“Some linkages between Islamic Banking and terrorist organizations have now been brought into the open, but the networks have not been dismantled.”

Bangladesh has a long history of weakness on money laundering and the use of banks to funnel money to Jihadist terrorist organizations. The country is now on the verge of being blacklisted for its lax enforcement…

Here is a link, with excerpts, to an article detailing the situation involving banks in Bangladesh and terrorism financing…Note that HSBC and two Shariah-compliant banks in Bangladesh were implicated in terrorism financing and that Islamic charities in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait were heavily involved–all topics and themes that have arisen repeatedly. Additionally, mention is made of collections of funds from expatriates living here in the USA…h/t Money Jihad blog…

This is the type of frank article that you won’t find in the fawning Western financial media, who have virtually all been bought and paid for by the financial jihadists…This article is important because it makes a direct connection between Islamic banking and terrorism.

Bangladesh: Banking For Terror

In what seems a logical culmination of events, Bangladesh has been given time until February 2013 to address deficiencies in its fight against money-laundering and terror-financing to avert black-listing by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

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Under this mandate, Bangladesh needs to adequately address the issue of criminalising terror financing and establish and implement procedures to identify and freeze terror assets, and to remove deficiencies in its anti-money laundering (AML) legislation and apparatus, to effectively combat the financing of terrorism.

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the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigation, in its July 17, 2012, report titled U.S. Vulnerabilities to Money Laundering, Drugs and Terrorist Financing: HSBC Case History, disclosed that two Bangladesh-based banks, Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited (IBBL) and Social Islami Bank Limited (SIBL) were involved in terror financing. Regarding the functioning of HSBC, it was mentioned that the bank acted as a financier to clients seeking to route funds from countries like Mexico, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, North Korea, Cuba, Sudan, Myanmar, Japan and Russia. The report also stated that the HSBC supplied dollars to IBBL and SIBL, ignoring evidence of their links to terror financing. HSBC did not submit these two banks to enhanced monitoring for suspicious transactions, despite recommendation by HSBC’s own Financial Intelligence Group (FIG).

According to the document, SIBL’s ownership stakes were held by two Saudi Arabia based non-governmental organizations (NGOs): the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) – implicated in terrorist financing by the U.S. administration and included on the list of those prohibited to do business in the country; and Lajnat-al-Birr-al-Islam (Benevolence International Foundation, BIF), one of al Qaeda’s financers.

It was noted, further, that Saudi Arabia’s Al Rajhi Bank, also engaged in suspicious transaction, had a 37 per cent ownership in IBBL. HSBC also had maintained an association with Al Rajhi, a member of al Qaeda’s “Golden Chain” – a list including at least 20 top Saudi and Gulf States’ financial sponsors of al Qaeda, including bankers, businessmen, and former ministers.

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The exposure of the unholy nexus between banking establishments and terrorist activities in Bangladesh can be traced back to the watershed country-wide serial bomb blasts on August 17, 2005. 459 explosions had been orchestrated in 63 of the country’s 64 Districts (excluding Munshiganj), killing three persons and injuring 100 others, on that date. After the serial blasts, which were orchestrated by the Jamaat ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), the role of IBBL in promoting religious terror was brought under scrutiny, when Bangladesh Home Ministry constituted a committee to investigate terror financing. Subsequent to the arrest of the JMB ‘chief’ Shaikh Abdur Rahman and his second in command Siddiqui Islam alias Bangla Bhai, and the subsequent seizure of some banking documents, the investigation team documented suspicious transactions with IBBL branches in Sylhet, Gazipur and Savar, where violations of the Anti-Money Laundering Act were noticed. The Act which came into existence in 2002 was last amended on June 20, 2011. Rahman and Bangla Bhai were also found to have accounts with IBBL. The two were eventually hanged on March 30, 2007 – Rahman in Comilla Jail and Bangla Bhai in Mymensingh Prison.

IBBL was also found to be linked with the Kuwait based Islamic NGO, Revival of Islamic Heritage Society (RIHS), whose bank accounts in Pakistan were closed following 9/11. In Bangladesh, RIHS’s account with IBBL was closed in 2006, following revelations that, in November 2005, RIHS released BDT 20 million to facilitate suicide bombers in Bangladesh. Incidentally, Bangladesh experienced a suicide bombing on December 8, 2005, in Netrokona District, in which eight persons were killed and 46 were injured. In addition, two officials of RIHS, one from Sudan and the other from Yemen, were deported in 2006 for having channeled from Bangladesh over USD 700,000 to local and foreign terrorist organisations. Apart from the RIHS connection, linkages were also discovered to Yassin Qadi, a Saudi Arabian businessman and son-in-law of Sheikh Ahmed Salah Jamjoom, a foreign sponsor of IBBL. IBBL is also believed to have been closely tied to the August 17, 2005, serial bombings across Bangladesh.

SIBL has purportedly been engaged in Shariah (Islamic Law) based banking in the country. Its Executive Vice President, Shawkat Ali, was apprehended by Kolkata (West Bengal, India) Police and was expelled from Kolkata in August 2006 for his involvement in undesirable and suspicious activities. SIBL is suspected to be engaged in routing funds to Kolkata, and from there to other destinations in India and abroad. SIBL’s principal patrons are known to be from the Middle East.

Investigation of the financial operations of terrorist groupings such as JMB and Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami Bangladesh (HuJI-B) discovered that a major chunk of their funding came from Pakistan through hawala (illegal money transaction) channels. Terrorist organizations also received regular funds from expatriate populations working in the US, Europe and Middle East. A pro-Pakistani Political party – Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI), Bangladesh, was found to be a frequent medium for foreign funding. Funds were reportedly transferred into JeI’s account with IBBL, and were then distributed to various terrorist outfits in the country. JeI was a coalition partner in Khaleda Zia’s Government.

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Some linkages between Islamic Banking and terrorist organizations have now been brought into the open, but the networks have not been dismantled. 

 

 

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