Regular readers of SFW know that we have attempted to cover the activities of Islamic charities which have been found to have ties to terrorist organizations. We’ve built up an archive of such accounts in recent months:
This is especially worrisome with regard to Shariah-Compliant Finance because of the system of zakat, which requires Shariah-Compliant institutions to facilitate tithing to approved charitable organizations. We’ve covered that fairly extensively on SFW too:
We need to make it clear that there is a great deal of evidence to suggest that ties between Islamic charities and terrorist organizations is actually widespread. That may seem like a strong statement, but when one considers the evidence, that is the conclusion one comes to.
Consider that the Treasury Department just recently 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. 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 this detailed report on 27 other Islamic charities that have been 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. Note that under Shariah Law there are 8 approved classes of charitable giving, 4 of which can be interpreted to mean funding of holy war or “jihad”.
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 Chechen mujahideen . 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. Treasury 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 of Central Ohioans Against Terrorism 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 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, and Hamas. 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 by Wael 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 Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, and by Osama bin Laden’s nephew, Abdullah bin Laden (who served as WAMY’s President through 2002 and is now 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