Radical Islamic terrorism and terror financing

Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury

Researchers have long identified mosques and Islamic schools as potential hubs of domestic radicalization in the West, with numerous such institutions playing active roles in promoting extremism and even directly organizing terror attacks in recent years. In September, senior management of a London-based Islamic school was penalized for operating an unregistered educational institution which reportedly taught young Muslim students extremist material.

Speaking to Sputnik News, David Kurten, the UK Independence Party’s (UKIP) education spokesperson and a member of the London Assembly, stressed that many Islamic schools, some of which have ties to and receive funding from radical groups and mosques, are teaching material “incompatible with British society”, creating a generation of radicalized Muslims instilled with hatred of the West.

He warned that “dangerous things are being taught”, with some Islamic institutions indoctrinating their young pupils and encouraging them to wage a war of terror against the UK.

“[They are taught that] Britain is at war with Islam and needs to be converted into ‘Dar al Islam’ or a ‘land of submission’, where there is no more resistance to radical Islam and Sharia law,” he added.

Authorities in the United Kingdom have found numerous cases of Islamic schools, especially private institutions, being at the center of terror plots. In one of the most alarming cases, a teacher at an East London fee-charging Islamic school was sentenced to jail on terror charges, with investigators reporting that the 25-year-old attempted to recruit an “army” of children to launch multiple terror attacks across the capital.

Although David Kurten applauded the government’s tougher stance against institutions teaching students for over 18 hours per week, he warned that up to 2,000 “informal madrassas” are currently classified alongside extracurricular activities, such as sports clubs, and therefore receive less scrutiny.

This is just one example. But, thousands of Muslim children are getting jihadist indoctrination in various mosques and community centers in the UK. They not only are told “Britain is at war with Islam”, but they even are encouraged at homes by the radicalized parents to “cause harm to the non-Muslims.” Hate materials and jihadist books are available in the residences of 80 percent of the UK Muslims. Every house has turned into a breeding ground of radical Islam and jihad. Unfortunately, authorities in Britain are yet unaware of the serious threat the country would face in the nearest future from radical Islam. There would be jihadist attacks on a regular basis, once these children grow into teens or adults. With this disturbing fact, people needs to also note – mosques and madrassas are increasing in numbers in the Western countries being funded by Islamic charities. Hundreds of Millions of dollars are being “invested” into such projects by dubious funders from the Muslim nations – mostly through Islamic charities.

One of the largest Islamic charities is Islamic Relief, founded in 1984 having branches and offices in over 20 countries. Most of the trustees of this organization are accused of terror links. Here is the list:

Hany El-Banna OBE – founder of Islamic Relief and a former trustee of several charities accused of links to Islamist extremism and terror. El-Banna established Islamic Relief while a student involved in Muslim Brotherhood circles. In 2016, El-Banna gave an interview to Al-Aqsa Voice, the official radio station of the terrorist group Hamas, during which he urged “a strong coalition” between civil society organizations and the Hamas government to “repel any foreign ideas and malignant intrusions.”

Essam El Haddad – co-founder of Islamic Relief and the foreign policy advisor to Egypt’s (now-deposed) Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi. Egyptian law enforcement alleges that Haddad used Islamic Relief to finance the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. The Egyptian prosecution also claimed that Haddad was “financing terrorism by using global charities such as Islamic Relief.”

Khaled Lamada – chairman of Islamic Relief’s USA branch and the founder of Egyptian Americans for Democracy and Human Rights, one of the Brotherhood’s key lobbying arms in the United States. Writing and sharing Facebook posts mostly in Arabic, Lamada has circulated text praising the “jihad” of the “Mujahidin of Egypt” for “causing the Jews many defeats.” He has republished claims on Facebook that praise Hamas for inflicting a “huge defeat” against the “Zionist entity.”

Issam Al-Bashir – a prominent member of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, a body of Muslim Brotherhood clerics led by Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusuf Qaradawi, who has advocated killing Jews and homosexuals. Bashir previously served as the Minister of Guidance and Religious Endowments in the genocidal Sudanese regime.

Ahmed Al-Rawi – a former director of Islamic Relief Worldwide, who also served as a director of the Muslim Association of Britain, which the Daily Telegraph has named as the Muslim Brotherhood’s “main declared British affiliate.” In 2004, Al-Rawi signed a declaration in support of jihad against British and American forces in Iraq.

Islamic Relief has long been accused of funding terror. Both Israel and the United Arab Emirates have designated Islamic Relief as a terror-financing organization. In 2005, Russian authorities accused Islamic Relief of supporting terrorism in Chechnya. And in 2012, the Swiss banking giant UBS closed down Islamic Relief’s accounts and “blocked donations coming from its customers to the charity,” reportedly over terror financing fears. Four years later, HSBC did the same.

According to an article published in the Gatestone Institute journal, “Members of Parliament of the Government of Canada are using their official positions to channel taxpayers’ money to Islamic Relief Canada (IRC). The IRC is a federally registered charity, so the taxpayer is subsidizing this activity. IRC in turn is sending millions of dollars to Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW). Seven independent and reliable sources have gone on the public record and stated that IRW uses charitable funds to provide material support to terrorism. In most cases, this means Hamas, an organization which is listed as a terrorist entity by the Government of Canada.”

The article further said, “For the past three years, however, since the election of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, there has been a shift in the way in which Canadian money is being funneled to terrorist groups. Whereas prior to 2015, the individuals responsible for terrorism-funding were not members of the government or parliament, current evidence suggests that acting politicians are involved in directing money down a path where the ultimate destination is a listed terrorist group. The money is being funneled through a variety of government organizations and programs, including the International Humanitarian Aid Program (2017), M103 Islamophobia Funding (2018), Canada Summer Jobs Program (2017 and 2018), Myanmar Crisis Relief Fund/Islamic Relief (May 2018), Canadian Humanitarian Assistance Fund (CHAF), Canada’s Humanitarian and Development Assistance to Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon, and Prime Minister Trudeau’s volunteer work and promotional video for Islamic Relief Canada.”

According to a report published in the FirstPost, Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) has suspended the Islamic Society of North America-Canada (ISNA- Canada) for funding groups allegedly linked to terrorist organizations like the Hizbul Mujahideen. The CRA has banned the Mississauga-based Islamic charity organisation for a year starting from 12 September and has also ordered it to pay a fine of $550,000.

According to Sputnik International, CRA audit documents reportedly allege that ISNA-Canada donated $90,000 to the Relief Organization for Kashmiri Muslims (ROKM) between 2007 and 2009 and funded an additional $46,000 to the Kashmiri Relief Fund of Canada, which had previously raised funds for the ROKM.

“Our research indicates that ROKM is the charitable arm of Jamaat-e-Islami, a political organization that actively contests the legitimacy of India’s governance over the state of Jammu and Kashmir, including reportedly through the activities of its armed wing Hizbul Mujahideen,” the CRA said. The audit was conducted in 2011 and covered the period from 2007 to 2009. The results were conveyed to ISNA-Canada in 2014 but the CRA only sanctioned the charity on 5 September 2018.

According to a Global News article, ISNA Islamic Services of Canada was stripped of its charitable status for “non-compliance,” according to records obtained by Global News. Authorities also revoked a related charity, the Canadian Islamic Trust Foundation. Both are former affiliates of the Islamic Society of North America-Canada (ISNA-Canada), and shared its Mississauga, Ontario, address.

How to combat radical Islam and jihad?

For the counterterrorism experts, the biggest challenge is to find a way to stop radical Islam from further growth and expansion. For the Western policymakers, the challenge is even complicated. They have to confront radical Islam in one hand and antisemitism or Jew-hatred on the other. In the very recent past, we are witnessing an alarming rise of Jew hatred in the West – in the UK and even in the US. In UK, antisemitism and Jew-hatred are getting direct or indirect patronization from the Labour Party – more precisely, Jeremy Corbyn and his cronies. On the other hand, antisemitism and Jew-hatred is finding sponsorship from within the communists and Islamists in the Democratic Party. Massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue or hoisting of Nazi flag and or painting Swastika graffiti here and there in the US is a matter of grave concern.

When all on a sudden, Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) emerged in 2014 from Iraq, people not only were in huge shock, but they thought, it will take many years for the Western forces in defeating this monster. Anyway it was driven-out of Iraq in less than three years. But, ISIS is not dead yet. It has been able expanding its network or jihadist indoctrination in several countries in the world, including the West. Till date, ISIS poses a grave threat to global security. On the other hand, Al Qaeda though seems to have been substantially neutralized; it still has its existence in many countries. Afghan Talibans also remains another headache for the security experts.

In India, those jihadist outfits in the Jammu and Kashmir though are direct threat to India, territories or areas controlled by these groups are being used as jihadist launch-pads.

In Myarmar, Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) is another growing jihadist monster. According to media reports, it is receiving supports from Pakistan and some of the Arab nations. If the issue of evicted Arakan Muslims (popularly known as Rohingyas) cannot be solved within the shortest possible time, ARSA too will become a huge headache for Myanmar, Bangladesh, India and China.

If we are really sincere in combating and eliminating radical Islam and jihad, we have to adopt the following strategies without wasting any time:

  1. Websites promoting radical Islam and jihad should be identified and brought down,
  2. Social media accounts promoting radical Islam and jihad should be identified and closed,
  3. Counter-jihad campaign should be initiated in every country in the world,
  4. Jihadist indoctrination in the mosques and madrassas should be outlawed,
  5. Madrassa education system should come under strict scrutiny,
  6. Special orientation program for the madrassa students,
  7. Political parties should be barred from having any chapter in their constitution in favour of Sharia rule or Caliphate,
  8. Mosques and Muslim community centers in the West must come under strict scrutiny,
  9. Financial transactions of Muslims in the West should come under scrutiny.

We need to understand, in today’s world, media plays a vital role in every walk of life. For this reason, media should not be allowed to promote or patronize radical Islam, religious extremism, antisemitism, culture of hatred and jihad. Freedom of expression and freedom of the media is essential. But at the same time, no one should be allowed to abuse this privilege.

Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is the Editor of Blitz. He can be reached on Twitter at @salah_shoaib

Leave a Comment