Several Islamic charities in the U.S. have already been closed for terrorist links. Charities collect obligatory zakat donations from Muslims, which are then distributed to radical groups — apparently unbeknownst to many of the donors. Now the Saudis, anxious to improve their anti-terror credentials, have joined the U.S. to go after another. This from the Hindustan Times, with thanks to Jean-Luc.
The United States and Saudi Arabia have jointly appealed the United Nations to declare a major charity group, Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation’s branches in Pakistan, Kenya, Tanzania and Indonesia as terrorist organisations.
US Treasury Secretary John W. Snow, top State Deprtment officials including Counterterrorism Coordinator Cofer Black, and Adel Jubeir, Chief Foreign Policy Adviser to Crown Prince Abdullah held a joint press conference yesterday at the US Treasury to make the appeal to UN.
US Officials said these four countries have resisted action, though it has been tarred as terrorist in both in the US and Saudi Arabia for some time, “in part out of fear of appearing to do the bidding of the United States.”‘
“We are working closely with our Saudi friends. I have personally seen great improvement in the cooperation,” Black said.
Al-Haramain figured prominently in the indictment earlier this month of Sami Omar Hussayen, a University of Idaho doctoral student in computer science, on charges of conspiracy to promote material support to terrorists. It raises millions of dollars for its charities every year. The charge is that though it has genuine charities, Al-Haaramain also funds terrorism.
Saudi Ambassador to the US Prince Bandar bin Sultan said in a statement that terrorist financiers are now targets of a US-Saudi task force that is pursuing money laundering through charities and other front groups.