Money Jihad: How Islamists Finance Their Operations

by: Ryan Mauro

The author of the Money Jihad blogwishes to remain anonymous. The daily blog documents how Islamists finance their operations. The author previously served in military-intelligence and has been blogging about terrorism financing for three years.

The following is RadicalIslam.or’s Security Analyst Ryan Mauro’s interview with the author of the Money Jihad blog about how the Islamist terrorism continues to be lavishly funded 11 years after the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Ryan Mauro: What legal loopholes are the Islamists using to finance their operations worldwide?

Money Jihad: Saudi Arabia’s approach to terror finance is a giant loophole in and of itself.  The Islamic zakat tax, what some call “Islamic charity,” is a massive source of jihadist revenues.  The Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency is supposed to approve charitable zakat transfers overseas, but it’s a fig leaf; the Saudis still fund the spread of radical Wahhabism abroad.  Also, it took Saudi Arabia’s Senior Ulema Council nine years after 9/11 to criminalize the financing of terrorism.  Whenever the Council comments on terror finance, it vigorously defends zakat in the same breath.  The Council won’t even define terrorism to include suicide bomb attacks against Israel.

In the U.S., we need a totally different approach to regulating hawala, the traditional Islamic system money transfer system that has helped fund terrorists.  But on balance I would say that most of the terror finance shortcomings in the West involve inadequate enforcement of existing laws rather than a lack of laws.

Ryan Mauro: What laws aren’t being enforced and why?

Money Jihad:  First, the Patriot Act prohibits providing material support to terrorism such as transferring money to Hamas.  The Holy Land Foundation (HLF) trial revealed that Islamic organizations such as the North American Islamic Trust and the Islamic Society of North America worked closely with HLF.  The Bush administration never intended HLF to be their final prosecution, but they ran out of time to pursue HLF’s associates.  Especially now that HLF’s final appeal was rejected by the Supreme Court, this would be a great time to enforce the material support provisions of the Patriot Act against HLF’s unindicted co-conspirators.

Second, the Foreign Agents Registration Act isn’t being enforced with respect to CAIR which engages in political activities in the U.S. but is funded from abroad.

Third, the nonprofit provisions of the Internal Revenue code are being abused by Islamic organizations that claim to be charities but are actually engaged in business activities.  For example, Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA) is a certifier of halal foods.  It gets most of its revenues from inspecting food manufacturers that seek a halal certification label, but IFANCA claims tax-exempt status on the false basis of receiving revenues from charitable donations and grants, which is discredited by a simple review of their tax forms.  Canada does a better job than the U.S. of stripping bogus charity fronts of their tax-exempt status.

Fourth, Bank Secrecy Act and Treasury regulations require money services businesses, including hawala dealers, to register their business with the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. One study showed that about 85 percent of hawala businesses simply ignore the requirement.

As to why these laws aren’t being enforced, I think it’s political.

Ryan Mauro: What methods are the Islamists using today to raise money, besides soliciting wealthy donors?

Money Jihad: Well, it’s not just about zakat from wealthy donors.  Folks like Amina Farah Ali in Minnesota, Shabaaz Hussain in London, and Irfan Naseer in Birmingham have fundraised for relatively small donations from individual Muslims to support jihad overseas.  A few thousand dollars from the West goes a long way to fund a holy warrior on the ground in Somalia.

But apart from zakat donations, there are a whole host of other Islamic taxes that receive less attention but are huge revenue stream for jihad.  Western reporters call it extortion, but the mujahideen don’t look at it that way.

Take for example two terrorist organizations with a ground game:  Al-Shabaab and the Taliban.  They have fighters on the ground and control definite territory.  Organizations like that rely to a great extent on levying Islamic taxes on the people under their jurisdiction.  The Taliban still gets money from ushr, the Islamic tax on harvests, which includes poppy yields.  Al Shabaab imposes harbor taxes, checkpoint taxes (a practice from the early days of Islam up through Ottoman times), and a zakat on the lucrative Somali charcoal trade.

Ransoms, which are also permitted against infidels by the Koran, are a major revenue source for organizations like AQIM and Abu Sayyaf.  For Hezbollah, the West focuses on their drug money, but they get a lot of money from khums, the Shia Muslim tax on individual profit.

Counterfeiting, Sharia finance, street crimes, welfare fraud — those are all being used as well in different parts of the world to fund terrorism, individual Islamists or both.

Read more at Radical Islam

Ryan Mauro is RadicalIslam.org’s National Security Analyst and a fellow with the Clarion Fund. He is the founder of WorldThreats.com and is frequently interviewed on Fox News.

Why It Should Always Be Called ‘Hamas-CAIR’

By Pamela Geller:

Last Monday, the Supreme Court declined to hear appeals from the Holy Land Five: five former officials of what was once the largest Islamic charity in the United States, the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), who were convicted of funneling millions in charitable donations to the jihad terror group Hamas.  That effectively ends the story of the Holy Land Foundation, but since many of its co-conspirators are still active, notably the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the case is worth revisiting.

In 2008, the U.S. government filed a memorandum in opposition to the request from two of the groups linked to the HLF, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), that the “unindicted co-conspirator” designation they received during the HLF trial be removed (it wasn’t).  The memorandum is a useful and illuminating summary of what some of the most prominent Islamic groups in the U.S. have been involved with.

It noted that some of HLF’s top officials, including Shukri Abu Baker, its secretary and chief executive officer; Mohammed El-Mezain, its director of endowments; and Ghassan Elashi, its chairman of the board, were charged with “providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization,” as well as with “engaging in prohibited financial transactions with a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, money laundering, filing false tax returns, and several conspiracy charges, including: conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization…conspiracy to provide funds, goods and services to Specially Designated Global Terrorist … and conspiracy to commit money laundering[.]”

And the HLF officials “were not acting alone.”  Rather, they were “operating in concert with a host of individuals and organizations dedicated to sustaining and furthering the Hamas movement. … The object of the conspiracy was to support Hamas. The support will be shown to have take several forms, including raising money, propaganda, proselytizing, recruiting, as well as many other types of actions intended to continue to promote and move forward Hamas’s agenda of the destruction of the State of Israel and establishment of an Islamic state in its place.”

ISNA and NAIT were among the groups listed as “members of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.”  During the trial, the government introduced evidence “expressly linking ISNA and NAIT to the HLF and its principals; the Islamic Association for Palestine and its principals; the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States and its Palestine Committee, headed by Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzook; and the greater Hamas-affiliated conspiracy described in the Government’s case-in-chief.”  The Islamic Association for Palestine, since shut down as a Hamas front, is CAIR’s parent organization.

The evidence introduced at the trial “established that ISNA and NAIT were among those organizations created by the U.S.-Muslim Brotherhood.”  They were listed as among those organizations dedicated to the Muslim Brotherhood’s stated goal, according to a captured internal document made public during the HLF trial, of “eliminating and destroying the Western Civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and Allah’s religion is made victorious over other religions.”

Read more at American Thinker

Pamela Geller is the publisher of AtlasShrugs.com and the author of the WND Books title Stop the Islamization of America: A Practical Guide to the Resistance.

End of the Line for HLF

IPT News:

The United States Supreme Court has decided not to accept appeals from the five Holy Land Foundation officials convicted of illegally funneling more than $12 million to Hamas, essentially concluding the case.

The court had no comment in declining to hear the case Monday.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected similar arguments last year in upholding the convictions against Ghassan Elashi, Shukri Abu-Baker, Mohammad El-Mezain, Mufid Abdulqader and Abdulrahman Odeh. They were convicted on a total of 108 counts in 2008 and are serving sentences ranging from 15 years to 65 years in prison.

The defendants wanted the Supreme Court to overturn the Fifth Circuit ruling by rejecting the prosecution’s use of Israeli security officials whose identities were never disclosed. That, defense attorneys argued, hampered their ability to cross-examine the witnesses and violated the defendants’ rights to confront their accusers.

But other testimony and evidence was consistent with the Israelis’ testimony, the Fifth Circuit found. And there is precedent – especially in drug prosecutions – for courts balancing witness safety against the defendants’ confrontation rights. “[T]here was a serious and clear need to protect the true identities of [the Israeli witnesses] because of concerns for their safety,” the Fifth Circuit ruling said.

In addition, prosecutors did provide sufficient information for defense attorneys to cross examine aggressively. The “defense was therefore well-armed with information upon which to confront and cross-examine both,” the appellate court found.

The defense and its supporters continue to cast the Holy Land Foundation as a victim of overzealous post-9/11 prosecutions. The group merely raised money for needy Palestinians, they argue, and was never connected to any violence.

But evidence and testimony in the trial showed the HLF sent money to Palestinian charities controlled by Hamas. “The purpose of creating the Holy Land Foundation was as a fundraising arm for Hamas,” U.S. District Judge Jorge Solis said at the 2009 sentencing hearing.

HLF had been one of the nation’s largest Muslim charities before being shut down in 2001. Other disclosures in the case tied several prominent American Islamist groups – especially the Council on American-Islamic Relations – to a Muslim Brotherhood network in the United States created to provide Hamas with political and financial support.

Beyond The Line For HLF:

While Monday’s refusal by the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal by defendants in the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) prosecution effectively closes the case for the defense, it could open options for the government.

In addition to the five defendants, HLF as an organization also was convicted in the case. As we reported in December 2008, there are potential enforcement ramifications stemming from the HLF case beyond the five convicted defendants. This is particularly true now the appellate process has been exhausted in favor of the prosecution.

Since HLF has now been legally determined to have been an organization involved in terrorism support, foreign nationals who worked for HLF or otherwise assisted it may be subject to immigration enforcement action in the form of removal (deportation) proceedings.

In fact, even naturalized U.S. citizens who may have been involved in HLF activities before they naturalized may be subject to either criminal fraud prosecution and/or revocation of their citizenship status if they misrepresented their involvement with HLF or the nature of HLF activities while they were affiliated with the organization.

The Supreme Court decision finalizing the HLF appeals process firmly strengthens the position for law enforcement agencies, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and their ability to aggressively investigate and prosecute additional suspects who may have been involved with this organization.