Politics & Policy

Tithing for Terrorists

Financing jihad.

“Governments have political considerations,”“ said senior N.Y. Senator Charles Schumer, upon learning in September that Bourse Dubai intends to buy 20 percent of NASDAQ. Republican Senator Bob Bennett of Utah countered, saying, “Dubai is making a purchase on the open market of an asset that’s for sale. What’s wrong with that?”

#ad#Senator Bennett is correct — buying portions or all of NASDAQ is perfectly legal. Moreover, no changes could be made to NASDAQ regulations without Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approval. But of concern is Bourse Dubai’s Islamic influence in the heart of the U.S. markets and economy. And the deliberate United Arab Emirates (UAE) devaluation of the dollar since December 2006 is vastly increasing their purchasing power.

Bourse Dubai began operating as the world’s first fully sharia-compliant stock exchange, in December 2006. Sharia compliance requires companies traded to also be shariacompliant, and establishes a special tax on all the others to “purify” them.

The Islamic “purity” (Tazkiya) of Bourse Dubai was approved by the sharia board of the 1991-Bahrain-registered and based Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAIOFI). The AAIOFI laid the groundwork for the global Islamic financial network and regulates all Islamic financial organizations and products, including Bourse Dubai.

Like every Muslim country, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) collects mandatory Islamic charity (Zakat- the Third Pillar of Islam — an annual wealth tax), of about 2.5-percent from Muslim institutions and companies. Being non-Muslims, foreign banks and oil companies theoretically don’t pay Zakat. But foreign banks and oil companies in fact do pay 20 percent of their profits, but rather than Zakat, these mandatory payments are called “tax.”

Zakat we are told, is to help the needy. However, Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader, Yusuf Qaradawi decrees, “Declaring holy war…is an Islamic duty, and fighting ….is the Way of Allah for which Zakat must be spent.” In his 1999 publication, Fiqh az-Zakat,” Qaradawi adds,

The most important form of jihad today is serious, purposefully organized work to rebuild Islamic society and state and to implement the Islamic way of life in the political, cultural and economic domains. This is certainly most deserving of Zakat.

And as previously demonstrated time and again, Muslim jihadistterror organizations are indeed prominent Zakat recipients.

In 2003, the UAE established an independent federal agency collecting Zakat on government tax revenues from “companies listed on the Dubai Financial Market and Abu Dhabi Securities Market… oil-producing companies and branches of foreign banks.” In 2007 these revenues were estimated at $13.5 billion.

Saudi Arabia, for example collects $18 billion a year in Zakat — which includes the 20-percent flat corporation tax from foreign companies. The Saudis claim that the money collected develops their infrastructure. However, two thirds of Saudi men are unemployed and the infrastructure is crumbling. Yet, since the 1970s, the Saudi government has spent more than $100 billion to build thousands of mosques, Islamic centers and Islamic studies programs in universities worldwide.

On April 30, 2007 the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) — which also initiated Muslim riots after the Danish Mohammed cartoon publications — established the clerical International Commission for Zakat. The ICZ replaces more than 20,000 organizations that previously collected the money. The Islamic clerics’ centralized “expert committee” in Malaysia now supervises and distributes Zakat funds globally. The new committee will shortly distribute roughly $2 billion collected over Ramadan this year to Muslim charities.

Historical Development

The origins of all Islamic economic and financial regulatory organizations, including the AAIOFI’s date back to the 1920s invention of Muslim Brotherhood (MB) founder Hassan Al-Banna, who designed political, economic, and financial infrastructures to enable Muslims to fulfill a key form of jihad mandated by the Koran (Al Jihad bi-al-Mal — financial jihad) “you… should strive for the cause of Allah with your wealth and your lives….” – 61:10-11.

He viewed finance as a critical weapon to undermine the infidels — and “work towards establishing an Islamic rule on earth.” To do that, he understood that Muslims must create an independent Islamic financial system to parallel and later supersede the Western economy.

Al-Banna’s contemporaries and successors (such as the late Sayed Qutb and current Yusuf Qaradawi) set his theories and practices into motion, developing shariabased terminology and mechanisms to advance the financial jihad — “Islamic economics,” finance and banking.

Early 1930s MB attempts to establish Islamic banking in India failed. Egyptian president Gamal Abdul Nasser shut down the second attempt, in 1964, after only one year, later arresting and expelling the Muslim Brothers for attempts to kill him. Saudi Arabia welcomed this new wave Egyptian dissidents, as did King Saud bin Abdul Aziz earlier waves in 1954 and 1961. Their ideas so appealed to him and his clerics that in 1961, Saud funded the MB’s establishment of the Islamic University in Medina to proselytize their fundamentalist Islamic ideology, especially to foreign students.

In 1962, the MB convinced the king to launch a global financial joint venture, which became the cornerstone and engine to spread Islam worldwide. This venture created charitable foundations, which the MB oversees.

The first were the Muslim World League (MWL) and Rabitta al-Alam al-Islami, uniting Islamic radicals from 22 nations and spinning a web of many other charities with hundreds of offices worldwide. In 1978, the kingdom backed another MB initiative, the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), which with all these “charities” are implicated for funding al Qaeda, the 9/11 attacks, Hamas and others.

These “charities” are used to advance the political agenda set forth by the MB. “I don’t like this word ‘donations’,” Qaradawi told BBC Panorama on July 30, 2006.

“I like to call it jihad with money, because God has ordered us to fight enemies with our lives and our money.”

In 1969, the Saudis convened Arab and Muslim states to unify the “struggle for Islam,” and have, ever since, been the OIC’s major sponsor. The 56 OIC members include Iran, Sudan, and Syria. Based in Jeddah “pending the liberation of Jerusalem,” the OIC charter mandates and coordinates “support [of] the struggle of the Palestinian people…recovering their rights and liberating their occupied territories.”

The OIC charter includes all the MB principles. Its first international undertaking in 1973 was to establish the Islamic Development Bank “in accordance with the principles of the Shariah,” as prescribed by the MB, and launching the fast growing petrodollar-based Islamic financing market. The IDB, more a development than commercial bank, was established largely “to promote Islamic banking worldwide.”

“[A]n Islamic organization must serve God…” and ultimately sustain “the growth and advancement of the Islamic way of life,” writes Nasser M. Suleiman in Corporate Governance in Islamic Banking.”

And so it has done — as noted in a 1991 U.S. Library of Congress report on Sudan’s Faisal Islamic Bank, established in 1977 under Sudan’s Faisal Islamic Bank Act, by Saudi prince Mohammed ibn Faisal Al Saud, and initiated and managed by local Muslim Brotherhood members and their party the National Islamic Front. Soon other political groups and parties formed their own Islamic banks. Together, Sudanese Islamic banks then acquired 20-percent of the country’s deposits — providing the financial basis to turn Sudan into an Islamic state in 1983, and promoting the Islamic governmental policies to date.

From 1975 to 2005, the IDB approved over $46 billion in funding to Muslim countries, ostensibly to develop their economic and educational infrastructures, but effected little regional economic impact. Their educational efforts, however, paid huge yields — via the rapid and significant spread of radical Islam worldwide.

Moreover, in 2001 alone, the IDB transferred $538 million raised publicly by Saudi and Gulf royal telethons to support the Palestinian Intifada and families of Palestinian suicide bombers. The IDB has also channeled U.N. funds to Hamas, as documented by bank records discovered in the West Bank and Gaza. And yet the IDB received U.N. observer status in 2007.

The IDB and other Islamic financial successes encouraged MB leaders to formalize al-Banna’s vision. In 1977 and 1982, they convened in Lugano, Switzerland to chart a master plan to co-opt Western economic foundations — capitalism and democracy — in a treatise entitled “Towards a Worldwide Strategy for Islamic Policy,” also known as the Project. MB spiritual leader Qaradawi wrote the explicit document, dated Dec. 1, 1982.

The 12-point strategy includes diktats to “establish the Islamic state and gradual, parallel work to control local power centers…using institutional work as means to this end.” This requires “special Islamic economic, social and other institutions,” and “the necessary economic institutions to provide financial support” to spread fundamentalist Islam.

Consequently, the IDB founded the AAOIFI in 1990. AAOIFI members include the Saudi Dallah Al-Baraka Group, al-Rajhi Banking & Investment Corporation, and Kuwait Finance House; each of its members were implicated in funding al Qaeda and other MB offspring according to Richard Clarke,  former counterterrorism chief . The 18 AAOIFI members also include Iran and Sudan, both on the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctions list; Iran is an U.S. State Department-designated terror sponsoring state, too. UAE banks wired half of the funding for the 9/11 attacks

In addition, the “de facto Islamic Central Bank,” the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB), was established in 2002 in Kuala Lumpur “to absorb the 11 September shock and reinforce the stability of Islamic finance.” Chairing the organizers’ meeting, then Malaysian Prime Minister Mohamed Mahathir stated, “A universal Islamic banking system is a jihad worth pursuing to abolish this slavery [to the West].”

IFSB members include the central banks of Iran, Sudan, and Syria (all designated state sponsors of terrorism) and the Palestinian Monetary Authority (PMA), which is widely documented since its inception as a terror funder.

According to DAG and Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) President Saleh Kamel, more than 400 Islamic financial institutions currently operate in 75 countries. They now hold more than $800 billion in assets — growing 15 percent annually. HSBC, UBS, J.P. Morgan Chase, Deutsche Bank, Lloyds TSB and BNP Paribas, are but a few that offer Islamic banking and sharia-based products to their Western clients — and promote them as “ethical investments.”

Rapidly rising oil prices fill the coffers of Islamic banks, the expansion of sharia economics and financial jihad — threatening the U.S. and entire non-Muslim world, in real-time.

Indeed, shortly after 9/11, Osama bin Laden called on Muslims ““to concentrate on hitting the U.S. economy through all possible means,” going on to say “Look for the key pillars of the U.S. economy. Strike the key pillars of the enemy again and again and they will. ”

The pending NASDAQ acquisition, purchases of over 52 percent of the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and 47.6-percent of OMX (Nordic exchange), and the vigorous expansion of sharia finance, all steadily implement al Banna’s plan to spread and ultimately impose sharia worldwide.

Yet, still unaware of the implications of importing sharia finance, hoards of American bankers will later this month convene at New York’s Islamic Finance Summit at the Helmsley (Oct. 29-30, 2007) — which will focus on “Innovations in Sharia compliant Finance.”

In view of the facts, Senator Schumer has a valid point.

 – Rachel Ehrenfeld, author of “Funding Evil,” is director of the American Center of Democracy, and a member of the board of the Committee for the Present Danger. Alyssa A. Lappen is a senior fellow at ACD. 

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