Shariah Finance Watch:
It is widely known that much of the funding for Jihadist terrorist organizations, such as Al Qaeda, Hamas, Abu Sayyef and Jemaah Islamiyah come from private donations to Islamic charities through zakat payments, a system of tithing in Islam.
The Saudi government claims that they are virtually powerless to stop this activity, something that makes us incredulous, given the Shariah police state that is Saudi Arabia.
But that is the whole point. Wealthy Saudis and their charities participate in zakat because Shariah commands it.
And Shariah also mandates that one of the eight destinations for zakat are “those fighting in the way of allah.”
This is further defined as those who are engaged in Islamic military operations but who are not listed on an Army roster.
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.
In other words, Islamic charities have played an integral role in Al Qaeda’s funding structure, and in some cases Islamic charities have also played an operational role for Al Qaeda. Furthermore, the system of zakat has laid the foundation for violent jihad through the promotion of Wahhabi (Salafi) Islam, the religion of Al Qaeda.
Dhaka Ahsania Mission is a UN-affiliated NGO (non-governmental organization) that does relief work around the world. It also has a zakat fund called the Ahsania Mission Zakat Fund. The fund has offices around the globe including in New York City.
On the fund’s web site, it provides a complete primer on the Islamic system of zakat. Included in that primer is a listing of how zakat is distributed. Number 7 on the 8 destinations for zakat:
One who fights for the cause of Allah.
The most authoritative source for such information is a book which is available on Amazon called “The Reliance of the Traveler, A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law.” That book has a whole section devoted to the rules of zakat, including “THE EIGHT CATEGORIES OF RECIPIENTS.” On page 272, section h8.17, one category is labeled:
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:
Consider that the Treasury Department has designated the Saudi-based Union of Good as having ties to terror and British authorities have designated a charity in the UK a terrorist entity because it has ties to the Union of Good.
The Union of Good is an umbrella group of 53 charities. Yes, 53. By the way, it is headed by Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the most prominent Sunni shariah scholar in the world.
So, when the Union of Good was designated a terrorist entity, 53 Islamic charities were caught in the web. This hardly seems isolated to us.
Especially when you consider our detailed report on 27 other Islamic charities that have been tied to terrorism. That gives as a round number of 80 Islamic charities tied to Jihad. That is a lot of charities to be tied to terrorism. Why didn’t The Guardian uncover this same information?
Go to Sharia Finance Watch to see a list of 27 Islamic Charity organizations that have been either indicted or designated by the Treasury under Executive Act 13224, as sponsors of terrorism.
All of this makes the KPMG report so disturbing. KPMG, one of the West’s leading accounting, auditing and consulting firms, publishes a guide to abiding by Saudi tax and zakat regulations.
Readers of SFW may wish to take this into account when making decisions about the firms with which you do business.