News Agencies – July 3, 2012
French authorities have arrested the administrator of an extremist French website suspected of playing a key role in financing and recruiting for al Qaeda and other terrorist groups from Pakistan to Spain, the Paris prosecutor’s office said.The man—whom prosecutors call an “operational vector and formidable financier of the bloodiest terrorist groups”— faces preliminary charges of planning terrorist acts and financing a terrorist enterprise, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
The prosecutor cited “serious and concordant evidence” that the suspect sent material from his computer to terrorist groups. It says he played a “centralizing role” in collecting funds for terrorist groups to buy weapons, but didn’t elaborate on how much money was involved. Prosecutors say he is suspected of acting as a financier and recruiter for groups including al Qaeda and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (North Africa), Fatah al Islam, and the Islamic State of Iraq.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A former Michigan congressman and U.S. delegate to the United Nations has been sentenced to a year and one day in prison for lobbying for a Missouri-based Islamic charity that had been identified as a global terrorist organization.
Mark Deli Siljander, 60, a Republican who served in Congress from 1981-1987, pleaded guilty in July 2010 to obstructing justice and acting as an unregistered foreign agent in connection with his work for the Islamic American Relief Agency, based in Columbia, Mo.
In his plea agreement, Siljander acknowledged that he lobbied between March and May 2004 on behalf of the IARA for the organization to be removed from a U.S. Senate Finance Committee list of charities suspected of funding international terrorism. The charity closed in October 2004 after being designated a global terrorist organization by the U.S. government.
Four co-defendants also were sentenced Wednesday. Among them were former IARA executive director Mubarak Hamed, who sent more than $1 million to Iraq through the charity in violation of U.S. sanctions. He pleaded guilty in June 2010 to illegally transferring the money and obstructing the administration of laws governing tax-exempt charities.
The Spain’s National Intelligence Centre (CNI) leaked to El País newspaper a “secret report” about the external founding received by some Muslims communities in Spain. According to the report, the Spanish government is struggling to stop the flow of tens of millions of dollars to Islamic groups in Spain from different Islamic countries as Kuwait, Libya, Morocco, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates. The CNI relates these donations to the presence of some groups in Spain linked with different Islamic movements as Salafism or Muslim Brotherhood.
This article chronicles a suburban community organization, Zy’va (slang for vas y or “go”) in a Paris suburb and the difficulties encountered in finding continued financing. Zy’va has assisted more than 550 young people – mostly Muslims of North-African origin – in schoolwork and as an after-school drop in center since 1994. The organization recently began giving Arabic language courses due to popular demand.
The directors of the planned Islamic community center and mosque near ground zero have applied for grants from an agency tasked with helping Lower Manhattan recover from the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Mr. Gamal has said he plans to raise the $140 million required to build the center by tapping small donors, enlisting paying members and courting corporations and philanthropists. Nothing has been raised yet, but the developers insist that their fund-raising efforts are going according to plan and that they have found interested donors.
In a statement, the developer, Sharif el-Gamal, said that the board of Park51, as the center is known, asked for about $5 million financing from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation about two weeks ago. The money, which would come from a pool of $2 billion in federal financing administered by the corporation, would be used for domestic violence prevention programs, language classes, art exhibitions and other social services at the center.
Sharif el-Gamal, the developer, of the planned Muslim community center and mosque near ground zero envisions raising $140 million project by utilizing instruments developed to allow many Muslim investors to comply with religious prohibitions on interest. Most of the financing, Mr. Gamal said on Wednesday, would come through religiously sanctioned bondlike investments known as sukuk, devised in Muslim nations to allow religious Muslims to take part in the global economy and increasingly explored by American banks. Sukuk and other Islamic banking instruments are tracked on the Dow Jones Islamic Market Index.
Of the $140 million, Gamal, is hoping to raise $27 million through a nationwide campaign which will focus on small donations from Muslims and other supporters. The remaining bill will be financed, to build the 15-story center, which will eventually have about 4,330 paying members. Most of that core group, Mr. Gamal expects, would be non-Muslim neighborhood residents and commuters. Muslims from around the region would make up a larger but less frequently visiting group — what he calls the “dinner and a date” crowd — many of them choosing the cheapest $375 family membership for cultural programs.
Mr. Gamal and Feisal Abdul Rauf, the imam who is his planning partner in the project, have promised that they will invite the federal government to review all the donations.
The Spanish Ministry of Justice considers a reform of the Islamic representation in
Spain to be necessary for the application of the future Law of Religious Freedom.
Currently there are 28 Islamic federations officially registered, but only two are part of
the CIE (The Spanish Islamic Commission). The government is threatening to cancel
the CIE financing as a measure to force the unification of the Islamic representation.
After several years of success in the UK and first attempts in continental Europe, Islamic banking is now about to enter the Austrian market. Islamic financing is said to be highly profitable: growth rates of 30 percent are predicted. So far, the roughly 400, 000 Austrian Muslims have no opportunity to invest their money in a “halal” way, but now the Austrian Standards Organisation has started to develop common standards for Islamic banking on behalf of the Islamic Information and Documentation Centre (IIDZ).
The process should be completed by summer 2010, when the first Islamic financial products are supposed to be available at Austrian banks.
In Spain, some mosques have been funded with capital from Islamic countries such as Saudi Arabia and Morocco. The great mosques of Madrid, Marbella and Malaga were all funded with Saudi capital.
Meanwhile, the Moroccan government has been linked with various Muslim organizations in Ceuta, including the FEERI, or Spanish Federation of Islamic Religious Entities.
The latter is one of the two Islamic federations that signed an agreement of cooperation with the Spanish government in 1992. The article compares the situation of Spain with the funding of mosques in other European countries. The article also makes connections between the economic support and the political and doctrinal submission of these communities to the funding nations. The FEERI, for example, sided with the Moroccan government in the “Haidar case”.
The leaders of what was once the largest Muslim charity in the United States were found guilty of acting as a front for Palestinian militants, in what was the largest terrorism financing prosecution in American history. The now-defunct Holy Land Foundation is charged with funneling $12 million to Hamas.
The Holy Land Foundation is one of several Muslim organizations shut down by the Bush administration in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The charity’s leaders received guilty verdicts, and received a total of 108 charges of providing material support to terrorists, money laundering, and tax fraud. Prosecutors did not accuse the charity of being directly involved or financing terrorist activity, but charged that humanitarian aid was used to promote Hamas, and allowed it to divert existing funds for militant activities.
Muslim charities in the United States have suffered a significant drop in contributions following 9/11, with many Muslim Americans concerned that they will be sought after for their good intentions of giving.
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