Declare war on economic jihad, urges Mail’s Israel correspondent

Matthew Kalman, the Daily Mail‘s correspondent in Israel, asserts that the London bombings require a ban on fundraising for charities linked to Hamas and Hezbollah. Difficult to see the logic of that, given that neither Hamas nor Hezbollah had anything to do with the London bombings – indeed, both organisations have unequivocally condemned the attacks. Needless to say, the Mail also tries to implicate Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

Declare war on Economic Jihad

By Matthew Kalman

Daily Mail, 18 July 2005

They call it Economic Jihad and it has to be stopped. Atrocities such as the bomb attacks perpetrated in London 10 days ago do not happen in a vacuum.

These outrages are the product of a culture so infused with hate that some of its disciples would rather die, tearing down the society around them. They go out and bomb the capital city of their own country, destroying lives and families.

It all costs money – from the magazines, pamphlets and websites used to spread the hatred, to the purchase of the explosives, hire cars and train tickets used by the bombers.

The money provides the salaries of the radical Muslim clerics preaching hatred and pays the electricity and cleaning bills for their mosques and study centres.

The money also sends young men to Afghanistan and Lebanon to train in terrorist techniques, and then on to Iraq where they join attacks against British and US troops.

Those who do not want to fight write the cheques, funnelled through bogus charitable groups which – under the guise of helping the poor and funding education – are actually financing terrorism.

Economic Jihad is inspired by a verse in the Koran which says: “Fight with your possessions and your souls in the way of Allah.”

Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a radical Islamic theologian, ruled that instead of building mosques or going on the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, Muslims should donate their money to “support Palestinians fighting occupation and other struggles of Muslim populations, such as in Bosnia”.

Following the 7/7 bombings, Chancellor Gordon Brown promised to crack down on terror financing and put an end to Economic Jihad in London.

The measures were agreed upon after the 9/11 attacks in the United States and the Madrid attacks last year but some EU countries have simply failed to implement them.

Brown told EU finance ministers last week: “It’s important to realise that you’re only as strong as your weakest link. Where there are countries that are not taking action to cut off the sources of terrorist finance, we will clearly have continuing problems.” He also urged EU officials to exercise tighter control of charities.

The UK has already frozen the assets – valued at around GBP 56.5m – of more than 100 organisations and 200 individuals.

But before Brown criticises our EU partners, he needs to look more closely at the UK.

There are a range of bogus charities with links to terrorist groups still operating in Britain.

One such organisation, Interpal, has been banned in the US, Australia and Canada as a front for funding the Hamas terror group in Palestine, but it continues to operate here.

A Palestinian General Intelligence report written in the late 1990s and entitled Who Finances Hamas? estimated that the organisation’s annual income was $60m-$70m of which $12m came from Britain.

The Charity Commission decreed that Interpal’s donations to Hamas were intended for education and welfare projects, not terrorism. We now know to our cost that the “education and welfare” projects of extremist groups can be used for Economic Jihad designed to buttress their military activities.

One of the trustees of the radical Finsbury Park Mosque is Mohammed Qassem Sawalha, who was appointed earlier this year after the arrest of Abu Hamza al-Masri on 16 charges including incitement to murder.

Sawalha was named in an August 2003 indictment in the US as a co-conspirator and a Hamas activist who provided assistance to those indicted for racketeering and conspiracy among other charges.

Another foreign terrorist group to benefit from British charitable funds is Hezbollah, which runs a state-within-a- state in southern Lebanon.

It is best remembered for the killing of more than 200 US soldiers in Beirut in 1983.

Among the charities supporting Hezbollah in Britain are the Lebanese Welfare Committee, The Help Foundation and The Jamiyat al-Abrar (Association of the Righteous).

It seems that Brown will have his hands full.