THE GOLDEN CHAIN
Especially since the war in Afghanistan against the Russians in the mid 80s’, one of the symbols of status for the rich and wealthy millionaires and billionaires in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Emirates is the degree of support to Islamic Charities operating in crisis zones. It began with Afghanistan but broaden to the Balkans, Chechnya, the Palestinian territories and elsewhere. Some of the rich families even founded Islamic foundations and Charities of their own.
Since in all those countries in the Arabian Peninsula there is a direct link between ties with the royal family in Saudi Arabia or the ruling families of the Gulf Emirates, it is almost obvious that the source of income to most of the Islamic charities with ties to the Arabian Peninsula is, eventually, somehow related to a royal or ruling family.
The Arabian Peninsula millionaires operated through a broad range of Islamic Charities like Benevolence International Foundation -BIF- and in the case of the Balkan also through the more official Saudi High Commission for Relief.
Most naturally the employees of those Charities were devoted Muslims more likely to adopt radical views, they operated in the same areas and places as many of the Mujahideens and often Knew each other personally. Eventually they also employed Mujahideens which they regarded as the warriors on the frontline of Islam, not necessarily as Jihadists with worldwide ambitions to confront the Western Democracies, while the Mujahideens found a job in one of the Islamic Charities as an ideal cover for terror activities and traveling from place to place. Indeed many Jihadists began as Charity workers or as a cover up from the beginning or gradually drifted to terror.
There was therefore a constant leakage and blending between Islamic Charities and Islamic radical organization. Still almost all the many raised by Islamic charities ended up in charity, healthcare and construction and most of the workers were maybe sympathizers but not Jihadists. There is no proof that Islamic Charities deliberately financed terror or were founded to be a tool of Jihad although often used to transfer money for terror purposes. It must be taken in consideration that those Islamic Charities were too often the only welfare system operating in those areas.
In 09/2001, following The 9/11, NATO peacekeepers in Bosnia raided the Sarajevo offices of the Saudi High Commission for Aid to Bosnia, which was behind the “Islamic Balkan Center” –IBC. NATO discovered a cache of Islamic terrorist-related material at the offices of one of Saudi Arabia’s leading aid agencies with links to the royal family.
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