Mallam Sanusi, the Shariah scholar who also unfortunately chairs the central bank of Nigeria and is championing Shariah Banking in that African nation, claims that Al Qaeda attempted to open a Shariah-Compliant bank in Nigeria in the 1990s but was turned down because it could not meet the licensing requirement.

This claim is remarkable and certainly borders on the incredible. Given that concerns over terrorism financing are one of the chief objections to Shariah banking in Nigeria, the fact that Sanusi made this claim could mean that he is simply putting up a smoke screen. By portraying himself as tough on Al Qaeda, Sanusi can more easily make critics comfortable with Shariah Banking in Nigeria, thus opening the way for civilizational jihad and backdoor methods to funding jihad according to shariah law.

A few of the facts surrounding Sanusi’s claim simply do not add up. Even in the 1990s, it is doubtful that Al Qaeda would attempt to open a bank in its own name. Second, given the fact that Al Qaeda was a known terrorist entity from at least 1995 on, one wonders if the application would have been granted if the licensing requirement had been met.

Al Qaeda has made extensive use of money laundering, reverse money laundering and zakat donations from Shariah entities over the years, but operating a bank openly is not something that they have done.

This claim may just be a bogus attempt by Sanusi to portray himself as a terrorism fighter to reduce the scrutiny in Nigeria of his campaign to bring the financial jihad to his homeland…


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