We recently came across an article on a web site that we have been reading for years that provides us with a teaching moment.
The web site in question is Strategy Page (http://www.strategypage.com). It is an excellent web site dedicated to news and analysis of military affairs and international security.
Recently Strategy Page published an article on terrorism and addressed terrorism financing as part of that article. Specifically, they referred to Islamic charities and demonstrated a lack of understanding of the role of zakat and Islamic charities. Here is the passage in question:
“…the United States has been the most active nation in detecting and shutting down fund raising for Islamic terrorism. In the last decade and especially the last few year[s] these efforts have convinced most Moslem nations to find and shut down such fund raising in their own territory, especially those that pose as “Islamic charities” but are, after not much investigation, revealed to be fronts for Islamic terror groups.”
The problem here is that these organizations do not “pose” as Islamic charities. The fact is, dozens of Islamic charities have been associated with Jihadist organizations. It’s basically standard operating procedure.
Here is a complete review of zakat and Islamic charities…
How Zakat Funds Jihad
“Zakat,” is a form of tithing in Islam. Individuals, as well as businesses, are required to pay it.
Muslims who are able to do so must donate 2.5% of their wealth (5% for Shia) toward zakat. Zakat is very important in Islam and is considered one of the five pillars of Islam.
And modern administration of zakat often involves Islamic charities and governments.
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:
From page 170 of the 9/11 Commission Report:
“Al Qaeda and its friends took advantage of Islam’s strong calls for charitable giving, zakat. These financial facilitators also appeared to rely heavily on certain imams at mosques who were willing to divert zakat donations to al Qaeda’s cause.
Al Qaeda also collected money from employees of corrupt charities. It took two approaches to using charities for fundraising.One was to rely on al Qaeda sympathizers in specific foreign branch offices of large, international charities–particularly those with lax external oversight and ineffective internal controls, such as the Saudi-based al Haramain Islamic Foundation. Smaller charities in various parts of the globe were funded by these large Gulf charities and had employees who would siphon the money to al Qaeda.
In addition, entire charities, such as the al Wafa organization may have wittingly participated in funneling money to al Qaeda. In those cases al Qaeda operatives controlled the entire organization, including access to bank accounts. Charities were a source of money and also provided significant cover, which enabled operatives to travel undetected under the guise of working for a humanitarian organization.”
From page 372 of the 9/11 Commission Report:
“Charitable giving, or zakat, is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is broader and more pervasive than Western ideas of charity–functioning also as a form of income tax, educational assistance, foreign aid, and a source of political influence. The Western notion of the separation of civic and religious duty does not exist in Islamic cultures. Funding charitable works is an integral function of the governments in the Islamic world. It is so ingrained in Islamic culture that in Saudi Arabia, for example, a department within the Saudi Ministry of Finance and National Economy collects zakat directly, much as the U.S. Internal Revenue Service collects payroll withholding tax. Closely tied to zakat is the dedication of the government to propagating the Islamic faith, particularly the Wahhabi sect that flourishes in Saudi Arabia.
Traditionally, throughout the Muslim world, there is no formal oversight mechanism for donations. As Saudi wealth increased, the amounts contributed by individuals and the state grew dramatically. Substantial sums went to finance Islamic charities of every kind. While Saudi domestic charities are regulated by the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, charities and international relief agencies, such as the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY). are currently regulated by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs. This ministry uses zakat and government funds to spread Wahhabi beliefs throughout the world, including in mosques and schools. Often these schools provide the only education available; even in affluent countries, Saudi-funded Wahhabi schools are often the only Islamic schools. Some Wahhabi-funded organizations have been exploited by extremists to further their goal of violent jihad against non-Muslims.”
One of the most authoritative sources for information on zakat is a book called “The Reliance of the Traveler, A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law.” That book has a whole section devoted to the rules of zakat, including “THE EIGHT CATEGORIES OF RECIPIENTS.” On page 272, section h8.17, one category is labeled:
“THOSE FIGHTING FOR ALLAH
The seventh category is those fighting for Allah, meaning people engaged in Islamic military operations for whom no salary has been allotted in the army roster (O: but who are volunteers for jihad without remuneration). They are given enough to suffice them for the operation, even if affluent; of weapons, mounts, clothing, and expenses (O: for the duration of the journey, round trip, and the time they spend there, even if prolonged. Though nothing has been mentioned here of the expense involved in supporting such people’s families during this period, it seems clear that they should also be given it).”
This passage, from this widely-used Shariah text seems to have been written expressly about zakat payments to charities which have funded Al Qaeda, HAMAS, Hezbollah and the Taliban. Note from the passage that such payments are meant specifically for irregular forces who are not part of any army roster, which describes terrorist/guerilla/insurgent groups exactly. Note that they are meant for “Islamic” military operations and not secular groups (i.e. HAMAS and not the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command). Note that such payments are made even if the recipient is affluent…like Osama Bin Laden. And, finally, the families of fighters are to be taken care of, such as payments by Saddam Hussein and Saudi princes to families of Islamikaze bombers in Gaza and the West Bank.
It is very important to show, however, that Reliance of the Traveler is far from the only authoritative manual of Islamic sacred law that confirms the use of zakat to fund Jihad. In fact, some discount (inappropriately and incorrectly) the importance of Reliance because it traces its origins back several hundred years.
Therefore, when we find another authoritative text that confirms zakat funding Jihad, we are absolutely compelled to reveal it in as great detail as practical. Now is just such an opportunity.
Recently we were introduced to a manual of Shariah that was offered for sale at the annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). ISNA is the largest Muslim organization in the United States. They have also been exposed as a Muslim Brotherhood organization and were named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial, the largest terrorism financing prosecution in US history. More recently, ISNA’s Canadian wing lost its charity status for sending $280,000 to a Jihadist terrorist group in Pakistan. Even more recently, President Obama supplied a videotape message to the ISNA convention praising the organization, despite–we hope–its ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and the Holy Land Foundation.
The Shariah manual that was offered for sale at the ISNA convention is a two-volume set known as “A Summary of Islamic Jurisprudence.” It was written by Dr. Salih Al-Fawzan in 2005.
Sheikh Fawzan is considered one of the most esteemed Shariah scholars in the entire Islamic world, having received three degrees in Shariah from the University of Imam Muhammad in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He is a member of the Council of Senior Scholars, the Fiqh Committee in Mecca and the Committee for Supervision of the Callers in Hajj. He also heads the Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Fatwas. He is the Imam at the Prince Mut’ib Ibn Abdul-Aziz Mosque, hosts a national radio program in Saudi Arabia and has published 60 books.
A Summary of Islamic Jurisprudence is published by Al-Maiman Publishing House in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Several chapters of Volume 1 are devoted to zakat. Chapter 8 is devoted in its entirety to “Entitled Recipients of Zakat.”
This chapter provides a complete explanation of the 8 categories of recipients of zakat who are entitled to receive it. Of particular interest to those of us in the West is the seventh category. From pages 364-365 of A Summary of Islamic Jurisprudence, Volume 1:
“The seventh category is that spent in the Cause of Allah such as that given to warriors who volunteer in fighting for the Cause of Allah and they do not take salaries from the Public Treasury of Muslims. Generally, the phrase “the Cause of Allah” refers to the war against the enemies of Muslims, as Allah, Exalted be He.”
This passage is particularly important because it defines “the Cause of Allah.” Other sources, such as Understanding Islamic Law (Shari’a)by Professor Raj Bhala, have used this vague phrase and implied that it had nothing to do with war or fighting. Clearly, Sheikh Al-Fawzan clarifies this point. To conceal or deny that zakat funds warfare is a form of taqiyya (sacred deception).
It is not refutable; zakat funds warriors who volunteer to fight for the Cause of Allah against the enemies of Muslims, but who do not draw a salary. This can only be interpreted to mean irregular combatants–terrorists.
It is vital that everyone understand that NO ONE is permitted to change these laws. Shariah is regarded as Allah’s law. So when someone on Wall Street or Fleet Street claims that no proceeds from their Shariah-compliant institutions, products, transactions or instruments could possibly be used for a nefarious purpose, they have no basis for these hollow assurances, simply because they have no authority or control over the ultimate distribution of zakat funds.
All too often, the destinations of zakat payments are to Jihadists, simply because Shariah mandates it.
Maybe that is why so many Islamic charities have been implicated in terrorism financing.
While conducting unrelated research recently we came across more evidence of zakat funding jihad. The popular Islamic web site “RadianceWeekly.com” contains the following passage:
“Specified Accounts of Zakat
“The alms are meant only for the poor and the needy and those who are in charge thereof, those whose hearts are to be reconciled; and to free those in bondage, and to help those burdened with debt, and for expenditure in the way of Allah and for the wayfarer. This is an obligation from Allah. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.”
(Al-Qur’ān – 9:60)
The verse presents eight different heads of Zakat funds. Be it a collective system of Zakat collection and distribution or an individual himself or herself doing this, one should spend the Zakat money only on the specified accounts.
The first category of Zakat recipients is of fuqara, those who depend for their sustenance on others. They include orphans, destitute widows, the disabled, unemployed and old. Second, masakeen – those who are in greater distress than the ordinary poor people. They are both self-respecting and poor. Third, ‘those employed to administer them’. Fourth, to provide succour for and to rehabilitate the reverts to Islam. Fifth, to secure the emancipation of slaves or release of the unjustly jailed persons. Sixth, to the debtors who would be pauper if they were to pay off all their debts from their available resources. Such debtors do not include those who incur heavy debts either as a result of their extravagance or their spending on evil purposes. Seventh, fi sabilillah signifies the struggle to establish the Islamic system of life on earth. And, eighth, a traveller is entitled to receive help out of Zakat funds if he needs such help during his journey.”
Note that this passage actually identifies two possible destinations for zakat that could be interpreted as supporting violent jihad:
The 5th destination includes the emancipation of those “unjustly” imprisoned. This could certainly be interpreted to mean jihadis who have been captured and jailed by infidel forces and authorities.
Then, of course, we have the well-known 7th destination, which is expressed here as supporting those attempting to establish the Islamic system of life on earth…in other words those working to impose Shariah.
The problem isn’t organizations posing as Islamic charities funding terrorism, the problem is Islamic charities funding terrorism.
Islamic Charities Revealed: Bankrollers of Terror
In 2013 Foreign Policy magazine published an excellent article on the role of Islamic charities in funding Jihadist terrorism, something we’ve been writing about here on SFW for years now.
Authors Daveed Gartenstein-Ross and Aaron Y. Zelin detail in the article how Islamic NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) are bankrolling terrorist organizations under the guise of “aid.”
Before we link to the article, there are a few highlights worth noting:
“In 1997, employees of the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation (AHIF), a Saudi-based charity, were mulling how best to strike a blow against the United States in East Africa. According to the U.S. Treasury Department, one employee indicated that the plan they hatched ”would be a suicide bombing carried out by crashing a vehicle into the gate at the Embassy.” A wealthy foundation official from outside the region agreed to fund the operation.
The employees’ plans would go through several iterations, but AHIF would eventually play a role in the ultimate attack. In 1998, simultaneous explosions ripped through the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya — attacks eventually traced back to al Qaeda operatives. Prior to the bombings, a former director of AHIF’s Tanzanian branch made preparations for the advance party that planned the bombings, and the Comoros Islands branch of the charity was used, according to the Treasury Department, “as a staging area and exfiltration route for the perpetrators.” The ultimate result was deadly: 224 people killed and more than 4,000 wounded.”
“Asa monograph produced for the 9/11 Commission noted, prior to 9/11, “al Qaeda was funded, to the tune of approximately $30 million per year, by diversions of money from Islamic charities and the use of well-placed financial facilitators who gathered money from both witting and unwitting donors.”
“But despite all the efforts made to shut down such groups, Islamist-leaning international charities and other NGOs are now reemerging as sponsors of jihadi activity.”
“Ansar al-Sharia Tunisia (AST), best known for its members’ involvement in the September 2012 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Tunis…has been active since March 2011 in undertaking dawa – missionary work calling people to their interpretation of Islam…In at least one case, it received medical supplies from the Kuwaiti charity RIHS (the Revival of Islamic Heritage Society)…The Treasury Department designated RIHS in 2008 “for providing financial and material support to al Qaida and al Qaida affiliates, including Lashkar e-Tayyiba, Jemaah Islamiyah, and Al-Itihaad al-Islamiya.” The Treasury designation also charges that RIHS provided financial support specifically for terrorist acts.”
“The Syrian Islamic Front (SIF) — an umbrella group of six organizations that isconsidered one of the key jihadi elements within the Syrian opposition – is another benefactor of money from sympathetic charities. SIF has clearly expressed ties to government-linked NGOs in Turkey and Qatar…the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), which the German Interior Ministry banned for contributing funds to Hamas. Qatar Charity, which used to go by the name Qatar Charitable Society. As evidence submitted by the U.S. government in a criminal trialnoted, in 1993 Osama bin Laden named the society as one of several charities that were used to fund al Qaeda’s overseas operations. In 1995, the group’s funds were used to support an assassination attempt against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.”
Once again: All too often, the destinations of zakat payments are to Jihadists, simply because Shariah mandates it. Maybe that is why so many Islamic charities have been implicated in terrorism financing:
Consider that the Treasury Department has designated the Saudi-based Union of Good as having ties to terror and British authorities have designated a charity in the UK a terrorist entity because it has ties to the Union of Good.
The Union of Good is an umbrella group of 53 charities. Yes, 53. By the way, it is headed by Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the most prominent Sunni shariah scholar in the world.
So, when the Union of Good was designated a terrorist entity, 53 Islamic charities were caught in the web. This hardly seems isolated to us.
Especially when you consider our detailed report on 27 other Islamic charities that have been tied to terrorism. That gives as a round number of 80 Islamic charities tied to Jihad. That is a lot of charities to be tied to terrorism.
Below are 27 Islamic Charity organizations that have been either indicted or designated by the Treasury under Executive Act 13224, as sponsors of terrorism:
Afghan Support Committee (ASC)
The ASC is a non-governmental organization (NGO) established by Osama bin Laden. Abu Bakr Al-Jaziri, the finance chief of ASC also served as the head of organized fundraising for Osama bin Laden. Al-Jaziri collected funds for al-Qaida in Jalalabad through the ASC. He also collected money for al-Qaida from local Arab NGOs by claiming the funds were for orphans and widows. Al-Jaziri then turned the funds over to al-Qaida operatives. In 2000, he moved from Jalalabad to Pakistan where he continued to raise and transfer funds for al-Qaida.
The U.S. Treasury Department has designated the Shariah Approved Al-Aqsa Foundation as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) entity under Executive Order 13224. As a result of this designation by Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), all assets of the Al-Aqsa Foundation are blocked and transactions with the organization are prohibited.
“By designating the Al-Aqsa Foundation, we have deprived the Hamas terrorist organization of a vital source of funding and have shut off yet another pipeline of money financing terror. Today’s action demonstrates our commitment to prevent the perversion of charitable organizations for terrorist ends,” then-Treasury Secretary Snow stated.
Al Furqan, Al Masjig Al Aqsa Foundation, Taibah International
The U.S. Department of the Treasury Department designated these three Shariah approved Bosnian charities under Executive Order 13224 as sponsors of terrorism. The U.S. is asking the United Nations’ 1267 Sanctions Committee to add these entities to its consolidated list of terrorists tied to al-Qaida, Usama bin Laden and the Taliban. “Today’s action continues the international drumbeat to expose the terrorist nodes used to support the infrastructure of hate,” said Juan Zarate, the Treasury Department’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Executive Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes. “Unfortunately, we have seen the vulnerabilities of charities in countries like Bosnia, where there is not only a need for charitable giving but also a susceptibility that such institutions will be co-opted by terrorist sympathizers.” The United States previously designated Bosnian-operated charities that were funneling dollars for terrorist-related activities, including the Benevolence International Foundation (BIF), the Global Relief Foundation (GRF) and the Bosnian branch of Al-Haramain Foundation (AHF), including its director and Vazir, an alias for the organization.
Al Haramain Islamic Foundation
The Al Haramain Islamic Foundation (AHIF) is a Saudi-based Shariah approved charity that claims to provide educational, financial, and material support to impoverished Muslims around the world. In 2005 two Al Haramain directors, Soliman al-Buthi and Pete Seda, were indicted for a money-laundering scheme that financed Chechenmujahideen . Al-Buthi was designated by the Treasury Department in 2004 to be a “specially designated global terrorist,” alleging direct ties between Al Haramain and al Qaeda. The U.S. Treasurydesignated Al Haramain’s offices in Kenya, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Somalia, and Bosnia as sponsors of terrorism, specifically for their numerous direct connections to Al Qaeda and Bin Laden. They have been connected to the 1998 American embassy bombings and the 2002 Bali bombings in Indonesia. On June 19, 2008, the U.S. Department of the Treasury designated the Al Haramain Islamic Foundation (AHF) for having provided financial and material support to al Qaida, as well as a wide range of designated terrorists and terrorist organizations. “Today’s action targets the entirety of the AHF organization, including its headquarters in Saudi Arabia. Evidence demonstrates that the AHF organization was involved in providing financial and logistical support to the al Qaida network and other terrorist organizations designated by the United States and the United Nations.”
The U.S. Department of the Treasury designated the Al-Salah Society, one of the largest and best-funded Hamas charitable organizations in the Palestinian territories. Al-Salah Society’s director, Ahmad Al-Kurd, was also designated. “Hamas has used the Al-Salah Society, as it has many other charitable fronts, to finance its terrorist agenda,” said Adam Szubin, Director of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). “Today’s action alerts the world to the true nature of Al-Salah and cuts it off from the U.S. financial system.” The Al-Salah Society supported Hamas-affiliated combatants during the first Intifada and recruited and indoctrinated youth to support Hamas’s activities. It also financed commercial stores, kindergartens, and the purchase of land for Hamas. One of the most senior Gaza-based Hamas leaders and founders, Ismail Abu Shanab, openly identified the Al-Salah Society as “one of the three Islamic charities that form Hamas’ welfare arm.” The Al-Salah Society has received substantial funding from Persian Gulf countries, including at least hundreds of thousands of dollars from Kuwaiti donors.
Patrick Poole has exposed an Ohio-based Islamic group that is funneling money to HAMAS through Palestinian universities with apparent impunity. Specifically, the not-for-profit group, Arab Student Aid International (ASAI), has pumped millions of dollars to the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG) which has been recognized by Congress as a fungible cash resource for HAMAS terror activities. U.S. public funds are barred from distribution to IUG. Nevertheless, private American sources continue to provide money to the IUG and other HAMAS-connected schools.
Benevolence International Foundation
BIF sought donations from several sources to fund terrorism in Chechnya and the Philippines; the Philippine operations are believed to have been headed by Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. In November 2002, the US Treasury Department classified BIF as a funder of terrorism, and shut down its U.S. operations. Enaam Arnaout, BIF’s CEO and a member of the Board of Directors, was indicted for operating BIF and providing material support to al Qaeda. Evidence shows the close relationship between Arnaout and Osama bin Laden since the mid-1980s. Various documents also established that Arnaout purchased rockets, mortars, rifles, and offensive and defensive bombs and distributed them to Mujahideen camps operated by al Qaeda. BIF also gave logistical support in 1998 to Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, a bin Laden lieutenant. BIF is also linked to Mohamed Loay Bayazid, implicated in the U.S. embassy bombings trial for his efforts. Bayazid’s driver’s license application, dated September 12, 1994, identifies his address as the address of BIF’s Illinois office. In the late 1990s, Saif al Islam el Masry, a member of al Qaida’s majlis al shura (consultation council), served as an officer in BIF’s Chechnya office.
Care International, Inc.
Islamic charity based out of Boston which funneled money directly to Al Qaeda and had access to US government secrets through an IT company called Ptech, run by an associate. Members convicted on tax evasion in 2007. Supported Jihadist causes in publications. Claimed to be a charity for Muslim widows and refugees. Actually gave over $3 million directly to Osama bin Laden. Boston branch of al-Kitfa Refugee Center in Brooklyn, from which Sheik Mar Abdel-Rahman plotted 1993 WTC attacks.
Commite de Bienfaisance et de Secours aux Palestiniens (CBSP) and Association de Secours Palestinien (ASP)
CBSP and ASP are primary fundraisers for HAMAS in France and Switzerland, respectively. Founded in France in the late 80s/early 90s, CBSP acts in collaboration with more than a dozen humanitarian organizations based in different towns in the West Bank and Gaza and in Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon. ASP, a subsidiary of CBSP, was founded in Switzerland in 1994. The group has collected large amounts of money from mosques and Islamic centers, which it then transfers to sub-organizations of HAMAS. Khalid Al-Shuli is the president of CBSP and ASP.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury designated the Elehssan Society, including all its branches, as a charitable front for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). A deadly Palestinian terrorist group, PIJ has been named a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) by the U.S. Government and is also named on the European Union’s list of terrorist entities. “Elehssan masquerades as a charity, while actually helping to finance Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s acts of terror against the Israeli people and other innocents,” said Stuart Levey, the Treasury’s Under Secretary for the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI). “We will not hesitate to act against those who enable murderers, regardless of how they disguise themselves.”
The Global Relief Foundation
The Global Relief Foundation (GRF), has connections to, has provided support for, and has provided assistance to Usama Bin Ladin, the al Qaida Network, and other known terrorist groups. One of the founders of GRF was previously a member of the Makhtab Al-Khidamat, the precursor organization to al Qaida. The GRF has received funding from individuals associated with al Qaida. GRF officials have had extensive contacts with a close associate of Usama Bin Ladin, who has been convicted in a U.S. court for his role in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. GRF members have dealt with officials of the Taliban, while the Taliban was subject to international sanctions. The GRF has connections with known terrorist organizations and with known supporters of terrorist organizations, including the shipment of material to a terrorist organization operating in the Kashmir region and through financial transactions with a Texas-based charitable organization.
Holy Land Foundation
In December of 2001, the Department of Treasury shut down three Hamas-controlled organizations that finance terror, including the Holy Land Foundation which raised $13 million in 2000. Government agents shut down 4 offices of the Holy Land Foundation in the United States. This was based on a long running FBI investigation. In 1993 and 1994, the FBI monitored meetings of identified Hamas leaders and senior representatives from the HLF. During these meetings, discussions were held regarding the need for Hamas fund-raising in the United States, as well as the primary role of the HLF to serve this function. In the early 1990s, Hamas provided substantial funds to the HLF. An FBI investigation has determined that a majority of the funds collected by the HLF are used to support Hamas activities in the Middle East, and key decision-makers within the HLF have been identified as active members of Hamas.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury designated the worldwide network of the Islamic African Relief Agency (IARA), along with five senior officials, pursuant to E.O. 13224. This action blocks all accounts, funds and assets of IARA in the United States and criminalizes the provision of money or other types of support to any of its offices.
“This is an excellent example of how U.S. Government agencies coordinate their efforts to achieve the maximum impact against supporters of terrorism. The Treasury Department has been working closely with its colleagues in other agencies to ensure that, as a government, we do everything possible to shut down the flow of money to terrorists,” said Stuart Levey, Treasury’s Under Secretary for the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI).
The International Islamic Relief Organization
The International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) is a Saudi-funded entity that was created in 1978 through another Saudi-based, self-described charity, the Muslim World League. IIRO’s stated mission is “to provide [medical, educational, and social] assistance to victims of natural disasters and wars all over the world,” focusing largely on Muslim victims. IIRO was part of a Virginia-based terror network, discovered by the United States government to have had connections to al Qaeda, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, andHamas. IIRO is also an “assisting organization” to the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund, which has numerous ties to terrorist groups. On August 3, 2006, the U.S. Treasury Department designated the Philippine and Indonesian branch offices of IIRO as terrorist entities “for facilitating fundraising for al Qaida and affiliated terrorist groups” as well as the Executive Director of its Eastern Province Branch in Saudi Arabia Abd Al Hamid Sulaiman Al-Mujil, has bankrolled the al Qaida network in Southeast Asia under Executive Order 13224. Al-Mujil was also a major fundraiser for the Abu Sayyaf Group and Jemaah Islamiyah, both of which are affiliated with al Qaeda.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury designated the Islamic Resistance Support Organization (IRSO), a key Hizballah fundraising organization. “While some terrorist-supporting charities try to obscure their support for violence, IRSO makes no attempt to hide its true colors. IRSO’s fundraising materials present donors with the option of sending funds to equip Hizballah fighters or to purchase rockets that Hizballah uses to target civilian populations,” said Stuart Levey, Treasury’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI) “IRSO works to inflict suffering rather than alleviate it.”
IRSO was named pursuant to Executive Order 13224, which is aimed at disrupting the financial lines supporting terrorism. This action shuts IRSO out of the U.S. financial system by prohibiting transactions with the organization by U.S. persons, as well as freezing any assets IRSO may have under U.S. jurisdiction. Hizballah uses IRSO to solicit donations in support of its terrorist activities. Specifically, IRSO solicits funds for Hizballah through advertisements broadcast on Hizballah’s al-Manar television station. IRSO has identified itself to prospective donors as one and the same as Hizballah.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury blocked pending investigation accounts of KindHearts, an NGO operating out of Toledo, Ohio, to ensure the preservation of its assets pending further investigation. “KindHearts is the progeny of Holy Land Foundation and Global Relief Foundation, which attempted to mask their support for terrorism behind the façade of charitable giving,” said Stuart Levey, Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. “By utilizing this specialized designation tool, we’re able to prevent asset flight in support of terrorist activities while we further investigate the activities of KindHearts.”
Palestinian Association in Austria (PVOE)
PVOE is controlled by the leader of HAMAS in Austria. The money is targeted to support members of HAMAS and is funneled through other charities in Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza or other areas of the Middle East in order to ensure the transfer of funds is undetected and reaches its intended recipients. PVOE is part of the HAMAS network of charitable organizations that includes the Al Aqsa Foundation.
Palestinian Relief and Development Fund (Interpal)
Interpal, headquartered in the UK, has been a principal charity utilized to hide the flow of money to HAMAS. Reporting indicates it is the conduit through which money flows to HAMAS from other charities, e.g., the Al Aqsa Foundation (designated under EO 13224 on May 29th) and oversees the activities of other charities. For example, the Sanabil Association for Relief and Development (designated as part of this tranche), represents Interpal in Lebanon. Reporting indicates that Interpal is the fundraising coordinator of HAMAS. This role is of the type that includes supervising activities of charities, developing new charities in targeted areas, instructing how funds should be transferred from one charity to another, and even determining public relations policy.
Ptech and Muwfaq
Ptech was raided by the FBI on December 6, 2002, following a tip from an employee who suspected that the company was connected to the 9/11 attacks. Indeed, on October 12, 2001, Yassin al-Kadi, Ptech’s top investor at that time, was listed by the US government as a specially designated global terrorist for his support of al-Qaeda. Al-Kadi invested at least $18 million directly in Ptech, $5 million through the Isle of Man, and $9 million indirectly through BMI, a now-defunct New Jersey-based Islamic investment firm with connections to other members on Ptech’s management and investors. Al-Kadi also transferred $2 million USD to Ptech from Switzerland between 1997 and 2000, according to Swiss investigators.
Richard Clarke in his testimony before the Senate on October 22, 2003, said: “Qadi was the head of Muwafaq, a Saudi relief organization that reportedly transferred at least $3 million, on behalf of Khalid bin Mahfouz, to Osama bin Laden and assisted al Qaeda [sic.] fighters in Bosnia.” Moreover, according to the Treasury Department letter to Switzerland’s Attorney General in November 2001, Muwafaq fronted for, and funded Makhtab al-Khidamat (MK), al-Qaeda, HAMAS, and the Abu-Sayyaf organization, to name just a few. Yet, Muwafaq was not designated as a terrorist organization.
SAAR, SAFA, IIRO, Muslim World League. Then, there was Yakub Mirza, a Pakistani, who was not only al-Kadi’s business partner in Ptech, but according to a government indictment on October 2003, was also the financial mastermind, Trustee, President and CEO of the SAAR Foundation. The indictment listed the SAAR foundation as connected to the SAFA Foundation, another Saudi sponsored foundation, which also provided material support to Islamist terrorist groups. Mirza was also a Trustee on the board of Sanabel, the investment arm of the Saudi International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), which shared the same address as the SAAR Foundation: 555 Grove Street in Herndon, Virginia. Mirza set up and was the Secretary and Treasurer of the US branch of the Muslim World League (MWL), another Saudi charity that also served as the fund-raising arm of the US branch of the IIRO. Mirza, along with these organizations, is still missing from the US Government Designated Terrorist list.
Abdurahman Muhammad Alamoudi, another Ptech founder, was the President of the American Muslim Council (AMC) and the American Muslim Foundation (AMF); both received thousands of dollars from the Success Foundation, which provided logistical and financial support for Islamist terror organizations. Alamoudi openly and frequently stated his support for HAMAS and Hizbollah. Like Mirza, he too was a member of the IIRO. Alamoudi pled guilty in July 2004 to charges related to a Libyan plot to assassinate Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah. Like Mirza, Alamoudi is also missing from the US Government Designated Terrorist list.
Rabita Trust was established in 1988 by the late Pakistani President Zia-ul-Haq and the Muslim World League’s former Secretary-General Dr. Abdullah Omar Naseef. Rabita Trust was scrutinized by the U.S. Senate Finance Committee based on evidence that it knowingly funded terrorist groups. The organization was directed byWael Hamza Jalaidan, an al Qaeda founder and chief of logistics, until the United States and Saudi Arabia closed it down with Pakistani assistance. The US was initially reluctant to add it to lists of terrorist sponsoring charities because Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf was a member of Rabita Trust’s Board of Directors. Under U.S. pressure, Musharraf eventually resigned from the Board, at which point the United States designated Rabita Trust as a “Global Terrorist Entity” and froze its assets on October 12, 2001.
Revival of Islamic Heritage Society (RIHS)
The RIHS is a Kuwaiti-based non-governmental organization. In Pakistan and Afghanistan it is affiliated with ASC. The Peshawar, Pakistan office director for RIHS is Abd al-Muhsin Al-Libi, who also serves as the ASC manager in Peshawar. Al-Libi has provided Usama bin Laden and his associates with facilities in Peshawar, and has carried money and messages on behalf of Usama bin Laden. The Pakistan office defrauded RIHS donors to fund terrorism. In order to obtain additional funds from the Kuwait RIHS headquarters, the RIHS office in Pakistan padded the number of orphans it claimed to care for by providing names of orphans that did not exist or who had died. Funds then sent for the purpose of caring for the non-existent or dead orphans were instead diverted to al-Qaida terrorists. There is no evidence at this point that this financing was done with the knowledge of RIHS in Kuwait.
Sanabil Association for Relief and Development
The Sanabil Association for Relief and Development (Sanabil), based in Sidon, Lebanon, receives large quantities of funds raised by major HAMAS-affiliated charities in Europe and the Middle East and, in turn, provides funding to HAMAS. For example, Sanabil has received funding from the Al Aqsa Foundation (designated as an SDGT under EO 13224 in May 2003); the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (designated as an SDGT under EO 13224 in December 2001), and Interpal (designated as an SDGT under EO 13224 as part of this tranche). HAMAS recruits permanent members from the religious and the poor by extending charity to them from organizations such as Sanabil.
At the request of a HAMAS political leader, Sanabil began opening offices in all of the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon in August of 2001 in order to increase the foundation’s role inside the camps. After starting by providing basic necessities the charity eventually began asking poor families within the camps to fill out application forms, particularly those who had worked with the Islamic Movement (Al-Haraka al-Islamiyya) and HAMAS. As a result of these efforts, Sanabil has increased its scope of influence within the camps.
The Saudi Red Crescent
“The Saudi Red Crescent, for instance, a parallel to the Red Cross in the U.S., maintained passports for al-Qaida operatives to avoid searches and is referred to as an ‘umbrella’ organization by al-Qaida operatives. A message on the letterhead of the Saudi Red Crescent bureau in Peshawar requests that ‘weapons’ be inventoried. The letter contains a note from Osama bin Laden to its then-director stating ‘we have an extreme need for weapons’.
The World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) was co-founded in 1972 by Kamal Helwabi, a former senior member of the EgyptianMuslim Brotherhood, and by Osama bin Laden’s nephew, Abdullah bin Laden (who served as WAMY’s President through 2002 and later its Treasurer). WAMY raises funds for Hamas. In October 2002 made Hamas leader Khaled Mash’al an “honored guest” at a conference held in Riyadh. WAMY also helps finance the Kashmir insurgency against India, characterizing it as a “liberation” movement. WAMY was investigated by the FBI after 9/11, when it was determined that Dr. Al Badr al-Hamzi, whose credit card was found among the possessions of the hijackers, was receiving funding from the organization. The Senate Finance Committee requested that the IRS examine WAMY’s U.S. branch for links to terrorism