Skip to comments.Extremists rip off tsunami charity cash
Posted on 07/30/2005 7:48:51 AM PDT by pbear8
CHARITABLE donations to help people affected by the Asian tsunami disaster are falling into the hands of radical Islamic groups linked to terrorists in Indonesia, a leading expert on the global al-Qaeda network warned yesterday.
Relief money had become the "primary source" of income for two militant groups, including one founded by a Muslim cleric serving a prison sentence in connection with the Bali bombing in 2002 in which more than 200 people were killed.
Dr Rohan Gunaratna, head of the international centre for political violence and terrorism research at Singapore's Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, told the Asia-Pacific Financial Crime Conference that the Boxing Day disaster had given "unprecedented opportunities for these groups to expand their areas of influence".
The UK Department For International Development (Dfid) said it was "concerned" about his comments and urged him to provide more information so it could take action if necessary. However, the Red Cross, Oxfam and Cafod aid agencies insisted that strict accounting procedures saw to it that no money given to them had fallen into the wrong hands.
Dr Gunaratna, author of the book Inside al Qaeda: Global Network of Terror, said the radical Islamic groups Mujahideen Kompak and Majelis Mujahideen Indonesia, or MMI, were moving into the Aceh region, where 130,000 people were killed and entire villages demolished by the devastating tsunami.
He told the conference, organised by banks in Singapore, that steps had to be taken to ensure that charitable donations did not go astray.
"Charities are a primary source of income for these groups," he said. "That's why there has to be more accountability in where donations go."
MMI, which has been called the Indonesian equivalent of Sinn Fein, was founded by militant cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, who is serving a 30-month jail sentence for conspiracy in the Bali bombings. Its name means the Council of Mujahideen For Islamic Law Enforcement.
The Brussels-based International Crisis Group has said Mujahideen Kompak plans to wage holy war in Indonesia.
And, according to the US-based analysts Global Security, Mujahideen Kompak has been responsible for attacks on Christians, including the nail-bombing of a church in North Jakarta during evening prayers in November 2001. Its leaders are also sometimes drawn from the infamous Indonesian terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah.
Indonesian authorities have arrested scores of al-Qaeda-linked militants suspected of being involved in the Bali bombings, last year's attack on the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, or in the 2003 attack on the city's Marriott Hotel. But some critics still accuse the government of being soft on terrorists for fear of escalating conflicts in a land which is home to more Muslims than any other.
Dr Gunaratna said: "Indonesia must suffer more from terrorism for the people and their leaders to realise that terror is serious business and you can't flirt with terrorists."
Terrorism expert Professor David Capitanchik, formerly of Robert Gordon University, told The Scotsman that terrorist groups were known to have set up charities to act as money-laundering operations.
"Around mosques, there are lots of people standing outside with boxes asking people to give to charity," he said. "It is rare that people who donate money know exactly where it is going. Organisations banned in this country - like Hamas - raise funds like that here."
Patrick Nicholson, of Catholic aid agency Cafod, who was in Aceh in early this year and again in June, said that while radical Islamic groups had first tried to exploit the situation to whip up anti-Western feeling, they appeared to have given up.
"I would challenge him [Dr Gunaratna]. There aren't the same sort of groups [in Aceh] as you see in other parts of Indonesia," he said. "They [Islamic extremists] turned up after the tsunami and tried to get Western aid agencies kicked out.
"But they got no support from local people, and they all left."
When he returned in June, there was no sign of Islamic radicals. He added that Cafod's accounting allowed a £10 donation in Britain to be traced to the building of a house or buying of a boat.
A spokesman for the International Committee for the Red Cross said simply: "If the question is, 'Is Red Cross funding falling into the hands of terrorists?', in our view, it isn't."
However, the UK government appeared to be taking the claim seriously. A Dfid spokesman said: "We are concerned to hear these allegations. We encourage Dr Gunaratna to approach Dfid with more information."
Gee, what a surprise.
And who does this surprise?
With the UN (known for the Food for Oil scam, among other things) heading the 'relief' efforts and Bill Clinton as the headliner.
Regrettably, most sincere humanitarian giving to large organizations results in scamming and misappropriating. It is too bad that such giving efforts don't have better administration and oversight. (Remember how the Red Cross scammed both money and blood shortly after 9-11. Have those 'designated' funds ever been fully distributed? Remember all the blood packets that had to be destroyed because the RC took the blood but didn't bother to provided appropriate facilities to preserve it.0
Reason #624 in my "Why I Don't Donate Money to Charities" list.
I want my $50.00 back.
Give money to terrorists, and then they steal it.
Woulda' thunk it?
Oh, I thought the article was about Bubba caught with his hands in the cookie jar ;-)
And they believe this is justified because the money is for the much greater cause of killing women, children and other defenseless "infidels" in subways.
between Kofi & Clinton, I'm surprised any money made it that far.
I run a charity (501c3), you can donate to me!
ha!!!!!!!!...my list is 12,384 reasons!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ;)
All my used underwear is now heading your way.
Thanks, I needed new signal flags.
Dishonest Muslims, rippiing off donations from those of other religions? Who would've thunk it?
Well, well, well. Do Slick Willie and Read My Lips know about this?
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