A Last, Desperate Plea to Excuse Hamas Support

hamas-pleaIPT NewsJanuary 12, 2017:

As President Obama’s tenure reaches its final days, Islamists in the United States are waging a furious lobbying campaign aimed at securing the freedom of five men convicted of illegally routing millions of dollars to Hamas.

An open campaign urges the president to pardon five former officials from the defunct, Texas-based Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), casting them as victims of “anti-Muslim hysteria” triggered by the 9/11 attacks. In 2008, a jury convicted the five – Shukri Abu Baker, Ghassan Elashi, Mohammed El-Mezain, Abdulrahman Odeh and Mufid Abdulqader – of using a network of Palestinian charities controlled by Hamas to funneling money to the terrorist group.

It is not clear whether the requests to pardon the five, or to commute their sentences and release them from prison, is being considered seriously. Obama’s pardons thus far involved somewhat less serious crimes including fraud, embezzlement and non-violent drug offenses.

But advocates are pushing social media campaigns and online petitions aimed at securing a pardon, or, short of that, a commutation of the five men’s sentences to set them free. The campaign also has enlisted support from at least one member of Congress.

Left unspoken is an undeniable truth behind the pardon/commutation campaign, and behind any ongoing defense of the Holy Land Foundation: Advocates do not believe Hamas support is wrong.

The Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA) is leading the charge, supported by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and pro-Palestinian groups.

CAIR’s appeal provided a White House switchboard number for supporters to call and request commutations. Some sites even include contact information for key members of Congress, urging supporters to emphasize the “cruelly disproportionate” length of sentences – from a low of 15 years for El-Mezain, to 65-year terms for Baker and Elashi.

CAIR’s Arizona director Imraan Siddiqi described the prosecution as “a political lynching of charity workers … Its effects still haunt American Muslims.”

After reviewing the entire record in 2011, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals saw it quite differently.

Pleas from the MLFA and Siddiqi ignore the exhibits – many of them internal HLF and related documents – showing the family ties between some defendants and Hamas leaders, a reliance on Hamas officials to speak at HLF fundraisers along with other, consistent pro-Hamas messages.

In addition, records show, HLF (formerly known as the Occupied Land Fund) was part of a network called the “Palestine Committee” in the United States. That committee answered to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s mandate that global chapters create “Palestine Committees” in their home countries. Their task was “to support Hamas from abroad,” the Fifth Circuit noted in upholding the convictions and sentences. In the United States, that task fell in part to Hamas political leader Mousa Abu Marzook, who helped create HLF and two other branches – a propaganda wing known as the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP) and a think-tank called the United Association for Studies and Research (UASR).

CAIR was added to the Palestine Committee after its 1994 founding.

“The evidence showed that the long-standing connection between HLF and Hamas began in the late 1980s when HLF arose as a fundraising arm for the Palestine Committee …” the appeals court ruling said. “This fact was notably evident from the … [internal Palestine Committee] documents, which showed that HLF was created along with the IAP.” In addition, Palestine Committee bylaws “specifically recognized HLF as ‘the official organization for fundraising.'”

HLF apologists claim the group was merely interested in helping needy widows and orphans. But, the court pointed out, the orphans included Yehia Ayyash’s children. Ayyash was Hamas’s top bomb maker, nicknamed “The Engineer,” before being killed by Israel.

“An audio tape from 1996 that was seized from HLF’s offices contained songs praising Hamas and discussions of suicide bombers as heroes,” the ruling said.

“We believe that a jury could not help but infer from the above evidence that the defendants had a close association with Hamas and that HLF acted to fund Hamas both before and after Hamas’s designation as a terrorist organization.”

Still, CAIR’s Texas chapter called the five convicted HLF officials “humanitarians,” and described their imprisonment as “an immense wrong.” It cited defense attorney Nancy Hollander’s claim that there was no evidence showing her client, HLF executive director Shukri Abu Baker, breaking the law. “Not a word from his lips that he hated Jews. Not a word from his lips that he supported Hamas. These were fictions,” Hollander said.

1933That cannot be said for Mufid Abdulqader, who performed and acted in a singing troupe that helped raise money for HLF at IAP events. In this video, admitted into evidence during the 2008 trial, he is shown wearing camouflage and a kaffiyeh as he sings, “I am Hamas, O dear ones … I swear to wipe out the name of the Zionist. And protect my land, Palestine.” Then, he pretends to strangle an actor portraying an Israeli.

Hollander failed to mention that Baker ran HLF and was responsible for who spoke and what was said at its fundraisers. Those events routinely featured Hamas leaders and activists. She also neglected to mention her client’s participation in a secret 1993 Philadelphia gathering of Hamas members and supporters who schemed about how to “derail” the U.S.-brokered Oslo peace accord without coming off looking like terror supporters.

It was Baker who set a key ground rule for the talks, which were secretly recorded and translated by the FBI: No one should mention Hamas by name, he instructed. Instead, call it “Sister Samah,” which is Hamas spelled backward.

The gathering, Baker said, was “a joint workshop between the Holy Land Foundation and the IAP.” Participants should not mention Hamas by name.

Hollander then compared the HLF case – brought against a handful of men with documented and recorded connections to Hamas – to the mass internment of 117,000 Japanese American men, women and children during World War II.

The current campaign would settle for a sentencing commutation, essentially freeing the men on time served. The sentences, from 15 to 65 years in prison, were overly harsh, advocates say.

But the Fifth Circuit had considered this, too, rejecting defense department arguments. Its ruling noted that the probation office’s presentence recommendations included significant terrorism enhancements because HLF gave money to Hamas “in order to rid Palestine of the Jewish people through violent jihad, HAMAS’ mission.”

It added that “the trial was replete with evidence to satisfy application of the terrorism enhancement because of the defendants’ intent to support Hamas. The Hamas charter clearly delineated the goal of meeting the Palestinian/Israeli conflict with violent jihad and the rejection of peace efforts and compromise solutions. The defendants knew that they were supporting Hamas, as there was voluminous evidence showing their close ties to the Hamas movement.”

Those claiming the HLF defendants suffered an injustice, or that they somehow deserve relief, lie about this record or pretend it does not exist. To acknowledge reality is to shatter their own argument, or to come clean about their true feelings about Hamas terrorism. They know that’s a losing hand. It’s something Shukri Abu Baker talked about in that 1993 Philadelphia meeting.

They need to mislead people if they are going to be successful, Baker said.

“War is deception,” he said. “Deceive, camouflage, pretend that you’re leaving while you’re walking that way … Deceive your enemy.”

Because Nothing Says ‘I CAIR’ Like a Pardon

cair-pleaNational Review, by Andrew C. McCarthy, January 18, 2017:

Thinking about what else could happen in the next 48 hours?

The Investigative Project on Terrorism reports that CAIR (the Council on America-Islamic Relations) is leading a furious lobbying campaign by Islamists in the U.S. to persuade President Obama to free the five Hamas operatives convicted in the Holy Land Foundation case.

Isn’t that rich?

The HLF prosecution is the most significant terrorism financing case the Justice Department has ever done. Hamas, a designated terrorist organization under federal law, is the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. In the HLF case, the government proved not only that leading Islamist organizations in America were helping the Brotherhood transmit millions of dollars overseas to Hamas; prosecutors further demonstrated – using the Brotherhood’s own internal memoranda – that the Brotherhood saw its mission in the United States as “a grand jihad to eliminate and destroy Western civilization from within.”

In this grand jihad, the Brotherhood was in cahoots with these leading Islamist organizations, many of which had roots in the Brotherhood. One of these was … CAIR.

Indeed, Hamas and Brotherhood activists created CAIR in 1993-94 because they realized they needed an organization with legal know-how and media polish to advance the Islamist agenda. Having studied the United States (in a way that we resist studying radical Islam), they also realized that if they labeled their new creation a Muslim “civil rights” organization, the media would play along – CAIR would be lauded as a social justice warrior rather than revealed as a jihadist mouthpiece.

So CAIR was shown to be an unindicted co-conspirator in the HLF case. After the convictions of the five HLF officials in 2008, however, the incoming Obama administration opted against prosecuting CAIR and the other Islamist organizations that had assisted the conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization. In fact, early in his administration, Obama proclaimed his commitment “to working with American Muslims to ensure that they can fulfill zakat.”

As I explained at the time, zakat is often misleadingly translated as “charitable giving” by commentators and government officials. Actually, it is the fortification of the ummah (the notional worldwide Muslim community). Under classic sharia, zakat may only be contributed to Muslims. There are eight categories of permissible zakat recipients; one is Muslims who are fighting in jihad operations. (See the ancient sharia manual Reliance of the Traveller, sec. h8.17: “Zakat: 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[.]”)

I assume the president was simply uninformed about Islamic law – although this is Obama we’re talking about, so maybe it’s that he figures he knows more about how it should be construed than anyone on earth, including those who’ve spent their lives immersed in it. But Islamists would interpret his stated commitment to “ensure that they can fulfill zakat” as ensuring that they could do what the HLF defendants were convicted of doing: providing material support to terrorists. To Islamists, the five HLF convicts have been stuck serving between 15- and 65-year prison sentences for something they believe Obama has said should not be a crime in the first place.

Following the HLF convictions, it was reported that the Obama Justice Department had blocked prosecutions against a top CAIR official and leaders of other Brotherhood-tied organizations.

And now CAIR is pushing for the HLF defendants to be released from their very lengthy sentences. The Islamists’ narrative, as the Investigative Project explains, is that these Hamas operatives are really victims of, yes, “anti-Muslim hysteria.”

It’s a shrewd campaign. The Obama administration has been wholesale onboard the anti-anti-jihad bandwagon since day-one, and it often spouts the anti-Muslim hysteria party line. The administration has championed the Muslim Brotherhood; worked with Islamist governments to restrict American free speech rights (regarding criticism of Islam); armed and trained militias in Libya and Syria that were threaded with jihadists; and colluded with the Islamist government of Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan – a Muslim Brotherhood backer who is among the world’s leading supporters of Hamas. As illustrated by the administration’s shameful orchestration last month of an anti-Israel resolution at the U.N. Security Council, Obama is sympathetic to the hard left’s view that Palestinian terrorists are not really terrorists – they are members of “political organizations” whose regrettable brutality is best understood as “resistance” to “occupation.”

If he were to release the Hamas convicts from the HLF case, Obama would (again) be a hero to both Islamists and leftists. He would simultaneously enrage national-security conservatives in the United States and the Israeli government.

In other words, he’d be doing what he’s done for eight years.

Also see:

A Last, Desperate Plea to Excuse Hamas Support

cair-plea

IPT News
January 12, 2017

As President Obama’s tenure reaches its final days, Islamists in the United States are waging a furious lobbying campaign aimed at securing the freedom of five men convicted of illegally routing millions of dollars to Hamas.

An open campaign urges the president to pardon five former officials from the defunct, Texas-based Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), casting them as victims of “anti-Muslim hysteria” triggered by the 9/11 attacks. In 2008, a jury convicted the five – Shukri Abu Baker, Ghassan Elashi, Mohammed El-Mezain, Abdulrahman Odeh and Mufid Abdulqader – of using a network of Palestinian charities controlled by Hamas to funneling money to the terrorist group.

It is not clear whether the requests to pardon the five, or to commute their sentences and release them from prison, is being considered seriously. Obama’s pardons thus far involved somewhat less serious crimes including fraud, embezzlement and non-violent drug offenses.

But advocates are pushing social media campaigns and online petitions aimed at securing a pardon, or, short of that, a commutation of the five men’s sentences to set them free. The campaign also has enlisted support from at least one member of Congress.

Left unspoken is an undeniable truth behind the pardon/commutation campaign, and behind any ongoing defense of the Holy Land Foundation: Advocates do not believe Hamas support is wrong.

The Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA) is leading the charge, supported by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and pro-Palestinian groups.

CAIR’s appeal provided a White House switchboard number for supporters to call and request commutations. Some sites even include contact information for key members of Congress, urging supporters to emphasize the “cruelly disproportionate” length of sentences – from a low of 15 years for El-Mezain, to 65-year terms for Baker and Elashi.

CAIR’s Arizona director Imraan Siddiqui described the prosecution as “a political lynching of charity workers … Its effects still haunt American Muslims.”

After reviewing the entire record in 2011, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals saw it quite differently.

Pleas from the MLFA and Siddiqi ignore the exhibits – many of them internal HLF and related documents – showing the family ties between some defendants and Hamas leaders, a reliance on Hamas officials to speak at HLF fundraisers along with other, consistent pro-Hamas messages.

In addition, records show, HLF (formerly known as the Occupied Land Fund) was part of a network called the “Palestine Committee” in the United States. That committee answered to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s mandate that global chapters create “Palestine Committees” in their home countries. Their task was “to support Hamas from abroad,” the Fifth Circuit noted in upholding the convictions and sentences. In the United States, that task fell in part to Hamas political leader Mousa Abu Marzook, who helped create HLF and two other branches – a propaganda wing known as the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP) and a think-tank called the United Association for Studies and Research (UASR).

CAIR was added to the Palestine Committee after its 1994 founding.

“The evidence showed that the long-standing connection between HLF and Hamas began in the late 1980s when HLF arose as a fundraising arm for the Palestine Committee …” the appeals court ruling said. “This fact was notably evident from the … [internal Palestine Committee] documents, which showed that HLF was created along with the IAP.” In addition, Palestine Committee bylaws “specifically recognized HLF as ‘the official organization for fundraising.'”

HLF apologists claim the group was merely interested in helping needy widows and orphans. But, the court pointed out, the orphans included Yehia Ayyash’s children. Ayyash was Hamas’s top bomb maker, nicknamed “The Engineer,” before being killed by Israel.

“An audio tape from 1996 that was seized from HLF’s offices contained songs praising Hamas and discussions of suicide bombers as heroes,” the ruling said.

“We believe that a jury could not help but infer from the above evidence that the defendants had a close association with Hamas and that HLF acted to fund Hamas both before and after Hamas’s designation as a terrorist organization.”

Still, CAIR’s Texas chapter called the five convicted HLF officials “humanitarians,” and described their imprisonment as “an immense wrong.” It cited defense attorney Nancy Hollander’s claim that there was no evidence showing her client, HLF executive director Shukri Abu Baker, breaking the law. “Not a word from his lips that he hated Jews. Not a word from his lips that he supported Hamas. These were fictions,” Hollander said.

That cannot be said for Mufid Abdulqader, who performed and acted in a singing troupe that helped raise money for HLF at IAP events. In this video, admitted into evidence during the 2008 trial, he is shown wearing camouflage and a kaffiyeh as he sings, “I am Hamas, O dear ones … I swear to wipe out the name of the Zionist. And protect my land, Palestine.” Then, he pretends to strangle an actor portraying an Israeli.

Hollander failed to mention that Baker ran HLF and was responsible for who spoke and what was said at its fundraisers. Those events routinely featured Hamas leaders and activists. She also neglected to mention her client’s participation in a secret 1993 Philadelphia gathering of Hamas members and supporters who schemed about how to “derail” the U.S.-brokered Oslo peace accord without coming off looking like terror supporters.

It was Baker who set a key ground rule for the talks, which were secretly recorded and translated by the FBI: No one should mention Hamas by name, he instructed. Instead, call it “Sister Samah,” which is Hamas spelled backward.

The gathering, Baker said, was “a joint workshop between the Holy Land Foundation and the IAP.” Participants should not mention Hamas by name.

Hollander then compared the HLF case – brought against a handful of men with documented and recorded connections to Hamas – to the mass internment of 117,000 Japanese American men, women and children during World War II.

The current campaign would settle for a sentencing commutation, essentially freeing the men on time served. The sentences, from 15 to 65 years in prison, were overly harsh, advocates say.

But the Fifth Circuit had considered this, too, rejecting defense department arguments. Its ruling noted that the probation office’s presentence recommendations included significant terrorism enhancements because HLF gave money to Hamas “in order to rid Palestine of the Jewish people through violent jihad, HAMAS’ mission.”

It added that “the trial was replete with evidence to satisfy application of the terrorism enhancement because of the defendants’ intent to support Hamas. The Hamas charter clearly delineated the goal of meeting the Palestinian/Israeli conflict with violent jihad and the rejection of peace efforts and compromise solutions. The defendants knew that they were supporting Hamas, as there was voluminous evidence showing their close ties to the Hamas movement.”

Those claiming the HLF defendants suffered an injustice, or that they somehow deserve relief, lie about this record or pretend it does not exist. To acknowledge reality is to shatter their own argument, or to come clean about their true feelings about Hamas terrorism. They know that’s a losing hand. It’s something Shukri Abu Baker talked about in that 1993 Philadelphia meeting.

They need to mislead people if they are going to be successful, Baker said.

“War is deception,” he said. “Deceive, camouflage, pretend that you’re leaving while you’re walking that way … Deceive your enemy.”

Funding Terrorism – The Buck Stops Here

funding-terrorism

by Patrick Dunleavy
IPT News
December 6, 2016

“Follow the money” – that fundamental rule for investigating organized crime – also holds true for uncovering terrorist organizations. But if the search leads to your own doorstep, immediate and decisive action must be taken.

This may be the case for the U.S. government in light of recent statements by Mahmoud Abbas, the current president of the Palestinian Authority. The 81-year-old Abbas, who has been president since 2005, is calling for unifying the Fatah party government with Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip. President Bill Clinton’s executive order first labeled Hamas as a foreign terrorist organization in 1995.

Hamas was included among terrorist groups whose “grave acts of violence … disrupt the Middle East peace process [and] constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.”

The State Department followed that up by labeling Hamas as a foreign terrorist organization in 1997. Those actions make it prohibited by law for any U.S. citizen to provide material support, including currency, to the organization. That means that if you or I gave a dollar to them or their pseudo charities, we can go to prison.

The U.S. provides approximately $400 million annually to the Palestinian Authority (PA). That support cannot continue legally if the PA unites with Hamas,  unless two critical conditions are met. First, Hamas would have to recognize “the Jewish state of Israel’s right to exist.” And second, just as crucial, Hamas must accept all previously negotiated Israeli-Palestinian agreements.

Under its current charter – which calls for Israel’s destruction – this will never happen. Hamas is an Islamic organization, formed in 1987 as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood by a group of men including radical Islamic cleric Sheik Ahmed Yassin.  Its very name is an acronym, Ḥarakat al-Muqāwamah al-ʾIslāmiyyah, for the Islamic Resistance Movement. Hamas wants a fundamentalist Islamic state on the very land allotted to the nation of Israel by the United Nations in 1948.

Since its formation, Hamas has been responsible for suicide bombings, rocket attacks, and other heinous acts resulting in the deaths of innocent men, women, and children. It has also stolen (or re-directed) funds and support provided by the United Nations relief organizations and other charities intended to help the people of Gaza rebuild. Hamas has used the materials to build tunnels, buy weapons and construct military installations used to attack Israel.

Do we really think that they would not be able to siphon off money from the funds the U.S. provides to the Palestinian Authority if an alliance government is formed? That would be foolish naiveté and dangerous diplomacy.

In combating terrorist organizations like al-Qaida, ISIS, and Al Shabaab, counter terrorism experts strive to cut off funding to these groups. That’s because if you cut off the finances, the organizations will not be able to reconstitute or recruit. Giving them a handout or opening another spigot from which they could water the fertile soil of jihad is counter to the goal of eliminating the threat posed to Western democracies by radical Islam.

Having just gone through eight years of an administration that refused to use the term “radical Islamism” when discussing terrorism, the U.S. must say “NO” to the Palestinian Authority/Hamas alliance. Otherwise we will find ourselves, the U.S. taxpayers, providing material support to a radical Islamic terrorist organization. Enough with the handouts. The buck stops here.

IPT Senior Fellow Patrick Dunleavy is the former Deputy Inspector General for New York State Department of Corrections and author of The Fertile Soil of Jihad. He currently teaches a class on terrorism for the United States Military Special Operations School.

Hamas Funding Sources Drying Up

f1by Yaakov Lappin
Special to IPT News
November 14, 2016

Hamas in Gaza is facing an acute financial crisis as its overseas cash sources dry up. This is forcing the Islamist regime and its armed terrorist wing, the Izzadin Al-Qassam Brigades, to resort to increasingly desperate measures, such as using international aid organizations to funnel cash away from Gazan civilians.

Hamas’s dire financial situation has multiple causes. Egypt has effectively blocked off many smuggling tunnels linking Gaza to Sinai, which previously were used to transfer money into Gaza from Hamas donors.

Additionally, Hamas finds itself without a clear international backer these days. Not only is Egypt under the rule of President Sisi decidedly hostile, but relations between Hamas and Iran are unstable, rising and falling periodically due to disagreement over conflict raging in Syria.

Iran provides Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad with military support through its own generals, and thousands of assistance fighters from its Lebanese terror proxy Hizballah. Palestinians generally oppose the Assad regime.

Nevertheless, Iran sometimes does try to smuggle money to Hamas, but this source of funding is unreliable.

Qatar’s financial aid to Gaza has, since the 2014 Israel-Hamas war, been limited to civilian reconstruction programs. Here, too, Hamas has gotten involved, seized apartment buildings to use as financial assets.

Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman told the Israeli Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee late last month that sources of outside funding for Hamas are drying up.

Recent revelations by Israel’s domestic intelligence agency, the Shin Bet, confirm this situation.

In August, the Shin Bet revealed that Hamas had been targeting international aid organization operating in Gaza, rerouting money intended for humanitarian assistance towards preparations for war with Israel.

For example, Hamas stole 60 percent of the annual budget of the World Vision international air organization, stealing 7.2 million dollars a year from it, according to the Shin Bet. Money intended to feed and help Gazan children instead went towards purchasing weapons, building bases, and digging attack tunnels.

The theft went as far as taking thousands of food packages intended for Gazan civilians and sending them to armed members of Hamas territorial battalions, according to the Shin Bet investigation.

World Vision responded by firing 120 Gaza employees.

Also in August, Israel charged an engineer from Gaza with exploiting his position in the United Nations Development Program, which rebuilds damaged residential buildings, for rerouting 300 tons of construction material to help build a Hamas naval terrorist base.

On Nov. 1, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) exposed a Hamas plan to smuggle money to its operatives in Israeli prisons, and to its West Bank terror cells, by forcing Palestinians who have travel papers allowing them into Israel to act as cash smugglers.

Two Hamas operatives targeted Gazan civilians at a border crossing on their way to Israel for business or medical treatment, said the IDF’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai.

In July, the Shin Bet arrested two Gazans with tens of thousands of dollars hidden in their shoes. They were under Hamas orders to transfer the cash to operatives in the West Bank to fund terrorist attacks. Hamas intelligence agents had been approaching Gazan civilians systematically for money smuggling purposes, Shin Bet said.

Hamas’s financial situation is part of a larger ticking bomb that is the Gazan economy. “The whole of the Gaza Strip is in economic-civilian distress,” Liberman told Knesset.

Noting that 95 percent of Gaza’s civilian economic funding come from the international community, Liberman said Israel faced a structural tension between its wish to improve the living conditions of ordinary Gazans and the attempts by Hamas to exploit Israel’s humanitarian steps. Hamas has stolen construction material, injected into Gaza by Israel for civilian reconstruction, to build itself up militarily, Liberman said.

According to Liberman, as part of its bid to keep money from the international community pouring into Gaza’s economy, Hamas also refuses to resolve crises. For example, it did not take link up Gaza’s purification plant, paid for by the World Bank (and costing $100 million), to the electric grid, despite the fact that Israel approved a unique electrical supply to it, Liberman added.

Meanwhile, more than 90 percent of Gaza’s water is unfit for consumption, and it will take at least two years for the international community to set up desalination plants on Gaza’s coastline. A water crisis will likely strike Gaza long before that, Liberman said. Israel is formulating a water crisis response policy.

The warning signs from Gaza’s economic situation continue to mount, driven by Hamas’s insistence of using the enclave as a fortress of jihadist hostility towards Israel and ignoring its peoples’ basic needs.

Hamas’s 26,000 armed members, and 40,000 government employees receive their salaries, and the regime is building up its armed forces despite the cash shortages. Ordinary Gazans, on the other hand, are on their own.

Yaakov Lappin is a military and strategic affairs correspondent. He also conducts research and analysis for defense think tanks, and is
the Israel correspondent for IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly. His book, The Virtual Caliphate, explores the online jihadist presence.

Raids, Arrests Show 9/11’s Lessons Are Global

notre

by Abigail R. Esman
Special to IPT News
September 12, 2016

They are known as “the 102 minutes that changed America.”  Fifteen years later, it is increasingly clear that the 102 minutes of the Sept. 11 attacks also reshaped and changed the world.

Indeed perhaps even more than Americans, Europeans now feel the strongest aftershocks, having been shaken by more than 10 Islamist terror strikes in the past 20 months alone.

Hence as America commemorates the 15th anniversary of 9/11, several European countries are intensifying their intelligence activity. In the process, they are discovering more and more terror cells, resulting in multiple arrests Europe-wide just this past week. More are likely to come, particularly in France and Belgium, judging from a recent CNN report which found that the plotters of the Nov. 13 Paris attacks had intended them “to be far worse, to occur in other European countries as well, and, investigators believe, had planned to follow them up with strikes in several locations.”

CNN also uncovered signs that ISIS was planning to increase its activity in the UK – which may explain the Sept. 8 arrests  of two West London men suspected of preparing an act of terrorism and funding terrorist activity. A third man arrested in East London the same day was also taken into custody on another terror-related charge. The arrests follow other raids in Birmingham and Stoke in late August, in which four men were taken into custody on charges of planning a terrorist attack.

But ISIS is doing more than planning attacks. It appears also to be exploring new strategies and weapons, according to the 17-year-old son of Belgian imam Shayh Alami. The boy has called for the death of Christians in the past.  After his arrest late last month, according to the Mirror, the youth (who has not been named) told police that the terrorist group has begun inciting a kind of Islamist chainsaw massacre, encouraging its European followers to take chainsaws to Christians in shopping centers.

And in France, four days after a car loaded with gas cylinders was spotted parked near Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, police arrested three women, ages 19, 23, and 39, also on charges of planning a terrorist attack. The arrests, which coincidentally also took place on Sept. 8, soon led to the arrests of four other suspected “radical Islamists,” according to the prosecutor’s office. At least one of the three women, Ines Madani, reportedly wrote a letter pledging allegiance to the Islamic State and spoke on the phone about plots to bomb Paris train stations. Hence, while the parked car appeared rigged to explode, the New York Times reports, officials clearly found its presence suspicious. In short time, they traced its ties to that phone conversation: the car belongs to Madani’s father.

Further investigation also showed that the group planned attacks on police in what French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve described as “new and, moreover, imminent violent actions.”

Apparently, they weren’t the only ones: On Sept. 11, French authorities also arrested a 15-year-old boy on suspicion of preparing “imminent and violent action.” Like the women arrested previously, the boy is believed to have had contact with suspected ISIS militant Rashid Kasheem, who is French. Kasheem is now in Syria, but has regularly called for attacks in France, LeMonde reports.

Not all the activity in Europe of late has been directly related to attacks, however. Among the lessons learned from 9/11 is the importance of terror finance and the insidious methods through which money is transferred to support terrorist groups worldwide.

Tracing those connections remains crucial to counterterrorist intelligence, which explains why Dutch officials last week raided two mosques and several private homes: the mosques and their imams are suspected of laundering money through at least 10 charities.  Those charities, the Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD) believes, help fund other organizations that, in turn, provide financial support to terrorist groups in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and the Ukraine. According to a FIOD statement, financial transfers to the mosques and the charitable organizations come not only from the Netherlands, but from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.

In addition, FIOD asserts, “One of the suspect foundations has received a transfer of hundreds of thousands of euros from a charitable organization from the Middle East which is connected to a charity that the US has placed on a list of sanctioned groups.”

The suspects, believed to be Ahmad Salam, his son Suhayb Salam, another (unnamed) son and a fourth party, are also said to have connections to Kuwait’s Revival of Islamic Heritage Society (RIHS), which the U.S. Treasury Department designated in 2008 “for providing financial and material support to Al Qaida and Al Qaida affiliates and supporting terrorism.”

Both mosques, the Al-Fitra mosque in Utrecht and As-Sunnah mosque in Tilburg, have come under fire in the past for preaching Salafism, the extremist form of Islam that some European countries – including the Netherlands – have discussed banning. Last December, Utrecht’s mayor also expressed concern about the influence the Al Fitra mosque and Suhayb Salam, its imam, were having on members, and the mosque’s alleged efforts to turn Dutch Muslim children against Dutch society. And in 2013, both As-Sunnah and Ahmad Salam were investigated on charges of abusing and beating children during Quran lessons – accusations Salam strongly denied.

But there is this that can be said about what has changed because of 9/11: we know more about radical Islam. We know more about what is needed to defend ourselves against it, and to fight it where it rises. The raids and plots of these past few weeks confirm that point. The threat may be greater now, but we are far better prepared than we were on that bright September day to fight it.  And we will.

Abigail R. Esman, the author, most recently, of Radical State: How Jihad Is Winning Over Democracy in the West (Praeger, 2010), is a freelance writer based in New York and the Netherlands.

Social Media Emerges as a Valuable Terrorist Fundraising Tool

by Abha Shankar
IPT News
April 20, 2016

1493Social media has emerged as a valuable and effective fundraising tool for terrorist groups. The Internet’s easy access and relative anonymity allows terrorist groups to solicit online donations from both supporters and unsuspecting donors who believe they are supporting a humanitarian or charitable activity.

On March 22, for example, the Nafir al Aqsa (Mobilizing for Al-Aqsa) Campaign “to equip the mujahidin of Beit al Maqdis [Jerusalem],” posted (and suspended in the past day) a solicitation for funding under the Twitter handle @Nafeer_aqsa100. It cites a hadith – a saying attributed to Islam’s prophet Muhammad – that giving money to those waging jihad is as good as doing it yourself.

1494Translation:

Nafir al Aqsa Campaign

To equip the Mujahdin of Beit al Maqdis

Equip a Mujahid

2,500 Dollars

Kalashnikov

Ammunition vest

Military clothing

Ammunition

Military boots

The Messenger of God (May God bless him and grant him peace) said: “Whoever equips a warrior in the way of God has himself fought, and he who supplies the needs of the family of a warrior has himself fought.”

The post lists a Telegram account “Nafeeraq” and email Nafeeraq@tutanota.de to contact the campaign.

Another post from March 23 (also suspended in the past day) solicits funds for jihad, listing the prices of a sniper weapon ($6,000), a grenade thrower RPG ($3,000), and PK machine gun ($5,500).

1495The solicitation campaign cites a statement from bin Laden: “I urge the youth and the sincere traders to seize this opportunity and undertake this sublime task of defending this religion and salvage this Ummah by supporting this Jihad and their properties and by exhorting and fighting against our enemies, especially in Palestine and Iraq.”

1496The Nafir al Aqsa campaign also solicits funds on YouTube.

1497In an April 2015 post, the Twitter handle @7sanaabil belonging to a Chechen jihadist group Jaish alMuhajireen wal-Ansar (“The Army of the Mujahidin and Ansar”) based in Aleppo, Syria, solicited donations for “Arming-Medical-Relief-Sponsorship” and “sponsorship of the families of martyrs.” The fundraising campaign uses Whatsapp and Telegram – mobile apps to receive and send text messages – to communicate instructions for transferring money. Jaish alMuhajireen wal-Ansar has pledged allegiance to al-Qaida’s Syria branch, the al Nusra Front.

An Aug. 21 post by @7sanaabil claims that “Jihad for money” trumps the interpretation of jihad in the Quran as a struggle for self improvement.

A recent report by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental money laundering and terrorism financing watchdog, underscores the widespread use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Whatsapp, Skype, and Telegram by terrorist groups and their financial facilitators to coordinate “large-scale and well-organized fundraising schemes” involving thousands of “sponsors” raising “significant amounts of cash.”

The challenge in slowing online fundraising “in an era when social media allows anyone with an Internet connection to set himself up as an international terrorist financier” was further highlighted by then-Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence and now CIA Deputy Director David Cohen in a March 2014 address before the Center for New American Security: “We see this activity most prominently in Kuwait and Qatar, where fundraisers aggressively solicit donations online from supporters in other countries, notably Saudi Arabia, which have banned unauthorized fundraising campaigns for Syria.”

A fundraising campaign tied to the al Nusra Front and led by Saudi Sheikh Abdullah Mhesne used the Twitter handle “Jhad_bmalk” to call for contributions “to support the Islamic battalions” by invoking passage 47:38 from the Quran: “Behold, you are those invited to spend in the way of Allah; but among you are some that are niggardly. But any who are niggardly are so at the expense of their own souls.”

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Obama White House Turns To Islamists Who Demonize Terror Investigations

by John Rossomando
IPT News
December 28, 2015

Jihadist attacks in San Bernardino and Paris have Americans on edge. Yet part of the Obama White House’s response to the attacks has been to invite Islamist groups that routinely demonize the FBI and other law-enforcement agencies to the White House to discuss a religious discrimination. “If we’re to succeed in defeating terrorism we must enlist Muslim communities as some of our strongest allies, rather than push them away,” President Obama said in his speech following the San Bernardino attack.

But partnering with such organizations sends the wrong message to the American people, said Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AFID).

“I think it says a lot when the president uses those organizations that have an ACLU-type mentality. They should have a seat at the table. That’s fine,” Jasser said.  “But not to include groups, which have completely different focuses about counter-radicalization, counter-Islamism creates this monolithic megaphone for demonization of our government and demonization of America that ends up radicalizing our community.”

A White House spokesperson acknowledged to the Investigative Project on Terrorism that the Dec. 14 meeting on countering anti-Muslim animus included Hassan Shibly, executive director of Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) Florida chapter. The same forum – attended by Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett and Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes – also included Farhana Khera, president and executive director of Muslim Advocates; Maya Berry, executive director of the Arab-American Institute (AAI); Mohamed Magid, imam of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS); and Hoda Hawa, director of policy and advocacy with the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) among others.

The White House guests, or the organizations they represent, have long histories of criticizing counter-terror investigations. CAIR leads the pack. Its Philadelphia chapter is advertising a workshop, “The FBI and Entrapment in the Muslim Community,” which features a spider with an FBI badge on its back, spinning a web of entrapment around an image of a mosque. The workshop “provides the tools needed to prevent entrapment of community members to become terrorists in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

Since 9/11, CAIR has repeatedly taken the side of defendants accused of financing or plotting attacks, calling their prosecutions a “witch hunt” against the Muslim community.  For example, CAIR denounced the prosecution of Sami Al-Arian, who turned out to be the secretary of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s governing board, as “politically motivated” and a result of the “Israelization of American policy and procedures.”

A year ago, CAIR similarly protested the incarceration of Aafia Siddiqui, aka “Lady Al Qaeda” – convicted in 2010 of trying to kill two FBI agents. The protest came after the Islamic State (ISIS) offered to spare the lives of executed American photojournalist James Foley and aid worker Kayla Mueller in exchange for Siddiqui’s release.

CAIR also denounced the December 2001 shutdown of the Holy Land Foundation for Hamas support, saying, “…there has been a shift from a war on terrorism to an attack on Islam.”

Demonizing law enforcement and spreading “the idea that America and Western societies [are] anti-Muslim – the whole Islamophobia mantra is part of the early steps of radicalization so that Muslims get separated out of society,” Jasser said. “These groups certainly aren’t on the violent end of the Islamist continuum, but if there’s a conveyer belt that goes towards radicalization then it certainly starts with this siege and separatist mentality.”

CAIR has used such inflammatory imagery and rhetoric for years, with its San Francisco chapter removing a poster urging Muslims to “Build a Wall of Resistance – Don’t Talk to the FBI” in 2011 after the IPT reported on it.

Later that year, a CAIR-New York official told a Muslim audience that FBI agents would break the law to force them to talk. That includes threats and “blackmail, seriously blackmail; that’s illegal,” Lamis Deek told the audience. “But they’ll do it.”

Jasser blames CAIR and others which spread similar rhetoric for the increased fear of Islam and Muslims in America since 9/11 because they refuse to discuss Islamic extremism and the role Muslims have in fixing the problem.

1324“This creates a climate where people don’t trust us to be part of the solution,” Jasser said. “People say that if you aren’t part of the solution then you are part of the problem, which creates more fear and distrust.”

Neither Jasser nor the AIFD, which advocates for “liberty and freedom, through the separation of mosque and state,” were invited to the White House meeting. Also shut out were Jasser’s colleagues in the new Muslim Reform Movement, whose members “reject interpretations of Islam that call for any violence, social injustice and politicized Islam” and stand “for secular governance, democracy and liberty. Every individual has the right to publicly express criticism of Islam. Ideas do not have rights. Human beings have rights.”

The White House did not reply to a request for comment about Jasser’s characterization of these groups; however, it previously said it engaged CAIR because of “their work on civil rights issues” despite the group’s Hamas ties.

Former FBI Associate Deputy Director Buck Revell also finds the White House’s choice of Muslim groups troubling.

“It’s a very confusing time and circumstance when you have the White House dealing with people who have fronted for the Muslim Brotherhood and are the spokespeople for Hamas in the United States and you bring them in for a conference at the White House and say they are supposed to speak for the Muslim community in America,” Revell said. “It’s unhelpful to have the White House essentially fronting for groups that want to make it harder to reach the jihadists in our society and in effect flush them out.”

Khera’s group Muslim Advocates has a pending lawsuit against the New York Police Department regarding its surveillance of mosques and other Islamic institutions using undercover police officers and informants.

“One of our key priorities at Muslim Advocates is ending racial and religious profiling by law enforcement,” Khera says in a YouTube video supporting the suit. “We’ve done work to combat profiling by the FBI, by Customs and Border Protection and now more recently we’ve had concerns about the way the New York Police Department – the nation’s largest police department – has been conducting itself.”

Like CAIR, Khera has called the FBI’s sting operations and informants against potential jihadists “entrapment operations” that rope in individuals who might otherwise never engage in terrorist activity.

CAIR’s Shibly also used the entrapment narrative in a June 2014 blog post in which he argued that the “FBI entrapment program targeting the Muslim community” was an example of tyranny. Many other CAIR representatives, such as Michigan director Dawud Walid, previously alleged the FBI has “recruited more so-called extremist Muslims than al-Qaida themselves.”

AAI stops short of embracing the entrapment narrative but labels surveillance programs by the NYPD and other government agencies “unconstitutional, ineffective, and counterproductive.” New York’s Mayor Bill De Blasio disbanded the NYPD unit responsible for infiltrating the city’s mosques and Muslim gathering places looking for potential terrorists in April 2014 under pressure from Muslim groups.

Another group, the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA), which counts Magid as a member, published an article in 2008 written by Hatem al-Haj, a member of its fatwa committee, giving religious justification for not cooperating with authorities. Al-Haj wrote it was “impermissible” for Muslims to work with the FBI because of the “harm they inflict on Muslims.”

However, the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), which formerly accused the FBI of entrapment, conceded in 2013 that informants can be useful detecting terror cells and keeping them off balance.

“To be fair, informants at times can be effective in counterterrorism investigations even against cellular structures. Because terrorist groups are concerned about their operational security, fear of informants can create and increase tensions within a terrorist cell. As a result, it may generate enough paranoia that a cell may abandon a planned operation,” MPAC said in its 2013 report “Building Bridges to Strengthen America.”

Looking for jihadis before they strike is a bit like looking for a “needle in a haystack,” so sting operations are useful in finding them before it’s too late, according to Revell.  He says such operations can be useful in preventing the next San Bernardino.

“If you don’t find them when they are talking jihad and you have to wait until they take an action then it’s too late to be able to prevent casualties and ensure that the public is safe,” Revell said. “There certainly is knowledge among those looking to do any type of jihadi activity that there is a force out there that is countering them and that they need to try to cover their activities to the greatest extent possible.”

In the past year, the Islamic State (ISIS) has published at least two documents instructing its jihadis how to evade being lured into stings by the FBI or other law-enforcement agencies.  The ISIS manual “Safety and Security guidelines of the Lone Wolf Mujahideen” devotes a chapter to evading FBI stings by testing the weapons they receive prior to using them in an attack.

Khera’s organization stood front and center in 2011 when Muslim groups called on the Obama administration to purge FBI training materials that they deemed offensive.  Shecomplained in a Sept. 15, 2011 letter that counterterrorism materials then being used to train FBI agents about Islam used “woefully misinformed statements about Islam and bigoted stereotypes about Muslims.” Such allegedly misinformed statements included characterizing zakat – the almsgiving tax mandate on all Muslims – as a “funding mechanism for combat” and that “Accommodation and compromise between [Islam and the West] are impermissible and fighting [for Muslims] is obligatory.”

Yet numerous Muslim commentators, including from the Herndon, Va.-based International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT), describe zakat as a funding mechanism for jihad. A footnote for Surah 9:60 found in “The Meaning of the Holy Qur’an” published with editorial assistance from IIIT, says that zakat can be used among other things to help “(4) those who are struggling and striving in Allah’s Cause by teaching or fighting or in duties assigned to them by the righteous Imam, who are thus unable to earn their ordinary living.”

The AMJA issued a fatwa in August 2011 stating that zakat could be used to “support legitimate Jihad activities.”

Top Muslim Brotherhood ideologue Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi similarly states in his book, Fiqh of Jihad, that zakat may be spent to finance “the liberation of Muslim land from the domination of the unbelievers,” particularly against Israel and India in Kashmir.

Numerous Islamic charities have been cited or closed down in connection with terrorist financing since the September 11 attacks. Qaradawi’s actions back up his words. In 2008, the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned the Union of Good, a network of charities headed by Qaradawi, for Hamas fundraising. That same year a federal court jury convicted the founders of the Richardson, Texas-based Holy Land Foundation (HLF) for illegally financing Hamas.

“The government’s policy has inflicted considerable harm,” MPAC’s Salam al-Marayatiwrote in 2001 after federal authorities closed the Benevolence International Fund (BIF). “By effectively shutting down these charities, it has given Americans the false impression that American Muslims are supporting terrorists. It has also given the Muslim world a similarly false impression that America is intolerant of a religious minority.”

Representatives of MPAC, CAIR and Muslim Advocates each condemned the HLF prosecution or its subsequent verdict.

In the end, the White House’s decision to empower these groups sends a mixed message to the American people that it isn’t fully interested in rooting out the causes of jihadist terror and preventing future attacks.

Foreign Terrorist Fighters Pose Domestic Risk, Finance Jihad

ftfCSP, 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.

Also see:

Turkey-based Hamas Leader Well Known to US Law Enforcement

IPT News
December 19, 2014

1105It has been a busy year of plotting death and destruction for Hamas leadership. As we noted Thursday, Hamas has three key operating bases in three separate locations – Gaza, Qatar and Turkey.

The Turkish operation may be the most active in plotting terror attacks. And the man who runs that base, Saleh Al-Arouri, has risen to prominence as a result. Al-Arouri has been linked to a series of terrorist plots and attacks primarily aimed at West Bank targets, an area where the terrorist group hopes to regain strength and popular support.

As a new Investigative Project on Terrorism report on Al-Arouri shows, while his infamy may be relatively new, his efforts to help Hamas foment terror date back years and are well known among American prosecutors and investigators.

Al-Arouri is a longtime Hamas military commander who operates openly in Turkey, a NATO member country and ostensibly an ally of the United States and the West.

He was the first Hamas official to acknowledge the group’s responsibility for the June abduction and murder of three Jewish teenagers in Israel.

Naftali Fraenkel, one of the murdered teens, was a U.S. citizen. The U.S. government is authorized to investigate and prosecute murder and attempted murder of U.S. citizens committed in foreign countries under Title 18, Section 2332 of the United States Code. This statutory authority is the basis for the FBI and other federal agencies to investigate many foreign terror attacks against U.S. citizens and for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to bring U.S. criminal charges against the perpetrators of such attacks.

U.S. law allows victims of foreign terror attacks to sue those responsible. Foreign state sponsors of terrorism that are officially designated as such by the U.S. governmentalso can be civilly liable for terror actions against the U.S. Turkey, of course, is not a U.S. designated state sponsor of terrorism.

In August, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the founder and director of the Israeli NGO law center Shurat HaDin, wrote a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder requesting the U.S. government investigate, prosecute and extradite Al-Arouri from Turkey on charges related to Fraenkel’s murder.

Such legal action would not be the first time Al-Arouri’s name appeared in federal court proceedings. In 2003, three Hamas operatives were indicted in Chicago for a racketeering conspiracy. Those operatives were Hamas political leader Mousa Abu Marzook, and Chicago residents Muhammad Salah and Abdelhaleem Ashqar. Marzook was in Syria and was never tried under the indictment. Salah and Ashqar were ultimately convicted of obstruction and contempt violations and sentenced to prison terms.

Al-Arouri was named among the “Hamas Co-Conspirators” in a superseding indictment in that case. Al-Arouri was described as a high-ranking Hamas military leader dating back to his role as a Hamas student cell leader at Hebron University in the early 1990s.” He received “tens of thousands of dollars for Hamas-related activities” from Salah which were used to buy weapons for terrorist attacks, the indictment said.

In addition, Al-Arouri appears in a 1999 federal court ruling involving a civil forfeiture action against Muhammad Salah. The court order described a 1992 trip Salah took to Israel and the Palestinian territories. There, he “funneled approximately $100,000 to an alleged HAMAS operative, Salah Al-Arouri, which, according to both Salah and Al-Arouri, was used to purchase weapons. Al-Arouri allegedly admitted to Israeli officials that he gave an individual named Musa Dudin approximately $45,000 of the money he received from Salah so that Dudin could purchase weapons in September 1992. Al-Arouri further related that Dudin purchased the weapons as planned and that these weapons were subsequently used in terrorist attacks, including a suicide attack resulting in the murder of an Israeli soldier in Hebron in October 1992.”

That was among a series of terrorist attacks “supported with weapons and money provided by Al-Arouri with funds he received from Salah” that led Israel to deport 415 Hamas operatives to Lebanon in December 1992, the court ruling noted.

As mentioned, Al-Arouri operates openly in Turkey. The first statement admitting that Hamas was responsible for kidnapping Fraenkel and two other students came during an August gathering of Islamic clerics. From that base, Israeli officials say, Al-Arouri also plotted a coup against Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. If Al-Arouri succeeded, it would dramatically threaten U.S. national security interests in the region.

American law enforcement has the power to investigate Al-Arouri for killing Fraenkel, the American teenager. Failure to do so only enables his incessant plotting to kill people in Israel and, perhaps, his Palestinian foes.

Read the full report on Saleh Al-Arouri here.

Also see:

NGO Leader’s Terror Designation Looks Familiar

Judge Finds Manhattan Skyscraper Owned by Iranian Front

English: 650 Fifth Avenue in New York City

English: 650 Fifth Avenue in New York City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

by IPT News:

Terror Finance: Supporting our Own Demise: Part 1

by Samuel Westrop

Successive British governments continue to tolerate the existence of large charities that encourage and provide for Islamist terror groups. By failing to separate British Muslims from the Islamist charities that exploit them, we flatter and legitimize supporters of terrorism as humanitarians and community leaders. In the US, the charity Interpal is a proscribed organization: when you help terror groups build homes, you are also helping terror groups build bombs. In the UK, however, Interpal is a leading charity that provides support for terror groups. What is Interpal, and why isn’t the British government shutting it down?

For hundreds of years, London has mostly been a welcoming home for extremists who wished to destroy the very freedoms the city afforded them. It was here that 19th century nihilists such as Bakunin and Nechayev freely disseminated their violent ideas. In the 20th century, Soviet money seeped into our trade unions and lobbying groups. And now, today, London is a hub for Islamist and Arabist terror infrastructure. It is a city from which financial and logistical support sustains violent supremacist movements across the world. A few months ago, Lord Alton of Liverpool told the British parliament that he believed the Al Muntada Trust, a large London-based charity, is funding the Nigerian Al-Qaeda terrorist group Boko Haram[1]. The speakers at events previously hosted by Al Muntada have described Jews as the “descendants of apes and pigs” and have called for the execution of homosexuals and adulterous women[2]

We do not, however, just idly tolerate anti-Western groups in our midst and abroad; the harder truth is that government is often complicit with their activities, and when caught, our elected leaders simply refuse to discuss the facts. A recent report by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) revealed that British taxpayers are contributing towards the $4.5 million paid each month to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons, including terrorists and mass murderers. Despite the evidence gathered by PMW, the British Foreign Office continues to deny that British money is rewarding terrorism. In a letter to Robert Halfon MP, who had voiced his concern at the findings, the International Development Minister Alan Duncan wrote: “We have investigated the matter fully and can confirm that the allegations in Palestinian Media Watch’s report are both inaccurate and misleading.”[3] Duncan did not say how the report was inaccurate, and nor did he provide any sources or facts to back up his claim. As PMW sharply responded, “the general statements made by the Minister of State in his letter, which lack any sources that contradict PMW’s findings, are wrong”. [4]

This is unfortunately not the first time the British government has just rejected the accusations rather than examine the evidence. Several years ago, a report by the Taxpayers’ Alliance revealed that £100 million in British aid to Palestinian schools was funding textbooks indoctrinating children with pro-terror and anti-Jewish propaganda[5]. Similarly, rather than properly investigate, the government simply dismissed the claims as baseless. Why do politicians and the vehicles of government knowingly allow themselves to be complicit with groups that advance pro-terror and anti-Western ideas?

Look, for example, at a large organization called Interpal. Although in the UK it is a well-established charity which has enjoyed the support of leading British politicians and cabinet members, in the United States Interpal is designated a terrorist organization. What is Interpal, and why isn’t the British Government shutting it down?

imagesCA6B4V94

Read more at Gatestone Institute

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.

Another Important Victory: The Holy Land Foundation Trial Redux

Shariah Finance Watch:

Observers who follow such things know how important the Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing trial has been in uncovering the spread of both violent and civilizational jihad in the USA.

For those who may not be familiar with the Holy Land Foundation trial, here is a very brief synopsis:

The Holy Land Foundation was the largest Islamic charity in the United States. It was headquartered in Richardson, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. In 2007, federal prosecutors brought charges against the organization for funding Hamas and other Islamic terrorist organizations. The Holy Land Foundation’s assets were frozen by the European Union and U.S., and the charity was shut down by the U.S. government following the discovery that it was funding Hamas. The 2008 trial of the charity leaders was the largest terrorism financing prosecution in American history. In 2009, the founders of the organization were given life sentences for funneling $12 million to Hamas.

Much was uncovered during the investigation associated with the prosecution, including the extent to which the Muslim Brotherhood had infiltrated America and controlled all of the major Muslim organizations in America, to include the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). Several such organizations and individuals were named as unindicted co-conspirators in the trial and it was the reported intention of the Dallas US attorney’s office to prosecute at least some of those co-conspirators before Barack Obama ascended to the presidency and Eric Holder became attorney general and shut the whole operation down.

Nevertheless, Holder was too late to save the Holy Land Foundation and the folks who started it.

Not surprisingly, however, the convicted defendants appealed their convictions and became somewhat of a cause celebre among the hard Left in America and the Islamic community, many of whom are members of the organizations listed as unindicted co-conspirators in the first place:

http://electronicintifada.net/content/holy-land-5-appeal-begins-palestinians-gaza-praise-charity-closed-bush/11807

It seems the Islamists wanted us to believe that all the Holy Land Foundation was involved in was good works and sending poor Palestinian Muslims to school. They went to great lengths to highlight these activities.

The problem of course is that this is simply a smokescreen and just because a charity does some “good” work doesn’t mean it doesn’t also take part in nefarious activity as well. Think of the Mafia as another example. Mafia run districts were usually very clean and free of petty crime, but that came at a brutal price.

In terms of Islamic charities, we have proof positive in Shariah that they are instructed to support a variety of activities with money. The money comes from zakat donations, the form of tithing that we have posted about so often on SFW. There are 8 destinations for zakat under Shariah. Seven of them are benign for the most part.

But number 7, as we have pointed out so often, is downright hostile and violent: “those fighting in the way of allah,” defined as those engaged in Islamic military operations who are not part of an army roster. Sounds an awful lot like irregular combatants doesn’t it? That’s because that is exactly what it is.

And that’s why the Holy Land Foundation sent at least $12 million to HAMAS and other Jihadist organizations–they were following Islamic law. As a result, the charity was shut down and its leaders deposited in jail for life.

Anyway, the appeal has gotten all the way up to the Supreme Court level. In the process, a US government bureaucrat testified on behalf of the Holy Land Foundation, with the rather disturbing revelation that one of our US government funded programs was probably guilty of the same offense as the Holy Land Foundation, since it funneled money to organizations that have been deemed to be tied to HAMAS. Of course that disgraceful government employee, Edward Abington, provided that testimony as a means of justifying the Holy Land Foundation’s activity.

We rather think that Abington’s testimony should produce an invasive, hostile audit of just where our tax dollars are going. Clearly we do not benefit from creeps like Abington directing those dollars.

http://vinienco.com/2012/10/29/holy-land-foundation-trial-continues/

In closing we are pleased to report that the Supreme Court has in fact refused the Holy Land Foundation appeal.

Chalk one up for the good guys.

http://www.supremecourt.gov/Search.aspx?FileName=%2Fdocketfiles%2F11-1390.htm