Islamic Charities Revealed: Bankrollers of Terror
Foreign Policy magazine recently published an excellent article on the role of Islamic charities in funding Jihadist terrorism, something we’ve been writing about here on SFW for several 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.
LATE ADDITION: Money Jihad Blog has made a short slideshow based on the information in the Foreign Policy article. Check it out: