Al Qaeda’s Funding Sources Identified (Sort of)
CNN has a pretty good article that summarizes just where Al Qaeda is getting its money. Regular readers of Shariah Finance Watch will not be surprised by what CNN points out.
CNN’s article identifies 4 primary sources of funding for Al Qaeda:
“…wealthy individual patrons, infiltrated charities, criminal activities and legitimate businesses.”
They are incorrect in stating that the charities are “infiltrated.” The available evidence indicates that numerous Islamic charities fund Jihad simply because Islamic Shariah law says that zakat should be given to those “fighting in the way of Allah.” That’s why so many Islamic charities have been implicated in terrorism financing of numerous Jihadist groups, not just Al Qaeda.
Single donors…are often the richest of all of al Qaeda’s funding sources. These are also the people who believe if they just fund a jihad – with someone else doing the killing on their behalf – then they themselves will get to heaven.
While technically correct, this description once again comes up short in terms of a proper explanation. As we just pointed out, Shariah law states explicitly that Jihadists are to receive zakat. Moreover, the world’s foremost Shariah scholar, Yusuf Al Qaradawi, in a 2006 interview with BBC said that he liked to call zakat “Jihad with money” because allah has ordered us to fight our enemies with our lives and our money.”
So, when CNN says “these are the people,” we’re not sure who they’re referring to.
Charities infiltrated by terror groups are another revenue stream – and were especially so in the 1990’s when they used to account for up to 60% of al Qaeda’s funds. One such Philippine-based relief organization was actually headed by bin Laden’s brother-in-law, Mohammed Jamal Khalifa.
Again, we run into the same problem here. Charities clearly do not have to be infiltrated by terrorists to fund Jihad. No fewer than 80 Muslim charities worldwide have been implicated in financing terrorism, including the largest Islamic charities in the US and some of the largest Saudi charities as well. This isn’t a matter of infiltration. This is a practice which is deemed mandatory by Shariah law. We also wonder on what basis CNN has decided that financing for Jihadist terrorist organizations by charities is less now than it was in the 1990s. They offer no evidence.
Criminal activities are a third source of funds and include credit, tax and check fraud. In 2003, The U.K.’s Scotland Yard successfully busted an al Qaeda cell that was producing fake credit cards using information from real people. The weekly profit: 10,000 pounds.
This is accurate enough, but doesn’t go nearly far enough. Al Qaeda has been involved in both human trafficking, piracy and the drug trade around the world.
And then there are actual legitimate businesses which take advantage of unsuspecting customers. One ended up being a Yemen-based exporter that sent fruit to Europe. Buyers on the Continent inadvertently became backers of al Qaeda.
Again, accurate enough, but it doesn’t go far enough. We know, for instance, that Bank Al Taqwa was designated a terrorist entity by the US government in 2001 for funding Jihad. Sheikh Qaradawi was the chair of the bank’s Shariah advisory board.