Posts Tagged ‘Uzbekistan’

h1

“Brooklyn man” funds travel for ISIS

March 16, 2015

As if “Brooklyn” is the best adjective that could have been selected to help explain Abror Habibov’s motive and background.

Habibov is actually an Uzbek with an expired visa who operates mall kiosks in Georgia, Virginia, Florida, and Pennsylvania. Habibov told one of his employees, a younger man from Kazakhstan named Akhror Saidakhmetov, that he would help arrange and pay air travel for him to join up with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Saidakhmetov was being monitored by authorities. Around Jan. 30, Saidakhmetov called Habibov to ask for extra money related to his planned flight to Turkey. Habibov told him, “Don’t worry about the fare and the expenses needed for going there. Dear Akhror, as you might recall, I promised you that we’ll do it. If you say you need to buy your ticket, then I’ll deposit cash… cash into your account.” They intended to keep in touch by Skype. Habibov said he could send more money if he needed it.

By the way, regarding the phrase, “I promised you that we’ll do it,” who is “we”?

One might think that a U.S. resident and unnamed associates using a front company to finance a youngster’s travel and enlistment with ISIS might make national news. But The New York Times saw fit to relegate this story to their “regional” news section.

h1

The plot to fund Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan

May 31, 2013

Uzbek national Fazliddin Kurbanov has been arrested in Idaho for providing material support to terrorists and possessing destructive devices such as IED components.  From CNN:

The financial details in the indictment are scant:

… The defendant, Fazliddin Kurbanov, did knowingly and intentionally combine, conspire, confederate, and agree with other co-conspirators, both known and unknown to the Grand Jury, to provide material support and resources, to wit, personnel, including himself, computer software and money, to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan…”

From the wording, it is unclear whether Kurbanov and the conspirators only agreed to provide money, or if money was actually transferred.  The amount of money and the method of transfer is not specified either, but separate terrorism finance cases recently have involved illicit transfers anywhere from $1,500 to $50,000 by foreign nationals in the U.S. to terrorist organizations in their home countries.

h1

Money trail news: recommended reading

March 21, 2013
  • Of course, old chap, Bank Saderat has financed Iran’s nuclear program. But that doesn’t give you the right to impose economic sanctions, says an EU court… more>>
  • The web, smartcards, and cell phones were sold as glittering innovations that would empower the world’s poor. Now Bangladesh is desperately wading through massive rivers of fast-moving data in time to catch the next terrorist transaction… more>>
  • Nine men have been convicted of fundraising for the jihadist Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. An overdue update to this story from Paris… more>>
  • Iranian state-run newspaper claims it has proof that Saudi Arabia is funding Al Qaeda fighters of Syria’s al-Nusra Front.  Even a broken clock is right twice a day… more>>
  • A Muslim Brotherhood group is helping coordinate events in Tunisia thanks to some money from an unexpected source.  The British taxpayer… more>>
h1

Eid meat used as cover for funding Al Qaeda

December 13, 2012

Attorneys for two of the defendants say that their clients only collected money to buy meat for Eid, but French prosecutors allege that the money went to an offshoot of Al Qaeda.

Eid presents a noteworthy opportunity for Muslims living in the west to transfer money to the Middle East under the guise of charity for meat purchases for poor families.  The radical Turkish flotilla “charity,” IHH, which has been banned by Germany for funding Hamas, has used Qurbani meat distribution as its pretext for operating in 95 countries.

From Radio Free Europe on Dec. 4:

Paris Trial Begins Of 10 Alleged Fundraisers For IMU

Ten defendants have gone on trial in the French capital on charges that they helped finance the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), an extremist group accused of links to Al-Qaeda.

The suspects, who are described as mainly of Turkish origin, are alleged to have collected thousands of dollar from people at mosques in French cities to send to the IMU between 2003 and 2008.

They were arrested in 2008 in France, Germany, and the Netherlands.

Lawyers for at least two of the defendants have rejected the charges, saying the money was collected for “humanitarian” uses.

The IMU, which was formed to overthrow the Uzbek government and create an Islamic caliphate in Central Asia, is officially considered a terrorist group by the United States.

In October 2001, the UN Security Council formally listed the IMU as being “associated” with Al-Qaeda.

H/t to Twitter user El Grillo for alerting me.

h1

IMU money man tapped Europe, Turkey

October 31, 2012

The U.S. Treasury Department has sanctioned Qari Ayyub Bashir for his role as a financier for the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), and probably Al Qaeda, too.  The designation prohibits Americans from doing business with Bashir, and freezes any assets Bashir has in U.S. banks.

The designation also gives us more insight into where the IMU is accessing funds.  Rather than the typical Gulf sources of Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E., Qari Bashir is said to have collected money from Europe and Turkey prior to transferring it to a man described as “a financial facilitator for Al Qaeda.”

From The Long War Journal on Oct. 18:

…Treasury described Bashir as being the “head of finance” for the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan as well as a member of the group’s shura, or executive council. In this role, he provides financial and “logistical” support for IMU operations in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, and fundraises from outside the region.

“Bashir received funds from sources in Turkey and elsewhere in Europe and delivered these funds” to Fazal Rahim, an IMU facilitator who was designated by the US as a terrorist in September 2011 and is thought to be in Pakistani custody. Rahim was also described as a “financial facilitator for al Qaeda” [see LWJ report, US adds 5 al Qaeda, Taliban, Haqqani Network, and IMU facilitators to terrorist list].

Prior to taking on the role of chief financier for the IMU in 2010, Bashir “led attacks against Afghan police in Kunduz Province, Afghanistan, and recruited IMU fighters at his madrassa in Pakistan.” Additionally he helped IMU recruits reach their units and commanded “an anti-Coalition militia” in the Afghan provinces of Kunduz and Takhar.

Bashir is an Uzbek national and is based out of Mir Ali, in Pakistan’s Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan. Mir Ali is known to host the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and several other local and foreign terror groups.

The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan is a key ally of al Qaeda and the Taliban, and supports operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as plots attacks in Europe. The IMU is known to fight alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan and has integrated into the Taliban’s shadow government in the north. [For more information on the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, see LWJ reports, IMU cleric urges Pakistanis to continue sheltering jihadis in Waziristan, and IMU announces death of emir, names new leader.]…

h1

Index reveals corruption rife in Islamic world

August 13, 2012

When we post articles about financial crimes, corruption, graft, bribery, and theft in predominantly Muslim nations, we are sometimes told that we’re being biased, because corruption is a “global” or a “third world” problem.

Of course corruption is universal, but we shouldn’t just through our hands up in the air and say, “everybody does it,” and willfully ignore where it is the biggest problem.  Any suggestion that there may be a correlation between such activity and religion or culture is immediately dismissed as “racist,” “Islamophobic,” etc.

But shouldn’t we at least look at the evidence?  Transparency International’s annual corruption index provides some insight.  Their list is based on “surveys and assessments [that] include questions related to the bribery of public officials, kickbacks in public procurement, embezzlement of public funds, and the effectiveness of public sector anti-corruption efforts.”

Notice that of TI’s top 10 cleanest nations–those perceived to have the smallest levels of public corruption–nine are predominantly Christian while one, Singapore, is plurality Buddhist:

  1. New Zealand
  2. Denmark
  3. Finland
  4. Sweden
  5. Singapore
  6. Norway
  7. Netherlands
  8. Australia
  9. Switzerland
  10. Canada

Further notice that of the worst 10 countries, six are majority Muslim, with North Korea and Somalia coming in last out of 182 countries rated:

173.  Venezuela
174.  Haiti
175.  Iraq
176. Sudan
177. Turkmenistan
178. Uzbekistan
179. Afghanistan
180. Myanmar
181. North Korea
182. Somalia

h1

IMU joins ushr bandwagon

December 14, 2010

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported on Dec. 10 that the jihadist Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) is penetrating deeper into Afghanistan and cementing relationships with groups like the Taliban.  It also appears that IMU is taking a lesson from the Taliban’s page by collecting ushr, the onerous Islamic tax on harvests, from Afghan locals:

…Raz Mohammad Faiz, a Pashtun who represented Takhar in the previous Afghan parliament, has an even more expansive take on the IMU, saying it has infiltrated anti-Taliban militias as well. He says that a rivalry between Hizb-e Islami and Jamiat-e Islami is contributing to insecurity in the region. Both are pan-Islamist, Afghan organizations — the former predominantly ethnic Pashtun and the latter composed of ethnic Tajiks. They have competed for political influence in the region since the late 1980s.

He says that locals in the province’s northern districts bordering Tajikistan have said Uzbeks have sought to establish relationships with religious hard-liners.

“They sought cooperation in jihad,” he says, adding that the organization’s activities are on the rise. “[The IMU has] very good relations with [Afghan] Uzbeks. They live in their houses and prefer to use their regions, which are the districts of Dashte-e Qala, Khoja Ghar, and Baharak.

“They are seen in those regions. The locals say that they are being kept by local militia commanders who give them weapons and logistical support,” he adds.

Moeen Mrastyal, a former lawmaker who represented Konduz in parliament, says ties between various jihadist movements are often downplayed. He says that together with the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban, the IMU is part of a wider Islamic jihadist movement that operates freely in northern Afghanistan.

“In Konduz we have Turkmens, Uzbeks, and Tajiks who have come from [Central Asia] and are now being spotted by locals in some remote regions,” Mrastyal says.

Mrastyal says that locals are sometime forced to host these uninvited guests. “Wherever people refuse to host them, they are forced to cooperate with the help of the Afghan Taliban. And they also collect ushr,” he says, referring to an Islamic tax on farm production

Quite so.  The ushr emanates, not from a misunderstanding of Islam, but of a plain reading of the Koran (6:142) and Hadith (Sahih Bukhari 2.24.559 and Sahih Muslim 5.2143). Like zakat, spending ushr revenues on jihad is authorized by Islamic law.

It’s an ominous sign if forced ushr payments are indeed spreading to organizations outside of the Taliban.  The ushr is a powerful tool to both enrich the ushr collectors and keep farmers subservient to the Muslim taxman.  It also suggests a growing sophistication and diversity in the revenue collection strategy of the IMU.