the Anti-Money Laundering Act for militant financing.

Last year, the National Committee on Militancy Resistance and Prevention asked the central bank to ensure submission of the reports to the ministry on the expenditures of the Islamic banks and insurance companies.

Apart from the Finance Ministry, the Home Ministry too sent a letter to the central bank asking them to take action against Nurul Islam for his alleged involvement in militant financing. The ministry said they had found involvement of the banker with the recent violence carried out by Jamaat-Shibir.

The central bank launched an inquiry against the accused following the Home Ministry’s instructions. The inspection team was led by Dipankar Bhattacharya, a deputy general manager of the central bank’s Bank Inspection Department 1.

The Home Ministry was concerned about Nurul Islam as he had been chosen for the managing director post to replace the existing MD, Mohammad Abdul Mannan, by the board of Islami Bank.


ISIS forbids interest-based banking in Libya

September 17, 2015

Islamic State operatives in Sirte, Libya, have ordered banks there to close because they profit from charging interest.  ISIS told the banks that they “must change to Islamic banking” before they can reopen.  If you know somebody who still doubts the connections between sharia-compliant banking and terrorism, please forward them this article from the Libya Herald (h/t @moscow_ghost):

IS closes banks in Sirte; orders them to change to Sharia banking

By Libya Herald reporter.

Tripoli, 13 September 2015:

A source in Sirte has told the Libya Herald that the Islamic State (IS) forces in the town had not taken over and looted the Central Bank, as widely reported earlier.

What happened, according to the source, was that on Thursday, IS went to all banks in the town and closed them. They ordered all staff to turn up to the main mosque on Friday after evening prayer to repent for having being involved in dealing with interest (usury or riba) and ask for forgiveness.  Most went.

The banks must change to Islamic banking, IS has demanded. When they have made the change, they can re-open, the source said…


Sharia bank paying terrorists’ legal fees

November 2, 2014

Legal defense fees for accused terrorists and war criminals are being paid for by the biggest sharia-compliant bank in Bangladesh. According to Khabar South Asia, a news service managed by the U.S. Pacific Command, “corporate social responsibility” funds from Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd. (IBBL) are reportedly being used to pay the bills to suspects’ lawyers. (Hat tip to Cyber Group BD for sending in a link.)

Trials in Bangladesh have been underway for several years to seek justice for war crimes committed by Pakistan-backed Islamists against Bangladeshis in the 1970s. The Bangladesh home ministry has previously revealed that 8 percent of IBBL’s profits are diverted toward militant Islamists as a form of corporate zakat. IBBL officials include suspected war criminals, an attempted cop killer, and a jihad tax advocate, among other troublemakers. IBBL was recently caught distributing counterfeit currency to account holders.


5-year anniversary of Money Jihad

October 12, 2014

Five years ago today, the first post of this blog was published.

Since then, Money Jihad has blown the lid off connections among Islamic charities including the Zakat Foundation and Muslim Hands, the close financial relationship between Islamic Relief USA and Islamic Relief Worldwide in Britain, and partnerships between Islamic Relief and the Turkish front charity IHH.

Money Jihad has also documented the relationships between sharia banks and terrorist financing—relationships which were previously only discernible through scattered evidence and rumors.

On top of that, this blog has exposed information that was known in Somalia and Bangladesh about terrorist financing in those countries that had never been reported before to Western readers. On several occasions, this blog has helped give voice to dissidents and expatriates from those and other nations who have shared their knowledge about financial mischief in their home countries with Money Jihad to reach a wider audience.

None of this would have been possible if it weren’t for some wonderful people and organizations. Special thanks to Shariah Finance Watch and Creeping Sharia blogs for putting Money Jihad on the map in the first place. Individual thanks go to the vice president at the Center for Security Policy Christopher Holton, human rights activist Puneet Madaan, and American Center for Democracy fellow Ilan Weinglass who have each done a great deal to expand the reach of this blog.

Without additional support and engagement by 1389 Blog, The Counter Jihad Report, EuropeNews, BlazingCatFur, and other counter-jihad blogs—all wonderful blogs in their own right—in addition to news sites Free Republic, American Thinker, FrontPage Mag, The Washington Free Beacon, The Washington Post, and International Business Times, this blog would never have reached the level of influence or readership that it currently enjoys.

Then there’s the vibrant community of readers, sources, jokers and curmudgeons on Twitter! This whole endeavor would be much quieter and boring without them. A special thanks goes out to all-star Twitter users Rushette, El Grillo, MeanKitteh, Sal, Michael, Jackie, Zac, Jack, and FRamabama for all the support and the wealth of information and insights they provide.

Twitter also allows Money Jihad to mutually follow and connect with noted leaders of the counter-jihad movement including author Tarek Fatah, Act for America organizer Brigitte Gabriel, former Navy officer Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, author Diana West, author Dr. Mark Walia, Gatestone Institute president Nina Rosenwald and terror analysts Patrick Poole and Ryan Mauro. TV stars Roseanne Barr and David Boreanaz have helped too (seriously); and prominent financial crimes experts including anti-money laundering reporter Colby Adams; finance and security analyst Tom Keatinge; anti-money laundering attorney Christine Duhaime; Wall Street Journal risk & compliance reporter Rachel Louise Ensign; terrorism and terror finance expert J.C. Brisard; author Jeffery Robinson; fellow financial crime bloggers Helen Gorman and Eric “Mr. Watchlist” Sohn; and a host of certified public accounts, trade and sanctions lawyers, certified fraud examiners, and certified anti-money laundering specialists.

Thanks also to Rachel Ehrenfeld, Robert Spencer, and Kenneth Rijock. The insights and expertise in their writings have helped shape the perspective of this blog.

Now, friends and readers, it’s time for a two-week break. Hasta luego!


Why can’t you send money home to Somalia? Because your politicians want sharia banking first

September 8, 2014

The fairy tale is that existing financial channels from conventional Western banks in England and Minnesota can create a new, “safe corridor” for high-tech, well-screened remittances from the Somali diaspora back to their families with an eliminated risk of financing terrorism or corruption in the process. The sharia banking plan is to leapfrog over the creation of a conventional, interest-based banking sector in Somalia by establishing sharia financial sector based exclusively on Islamic law. The word on the street is that the notorious money transfer company Dahabshiil is peddling influence with Somali politicians to ensure that no new financial institution cuts into their racket—a charge which (like every other mounting charge against it) Dahabshiil denies.

The result of all this is that there has yet to be a conventional bank in Somalia that can provide banking and money transfer services.  Thus it is becoming increasingly clear that Western banks should not be blamed for the inability of Somali leaders to authorize their own private banks and remittance channels.  The next time you hear somebody demand Western banks to keep the “lifeline” of Somali remittances open, ask yourself why Somali politicians won’t create a lifeline of their own.

The following excerpt from an Aug. 25 Foreign Policy article entitled, “Franchise Opportunity: Western Union in Somaliland” (hat tip Sal) goes a long way to explain why:

…For the past year, Somaliland’s parliament has failed to enact legislation allowing the creation of a commercial banking sector. The reluctance, government insiders say, is rooted in the belief that sends the muezzin’s call to prayer echoing from every corner of Hargeisa five times a day: the Islamic faith. Mindful of a constitution explicitly drafted according to Islamic principles, Somaliland’s parliamentarians have approved an Islamic Banking Law, but have yet to pass its commercial equivalent. They fear it could introduce the charging of interest on economic activity, which is unacceptable under sharia law.

“We’ve visited parliament; we have sat down with the chairman to explain how important this is, how much we need these foreign banks. We push and push and push,” says Abdilahi Hassan Aden, director general of Somaliland’s (unrecognized) central bank. “But we are still waiting.”

A Western advisor to the government sees parliament as ultimately persuadable, but not without work. “A lot of this is about changing the narrative when it comes to religion, changing mentalities,” the advisor says. “Islamic countries like Malaysia or Indonesia, for example, still manage to have commercial banking sectors.”

In private, some officials voice the suspicion that a commercial banking law has been so long in coming because the MTOs, influential local economic players that they are, until recently preferred the remittance system to remain just as it was. It’s a charge Dahabshiil, for its part, rejects. Abdirashid Duale, chief executive officer, insists the company is keen to see legislation allowing commercial banking passed. “Dahabshiil is very supportive of any law or other initiative that supports the commercial banking sector,” he says.*

Dahabshiil, which says it does background checks on all the customers it can, sees itself instead as a victim of world events. “All of this started because of 9/11,” Duale says. “Before then, there was no difference between us and a grocery store opening a bank account to deposit its earnings. With 9/11, the world changed, especially for Muslims.”

MTO operators say Barclays’s move would do the opposite of improving competition on a continent whose inhabitants already pay well over the odds for their money transfers. U.S.-based Western Union and MoneyGram, which the Barclays decision would not affect, charge far higher fees than Dahabshiil, which prides itself on being the cheapest MTO in the world.

Dahabshiil has now applied for and been granted a banking license under Somaliland’s existing Islamic banking legislation. But if that materializes, there would still be an open question of how thousands of rural families who will never see the inside of a bank — too far away, too expensive — would survive financially.

After a spirited lobbying campaign by the Somali diaspora, fronted by Olympic sprinter Mo Farah, whose family lives in Somaliland, the British government set up an action group in the fall of 2013 to try to hammer out a solution. The Department for International Development (DFID), alongside the British Treasury, is working on establishing a “safer corridor” for remittances. Its feasibility study explores ways of improving customer due diligence, from biometric fingerprinting to PINs to bar codes, and the establishment of an independent “trusted third party” to audit transactions. But more than a year after the remittance issue first blew up, the “safer corridor” remains a distant aspiration.

British consultants who were in Hargeisa to address a conference on money laundering, attended by Somaliland government ministers, remittance companies, the local Chamber of Commerce, and the World Bank, dismiss the “safer corridor” idea as a non-starter. (They have been commissioned by Dahabshiil to carry out a regional banking survey.) “It’s a Hans Christian Andersen story concocted by DFID, a case of the emperor’s new clothes,” says Peter Norris of Obiter Consult. “It’s been very unhelpful in luring everyone into a false sense of security.”

“The idea that you can have some massive computer system and somehow feed all this information in … and the computer will somehow work out which clients are dodgy and which are clean is a nonsense,” he adds…


Bangladesh probes terror-linked sharia bank

August 26, 2014

The government of Bangladesh is reviewing a report from Islami Bank Bangladesh, Ltd. (IBBL) on its expenditures. Authorities will review whether IBBL has accurately disclosed the organizations to which it contributes money, and perhaps whether the bank maintains any accounts for individuals listed on international blacklists.

IBBL has previously been documented to have diverted profits to militant Islamist groups as a form of corporate zakat. The bank was also cited by the U.S. Senate as one of the financial institutions with which the British bank HSBC should not have been doing business with due to terror finance concerns.

Thanks to readers Talha, Ranel, Ononto, and MFS for sending in the news. This account comes from Bangladesh 24:

Govt is investigating Islami Bank’s spending

The government is looking into where the Islami Bank spends its profit, State Minister for Home Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal has said.

“Islami Bank already gave a report on how its profits are spent. The intelligence people have been instructed to look into whether there are any discrepancies in it,” said the minister.

He was speaking to reporters after emerging from a meeting of the ministry’s Antiterrorism Committee on Thursday.

Kamal said the government was monitoring a few other financial institutions, operated by the bank, accused of terrorist-financing.

“The key to terrorism is funds. If that can be traced then wiping out terrorism will be easier,” said the minister.

Islami Bank has been under international pressure in the last few years after a US Senate Committee report accused it of terrorist financing.

Banks like HSBC, Citi Bank NA and Bank of America have suspended transaction with it since then.

According to Bangladesh Bank officials, the bank maintained accounts of people, who were on the UN’s suspicious people’s list.

Islami Bank authorities did not disclose information of those accounts to the central bank…

The bank, widely believed to be supported by the Jamaat-e-Islami, has come under fire from pro-liberation forces for their alleged funding of Islamist groups.

The party itself is facing investigation of the International Crimes Tribunal for the crimes against humanity committed during the War of Independence.

The Board of Directors of the bank is always dominated by people linked to Jamaat-e-Islami.

According to claims of Islami Oikya Jote leaders, the incumbent Chairman Abu Naser Mohammad Abduz Zaher was a leader of Al-Badr, a vigilante group of Bengalis raised by Pakistani occupation army, in Chittagong.

Islami Bank’s former Vice-Chairman Mir Quasem Ali is a member of Jamaat central committee and now facing trial for alleged war crimes perpetrated during the 1971 Liberation War.

He is also the member (administration) of Islami Bank Foundation and a member of Ibn Sina Board of Trustee, an associate organisation of the bank.

Islami Bank’s former Chairman Shah Abdul Hannan is known to be closely linked to the party, which had opposed the nation’s independence from Pakistan in 1971.

Its Deputy Managing Director Syed Abdullah Md Saleh is the sibling of former Jamaat MP from Chouddagram, Syed Abdullah M Taher.


Sharia bank board joined at Jamaat’s hip

May 13, 2014

The extensive ties between the sharia bank Islami Bank Bangladesh, Limited (IBBL), and militant movements, extremist political parties, and terrorist financing, have come into sharper focus over the last few weeks. Consider:

  • The current chairman of IBBL’s board, Abu Nasser Muhammad Abduz Zaher, is alleged to have been a leader member of the Al-Badr militia, which committed war crimes in an attempt to prevent Bangladesh from gaining independence from Pakistan in the 1970s.
  • IBBL’s former director and vice chairman, Mir Quasem Ali, is in jail awaiting trial for war crimes.
  • Shah Abdul Hannan, variously described as a former chairman or director of IBBL, is also close to Jamaat-e-Islami, which opposed Bangladesh’s independence.
  • Former deputy director Syed Abdullah Md Saleh is the brother of a former Jamaat member of parliament.
  • IBBL sharia board member Abu Bakr Rafique was implicated in a terrorist attack against police officers.
  • Bangladesh’s home ministry revealed in 2011 that 8 percent of IBBL’s profits are diverted as zakat to terrorist groups.

Thanks to Munazir for sending in related news.