From time to time SFW provides links to primary sources which affirm the use of zakat funds to support violent jihad.
For new readers who are unfamiliar with the term “zakat,” it 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.
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.
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 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.