Terror funds linked to shady charities
Manama, December 10, 2012
Hundreds of millions of dollars a year are being channelled into the hands of the Taliban - much of it from the Gulf, according to an expert.
Shady charities in the GCC continue to funnel cash to Afghanistan to fund insurgents, Afghanistan Centre for Research and Policy Studies director Haroun Mir told our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News.
He accused Gulf countries of not doing enough to monitor bogus charity operations, which he accused of filling terrorists' coffers with cash to buy weapons, equipment and conduct operations.
"The Taliban gets $200 million a year to carry out its activities and recruit young people to spread terror across the world," he said on the sidelines of the Manama Dialogue, which ended yesterday at the Ritz-Carlton Bahrain Hotel and Spa.
"This huge amount of money is coming from somewhere and one main channel is bogus charities in GCC and Arab states, which collect funds that are used for illegal activities instead of noble causes."
Mir said people in the region were being conned into parting with their money by those misinterpreting Islam.
"Terrorists are using narratives based on grievances of people and misinterpreting Islam," he said. "The funds are flowing via ghost charities."
The Muslim faith requires followers to make donations to the needy as part of an Islamic tax, known as "Zakat".
However, Mir said there was still no official authority that monitored where the money was going.
"Nobody has an idea where this money goes as it is being used by extremist groups to purchase weapons or recruit suicide bombers," he claimed.
He argued a central body was needed to oversee and manage the large amounts of money collected through Zakat in GCC and Arab countries to ensure it was not directed to questionable causes.
Mir also warned nations in the region against radicalising their own people by demonising other countries.
"If we look closely in the region, Saudi Arabia is radicalising some of its people to deal with the threat from Iran," he said. "They are creating one problem to get rid of another. Things are boiling under the surface and it's important for Saudi Arabia to play a bigger role in the region."
He added Afghanis-tan and Pakistan were suffering as a direct result of the Arab world's failure to combat sectarianism.
"Pakistan and my country, Afghanistan, are clear examples of states that are dealing with the problem of terrorism every day," he said.
"They are victims of poor policies by GCC and Arab states to deal head on with radicalisation."
The eighth International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Regional Security Summit: The Manama Dialogue 2012 took place over three days under the patronage of HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander. – TradeArabia News Service