CSP, by Olivia McCoy, May 27, 2015:
Relatives of a Foreign Terrorist Fighter (FTF) reportedly transferred up to $15.47 million USD to finance the Islamic State. Australian national, Khaled Sharrouf traveled to Syria to fight on behalf of the Islamic State. According to a report by the United Nations Security Council, the sister and brother-in-law of Khaled Sharrouf owned a money transfer business. This business was used to send money to countries surrounding Syria. The report is unclear which countries were sent the money and whose money was being transferred.
The Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott, says that there will be a no tolerance policy for jihadists trying to return to Australia or individuals financing the Islamic State.
However, this isn’t the first case of the Islamic State being financed by private donors. The Islamic State generates a portion of its funding from private donors in the Gulf. These private donors, stemming from countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait, have provided funds to pay for the salaries of over 100,000 Islamic State jihadists.
The UN estimates that there are over 25,000 FTFs that have joined al-Qaeda-linked terror organizations, principally the Islamic State. Roughly 22,00 of those FTF’s are operating out of Syria or Iraq. FTFs themselves can be a source of financing for terror groups. Often times FTFs travel to Syria on behalf of Islamic State, bringing all of their money with them and donating it to the Caliphate upon arrival.
According to the UN Report, dated May 19th, 2015, in the past three years the numbers of FTFs have drastically risen. Since the middle of 2014 to March of 2015 there was a 71 percent increase in foreign fighters. This year alone, there have been 40 individuals in the U.S. involved in international related-terror cases.
In March of 2015, Keonna Thomas of Philadelphia was arrested because of plans to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State and provide financial and material aid. She had been in contact with an Islamic State fighter in Syria who recruited her. The FBI arrested her just days before she was scheduled to depart.
FTFs are a major threat because in addition to helping further the terror group’s agenda abroad they also pose a risk domestically. Prior to departing for the Middle East to join the Islamic State, individuals are often in contact with representatives or handlers that they would meet prior to joining. This is hazardous because the handlers may instead tell FTFs to stay in their domestic countries and provide instructions on waging jihad domestically. The leader of the Islamic State himself called for domestic action in a speech released on May 14th:
“And we call upon every Muslim in every place to perform hijrah to the Islamic State or fight in his land wherever that may be.”
Countries with direct flights to locations such as Turkey should strengthen security checks against individuals coming through customs, as should countries that serve as transit points, such as Spain and Morocco. Stopping FTFs is important because it not only prevents the Islamic State’s force from growing but also cuts off a key source of funding.
- A Canadian college and Islamic terror recruiting (culturaljihad.wordpress.com)