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News 2008
News ->British charity donations funding Islamic terrorism
British charity donations funding Islamic terrorism
(28 July 2008)

BulletsThe Hindu Forum of Britain has asked the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, to escalate investigations into reports about British charities suspected of sending funds to terrorist groups in Pakistan. The HFB appeal comes immediately after 45 people were killed in a serial bomb blast in the Indian city of Ahmedabad by suspected Islamic militants, styling themselves as the ‘Indian Mujahideen’. Indian authorities have stated that the Indian Mujahideen seems to be a front for terrorist organisations operating out of Pakistan.



"India has been suffering from terror attacks by Islamic militants for many years. The Ahmedabad blasts that killed 45 people yesterday are not isolated. There have been several other blasts that have taken place recently in Jaipur, Bangalore and other places,” said Ramesh Kallidai, secretary general of the Hindu Forum of Britain. “But what is of great concern to British Indians is that there have been several reports of British charities sending money to Pakistan that are being diverted to terrorism against India”

According to Tahseen Ullah Khan of the National Research and Development Foundation, a Peshawar-based NGO that promotes madrasa reform, militant funding also comes from donors in the UK. In a statement, she had earlier said. "If I go to the UK as a cleric and tell people that Islam is under attack, I can come back with lot of funding."

Two years ago, investigators in Pakistan believed that £50 million was siphoned off from genuine relief groups for terrorists. Intelligence services had tried to trace the cash which came from several British charities. After a call for investigation into funds sent by British charities, the Charity Commission had said, “We take the issue of allegations about charities and terrorism very seriously. We are aware of the speculation suggesting links between UK charities and the bomb plot."

“However our community need to be reassured that enough is being done enough is being done to prevent siphoning of charity fundis to terrorist causes,” said Ramesh Kallidai. “In light of the continuing loss of human life in India by Islamic militants, the British government has a moral obligation to increase its efforts in tracking such charities. We hope the Home Secretary and intelligence agencies in Britain will take note and do something about it. This is particularly important because we do not wish to have the sub-continental issues spilling over into Britain and affecting community cohesion and good relations here in our country.”

BACKGROUND TO THE HFB CLAIMS

In its press release, the HFB outlined a number of cases which they claim back-up their assertion that British charitable donations are being used to fund Islamic terrorism.

CRESCENT RELIEF

One of the British suspects detained in Pakistan as part of the investigation into the alleged plot to blow up planes flying from Great Britain to the U.S, is Rashid Rauf. His wife and her sister run Darul Uloom Madina, one of Pakistan's biggest and most hardline seminaries, with some 2,000 students, in Bahawalpur. A charity called Crescent Relief founded by the Raufs' father, Abdul, which collected money for last year's Pakistani earthquake relief effort transferred money into three accounts in three separate banks in the Mirpur region of Kashmir. The accounts were thought to have belonged to suspects arrested in the U.K. and Pakistan.

SANABEL RELIEF AGENCY

The charity Sanabel Relief Agency (Charity number 1083469) which also operated under the name Al-Rahama Relief Foundation Ltd, and had branches in Middlesbrough, Birmingham, Manchester and London, was designated by the United States Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control as a sponsor of terrorism. The Treasury stated that Sanabel Relief was a front for the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG). The charity continued its work until arrests had been made of one of its directors, 44-year old Tahir Nasuf, accused with six others of sponsoring and plotting suicide attacks in Iraq.

INTERPAL

A BBC documentary by John Ware claimed that the UK charity Interpal had raised money for charities which were fronts for Hamas. The documentary also claimed that one of its senior members, Mohammed Kassem Sawalha knowingly raised money for Hamas "charities". Sawalha is a senior figure in the Muslim Association of Britain and has links with the Muslim Brotherhood.

On August 22 2003 Interpal was designated by the US Treasury, who said: "Interpal, headquartered in the UK, has been a principal charity utilized to hide the flow of money to Hamas. Reporting indicates it is the conduit through which money flows to Hamas from other charities, e.g., the Al Aqsa Foundation, and that it oversees the activities of other charities. For example, the Sanabil Association for Relief and Development represents Interpal in Lebanon. Reporting also indicates that Interpal is the fundraising coordinator of Hamas, a coordination point for other Hamas-affiliated charities. This role is of the type that includes supervising activities of charities, developing new charities in targeted areas, instructing how funds should be transferred from one charity to another, and even determining public relations policy."

Since March 2002, the US and Saudi Arabia jointly designated several branches of Al Haramain for terrorism support and sponsorship, including Afghanistan, Albania, Bangladesh, Bosnia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kenya, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Somalia, and Tanzania.

INTERPAL DENIES CLAIMS MADE BY THE BBC & US TREASURY

Interpal has denied the quotes attributed to the BBC and the US Treasury. In a letter to HFB, Interpal have said that lnterpal was a “long-established and widely-respected charity operating entirely lawfully in the United Kingdom under the auspices of the Charity Commission. Interpal is a nonpolitical, non-profit making charity that works with international funding partners and partners on the ground to provide relief and development aid to Palestinians in need. By its very nature, Interpal is most certainly not affiliated to any political (let alone terrorist) organisation, whether officially or unofficially and nor does it provide funding to any such organisations”

Referring to 2006 the BBC Panorama programme where a number of allegations were made, they added that those allegations are vigorously denied and they are Interpal was cooperating fully with the Charity Commission in the inquiry which it commenced in the wake of the broadcast.”

Interpal believe that it “..is difficult to conceive of a more serious allegation than to allege that a charity set up to help relieve suffering is in fact a sham organisation which is assisting in the perpetration of terrorist atrocities.”

INTERNATIONAL ISLAMIC RELIEF ORGANISATION

On August 13 last year, the US designated the Philippine and Indonesian branch offices of the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) , for fundraising for AL Qaeda. The Saudi-based organisation, founded in 1978, has branch offices in 20 other nations.

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