Zakat is a form of tithing in Islam in which Muslims who are able to do so donate 2.5% of their wealth (5% for Shia). Zakat is very important in Islam and is considered one of the five pillars of Islam.
Modern administration of zakat often involves Islamic charities and governments.
Zakat is an issue in Shariah Finance as many Shariah compliant financial instruments set aside money for zakat.
Zakat is a concern because, as the bipartisan 9-11 Commission Report detailed, it has in fact been used to fund Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups:
In fact, at least 80 Muslim charities worldwide have been implicated in terrorism financing:
Dhaka Ahsania Mission is a UN-affiliated NGO (non-governmental organization) that does relief work around the world. It also has a zakat fund called the Ahsania Mission Zakat Fund. The fund has offices around the globe including in New York City.
On the fund’s web site, it provides a complete primer on the Islamic system of zakat. Included in that primer is a listing of how zakat is distributed. Number 7 on the 8 destinations for zakat:
One who fights for the cause of Allah.
This is an issue that we have covered repeatedly on SFW and we will continue to do so every time we come across another indication of how zakat is used to fund Jihad…