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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Chichakli Update

Richard Chichakli is associated with several companies, including Continue Professional Education, Inc. and San Air General Trading LLC. His assets were seized by the Office of Foreign Asset Control in 2004. He has been working hard to present his case to the public but no one seems to be buying what he is selling.

He fled to Moscow a few years ago and may now be operating out of the Ukraine

Friday, June 24, 2011

Mauritania Convicts 8 For Giving AQIM SA-7s

he Nouakchott Supreme Court on Sunday (June 19th) convicted and sentenced eight people for aiding and supporting al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

The prison terms ranged from five years for two Salafists – Ahmed Sale ould Hassan and Ely Cheikh Ould Wadiaa – to three years for Hassan Ould Maata and two years for the remaining five defendants: Mauritanians Bah Ould Mohamed, Moustapha Ould Ahmed, Issa Ould Ahmed, Abdellahi Ould Hamadi and Tunisian national Malek Lekrimi.

"They supplied the chief fighter of the Battalion of the Masked with communication devices, quantities of explosives and a SA-7 missile, an act which is punishable under the Mauritanian anti-terrorism law," the court said.

The prosecutor told the court that "some of them helped Abul Abbas, a.k.a. 'Balor', who is the leader of the Battalion of the Masked that is based in the desert, by providing logistical tools that helped him launch attacks against the Sahel countries' armies and kidnap and kill European and US nationals, and blow up European and US diplomatic headquarters."

Abdellahi Ould Hamadi was using an alias (Abul Hammam) and received 3,000 euros from a collaborator of Balor's in exchange for supplying him with communication devices and phones, according to prosecutor Ahmed Ould Abdellahi.

"The defendant was receiving instructions from Sidi Ould Sidna who was convicted in the killing of French nationals in the city of Aleg, Mauritania, in December 2007," the prosecutor added. "He was also in touch with the terrorists who took part in the Tourine operation that was carried out by al-Qaeda against the Mauritanian army in September 2008."

Defendant Abdellahi Ould Hamadi confessed to the charges against him saying that "it's very normal to see an arms shipment or smuggled contraband where we live in the desert."

"I received an amount of 25 million ouguiyas from Balor to hand it to some collaborators with AQIM. However, I was arrested by the Mauritanian security forces at a time when I was planning to surrender and report al-Qaeda," Ould Hamadi said.

As to the importance of the trial, Rabii Ould Idoumou, a journalist specialising in terrorism, said that "these elements don't have dangerous files because they were not involved in direct murders or kidnappings. Therefore, it's almost like a trial of individuals rather than an organised network, because they had no ties or joint co-ordination."

Analyst Yacoub Moustapha said the sentence was a message to "the many people who have commercial dealings with al-Qaeda, to the effect that they won't be secure from prison".

Young activist Mohamed Ould Zeine noted that the trial had taken just one hearing. "This leaves an impression among observers about the danger of these groups; something that some people may see as an incentive to pass the sentences against them," he added.

"I believe that charges made against those young people are not very serious as long as the prison terms are that short," university professor Mohamed Kanté said. "However, I think that selling arms to al-Qaeda is not at all different from killing because those who help in killings, even with a single word, are like perpetrators."

Commenting on the terrorists, university student Sidi Elmokhtar Ould Sidi said, "Their act is considered treason in this country, and the trial will certainly serve as a deterrent."

The Rest @ Magharebia

FBI Continues its case on Minnesota Mujahadeen

MINNEAPOLIS — Nearly three years ago, a Minneapolis man blew himself up oceans away in Somalia.

His death put Minnesota at the heart of a still unfolding multinational counterterrorism probe that has seen 20 Minnesotans indicted on terror-related charges, at least another nine killed in fighting overseas and a handful more arrested and convicted.

Others have been charged with fundraising or wiring money to a terror group in Somalia, and one of the men charged is scheduled to go on trial next month -- a first in the case.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder visited Minneapolis last month to reaffirm his office's commitment to rooting out those responsible for the recruiting of young Somali-Americans to return to Africa to fight for the terrorist group Al-Shabab.

Yet investigators appear no closer to unmasking a leader of the nebulous network that found foot soldiers in the Twin Cities.

The FBI's failure so far to publicly uncover a mastermind has spawned disillusionment among some in the local Somali community who wonder when, if ever, justice will be served.

"They know the big recruiters. The government knows everything," said Abdirizak Bihi, whose teenage nephew is believed to have been killed in Somalia in 2009 after joining Al-Shabab, which U.S. officials say is affiliated with Al-Qaida.

What federal officials dubbed Operation Rhino began following the suicide bombing committed by former Minneapolis resident Shirwa Ahmed in Somalia in October 2008.

Since then, investigators have identified 21 "travelers" and several more "middle men" who they contend raised money and arranged the travel of recruits to Africa. Many of those organizers, however, remain at large and are believed to be in Somalia. Special Agent E.K. Wilson of the FBI's Minneapolis office said he could not comment on how many of those at-large are still in Minnesota.

While limited in what he can say -- especially with the trial of alleged organizer Omer Abdi Mohamed set to begin July 19 -- Wilson acknowledged some things are clear.

Young men were recruited and indoctrinated by peers. Money was raised and travel arranged by those in "more of a leadership role," he said. But no kingpin has been revealed.

"It's evolving daily -- still," Wilson said of an investigation that has stretched from Minnesota to Canada, Europe and Australia. "We're still trying to put those pieces together and find out who did what. That's information we're refining and will still be working on for years to come."

What drives the FBI, Wilson said, is protecting America from the possibility that someone trained by terrorists overseas will return to carry out an attack here. That threat makes this investigation a priority, he said, although there has been no evidence of such a plot.

Until recently, the case had mostly slipped off the public radar. That changed when a second Minnesota suicide bomber was identified last week. Farah Mohamed Beledi's death in a hail of gunfire in Mogadishu rekindled frustration with the pace of the investigation.

Like many of the men who left, Beledi was known to have worshipped at Abubakar As-Saddique Islamic Center in Minneapolis -- the largest mosque in Minnesota.

Beledi didn't work at the center, but sometimes volunteered there, according to a recent statement from Abubakar's executive director, Hassan Jama. Beledi also spoke at a public open house at the center in February 2009, several months before he left the country.

"As for Farah's alleged travel and subsequent death in Somalia, the center has learned that from the media," Jama said in the statement.

To date, the FBI has found no evidence that mosque leaders, including Abubakar's, were responsible for the recruitment of those who went back to Somalia, Wilson said.

Bihi, who once defended the sometimes-methodical pace of U.S. justice, has lost patience.

"For a long time I would explain that this system is different. They need a lot of evidence. But now I'm running out of excuses," he said.

But the FBI's failure to nab a head conspirator may simply reflect reality, according to local attorney Stephen L. Smith, who has represented 20-30 witnesses and possible suspects.

Smith, who began getting calls in 2009 from local Somalis called to testify before a federal grand jury, said he wouldn't be surprised if investigators "had the top dog wrapped up."

But, he added, "I think there are people higher up. I don't think there's 'The One.'"

Smith said he is convinced there are people here and abroad who helped local men reach the Horn of Africa. The ongoing investigation appears to have slowed that traffic, he said, but young Somalis still may be slipping away to fight.

The Rest @ Naples News

Al Shabaab's Sheik Hassan Yaqub Reports Attacks by Apparent US Aircraft

MOGADISHU, Somalia — An airstrike from military aircraft hit a convoy carrying al-Qaida-linked militants in southern Somalia, witnesses said Friday. A Somali defense official said a "partner country" carried out the attack, while a militant leader confirmed that insurgents were wounded.

According to a resident in the coast town of Kismayo, planes struck a military convey as it drove along the coastline late Thursday. The resident, Mohamed Aden, said he saw three wounded militants in the city.

Sheik Hassan Yaqub, a leader of the Islamic rebel group al-Shabab, confirmed the attack and said two fighters were wounded.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the strike, but U.S. aircraft have attacked militants in Somalia before. A U.S. airstrike killed a senior al-Shabab leader in 2008, while a U.S. commando raid in 2009 killed the militant wanted for the 2002 car bombing of a Kenyan beach resort.

A U.S. Embassy spokesman in neighboring Nairobi, Kenya, said all calls on the issue needed to be referred to the Pentagon.

Abdirashid Mohamed Hidig, Somalia's deputy defense minister, said a "partner country" carried out the attack. He called it a successful military operation.

  • "The target was one of their (al-Shabab's) most important fortresses where foreigners were staying," he said.
  • "It's not only that attack but there will be further military attacks targeting them.
  • There are casualties inflicted to them but we shall release that information later."

The overnight strike near Kismayo occurred near a militant camp, leading some residents to assume the camp was being attacked.

"We heard bangs of explosions first and again after minutes, more loud blasts," said Ali Abdinur, a resident, said by phone. "I don't know what happened but the place was an al-Shabab camp."

Yaqub, the al-Shabab leader, talked to a militant-run radio station after the attack.

"Two enemy aircraft attacked our mujahedeen fighters at a time they were conducting a security patrol near Kismayo" he told the radio station.

Aden, the Kismayo resident, said aircraft flew over Kismayo and that there were then two loud bangs. Militants immediately cordoned off the area and ferried the wounded — and possibly any deaths — to the city.

Aden said he visited the scene of the attack and saw two destroyed pickup trucks and a third heavily damaged car.

"The damages to the cars indicate that there may have been deaths, but it is hard to confirm because the attack took place immediately after sunset and no one was allowed to access it until Friday morning," he said.

Aden said that al-Shabab fighters fired at the aircraft, including a helicopter.

The airstrikes came less than two weeks after a Somali soldier killed al-Qaida's top leader in Somalia, Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, who was wanted for his role in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Mohammed was carrying sophisticated weapons, maps, and correspondence when he was killed, a potential treasure trove of intelligence about militant activity in Somalia.

The U.S. has a military base in the small nation of Djibouti, which lies directly to the north of Somalia. The U.S. Navy also patrols off East Africa as part of the international anti-piracy effort.

Somalia has not had a functioning government for 20 years, the reason militancy and piracy have been able to flourish in the country.


Muhumed contributed from Nairobi, Kenya.

The Rest @ AP

Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Named Somali Prime Minister

Somalia's Transitional Federal Government has named a Somali-American Economist as the next Prime Minister.

President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed has chosen Abdiweli Mohamed Ali to replace Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed as prime minister. Ali has been serving as acting prime minister since the resignation of Mohamed on Sunday.

Speaking in Mogadishu, President Ahmed called Ali a good man and said he hoped he would improve the situation in Somalia.

A spokesman for the government, Abdifatah Abdinur, told VOA that Ali was chosen for his experience in the government and his extensive qualifications. “He is a very charismatic leader. He is one of the best educated men that we have in our country. He is experienced in the whole situation in Somalia and he was also playing a big role for the last administration. He is exactly what the country needs," he said.

Ali served as Minister for Planning and International Cooperation and as Deputy Prime Minister.

Ali, like his predecessor, is an American citizen who earned a living teaching in the Buffalo, New York area before returning to Somalia. He was a professor of economics at Niagara University, holds a masters degree from Harvard University and earned his doctorate in Economics from George Mason University.

Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed was forced out of the office by a deal struck in Kampala between President Ahmed and Speaker of Parliament Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden.

Ahmed and Aden had been engaged in a power-struggle over the future of the Somalia government. The TFG’s mandate was originally set to expire in August of this year, but the two agreed on a one-year extension on the mandates of both Parliament and the Federal Institutions in order to move the Somali government out of its transitional phase.

Mohamed’s resignation was reportedly a key demand made by the speaker, who was often at odds with the former prime minister during his seven-month tenure.

The deal provoked riots and demonstrations throughout southern Somalia, with many citizens angry over Mohamed’s ouster. While initially unwilling to resign, the popular prime minister eventually capitulated to pressure from the president and speaker and stepped down Sunday.

Mohamed was seen by average Somalis as a serious reformer who regularized pay for soldiers and civil servants and reopened schools within the war-torn capital, Mogadishu. But some observers believe he provoked the ire of Speaker Aden by failing to involve him in the formation of the Somali Cabinet.

Internationally, Mohamed received praise for abandoning the traditional clan-balancing formula and building a small, technocrat-heavy team.

A statement released by the Somali government said the new prime minister was “expected to consult with members of parliament and clan elders” as he forms his own Cabinet in the coming weeks.

Related Articles

Thursday, June 23, 2011

AQIM Reported to have SA-7 Ground to Air Missils

PARIS - They had Kalashnikovs and rocket launchers. Now, with the plundering of Libyan barracks AQIM fighters have military explosives and no doubt formidable anti-aircraft weapons.

  • The interception April 12 in the desert of Niger of arms smugglers carrying 640 kg of explosives, including Czech Semtex and 435 detonators has confirmed the worst fears of Western and regional services: the transfer to the strongholds of Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) of large lots of military weapons recovered thanks to the Libyan crisis.
  • According to the Nigerian security services, many of AQIM fighters were in the convoy.
  • "This confirms that the role of the Libyan Islamic radicals is not only to fight against Gaddafi but also to channel the flow of missiles and explosives. The goal is to revitalize the AQIM arms network," said in Algiers Mohamed Mokeddem expert, author of "France and armed Islamism".

  • "With the weapons looted from army barracks in Libya, they passed to the next level: the terrorists of Al Qaeda now have sophisticated weapons of war, and it's very worrying," he says, reached by telephone from Paris.

  • Since the occupation by the Libyan opposition of all the barracks in the east and the disappearance into unknown hands of thousands of tons of weapons, the alarm was raised in the region.

  • Last week, an official of the fight against terrorism in the region told AFP: "There is a great danger to see AQIM become one of the strongest armies in the Sahel. Many weapons have fallen into the hands of terrorists, mostly ground-air missiles."

  • Trafficking in small arms has always existed in the vastness of the Sahara and Sahel, intended for the tribes, rebellions, mafia groups and twenty years of Islamist actvities.

  • But the prospect of scattered including anti-aircraft missiles Russian-made SAM-7, of which hundreds have been stolen in Libya, changes the game and gives nightmares to the security forces in the region and beyond.

  • "The international intelligence services are very worried. This is a massive infusion of weapons in the international trafficking networks," says Eric Dénécé, director of the French research on intelligence, co-author of a report on the recent rebellion in Libya.

  • "Traffickers will first try to sell the goods as close to their area, to reduce the risk of being intercepted by the police and services, but nothing tells us that in a few months we do not find this material in Uzbekistan, Corsica and elsewhere ..." he told AFP.
  • The report, entitled "Libya, an uncertain future", published May 12, said: "Members of AQIM have acquired multiple copies of portable surface to air missiles of SAM-7 type from Libyan smugglers".
  • "On the SAM-7, there is no much doubt," says Eric Dénécé.
  • "Services in Mali and in Algerians say the same thing. Where did they go? It is another question ... And there's all what was exported by sea directly from Benghazi: Benghazi mafias are traditionally very active".

  • According to Mohamed Mokeddem, a U.S. delegation visited Algeria last week "to work on the traceability of such missiles. They are very concerned."

  • For if the SAM-7 would not be very useful for katibas (groups) of the Sahel AQIM, rarely threatened from the air, they could allow a shooter set in the end of an African airport to destroy almost certainly an airliner.

US Treasury Imposes Sanctions on Iran Air and Tidewater Middle East Company

Earlier today, the U.S. Treasury Department enacted sanctions against two major Islamic Republic [of Iran] commercial entities: Tidewater Middle East Co. and national air carrier Iran Air.

Tidewater is a port operating company owned by Mehr-e Eqtesad-e Iranian Investment Company, itself owned by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). The latest incident involving Tidewater was an arms shipment seized by Nigeria in October 2010, which was loaded at a port in Iran operated by Tidewater. Iran Air—a commercial airline—is accused of being used by the IRGC and the Islamic Republic’s defense ministry to transport military-related equipment.

Today’s sanctions not only tighten the grip on the IRGC, but also send a clear message to the allies of the Islamic Republic who may feel tempted to allow the Republic to use their transport infrastructure. Unfortunately, civilians may also suffer as an undesired side effect of the sanctions regime. Passengers to Tehran already experience prolonged trips and layovers in Yerevan, Armenia, because most European airports deny fuel to Iran Air, and the Iranian merchant class suffers under the weight of increased shipping prices and other commercial impediments.

But it isn’t U.S. sanctions that cause such suffering. Rather, it’s the self-serving policies of the Revolutionary Guards that have induced these hardships. Had the Guards not used civilian airliners, shipping lines, and port facilities to pursue its goals, average Iranians would not have to endure the unfortunate by-products of U.S. efforts to rein in the Islamic Republic’s most troublesome institution.

By Ali Alfoneh

The Rest @ The Enterprise Blog

AQAP Takes more Ground in Yemen

SANAA, Yemen — Islamic militants emboldened by months of turmoil in Yemen launched a surprise dawn attack Wednesday on a southern city, seizing entire neighborhoods after gunfights with government forces, security officials said.

The militants, believed to include al-Qaida members, were in control of several neighborhoods of Houta, the provincial capital of Lahj province, the officials said.

The attack came a day after a senior U.S. official said Washington was worried that the ongoing unrest in Yemen could fuel connections between al-Qaida-linked militants in the Arab nation and al-Shabab insurgents in Somalia.

Daniel Benjamin, the State Department's counterterror coordinator, also said insurgents in Yemen were now operating more in the open and have been able to acquire and hold more territory.

The Yemeni security officials also said that bands of militants drove through some neighborhoods in the southern port city of Aden early Wednesday, opening fire on security forces. They had no further details. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to talk to the media.

Islamic militants, taking advantage of more than four months of political upheaval in Yemen, had attacked and seized two other southern cities in Abyan province in late May.

Massive anti-regime protests have swept much of the country since February, and rival forces are squaring up to each other in the capital Sanaa after days of fierce street fighting earlier this month.

Ali Abdullah Saleh, the country's president of nearly 33 years, is in neighboring Saudi Arabia for treatment from wounds he suffered in a rocket attack on his compound in Sanaa.

The capture of Zinjibar and Jaar in Abyan province and Wednesday's attacks in Houta and Aden suggest a further weakening of the central government's authority that, if left unchecked, could cause the impoverished nation in the southern corner of the Arabian Peninsula to unravel or fall deeper into chaos.

Residents in Shabwa, one of the al-Qaida strongholds in southern Yemen, have been reporting intensifying overflights by U.S. drones, suggesting the Americans were keeping close watch on the situation.

The CIA is trying to speed up construction of a Persian Gulf base for its drones, but the process is being held up by logistic delays, U.S. officials said in Washington. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive security matters, said the base is at least eight months away from completion.

The Associated Press has withheld the exact location at the request of U.S. officials.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mark Ture Somerville and Abdi Raha Aki in Kenyan Custody

Two people being held by the police in Mombasa for allegedly being major financiers of terrorism activities will be deported to the United States.

The couple was flown to Nairobi on Saturday to pick up their two children at their Eastleigh house before being deported.

According to sources close to police investigations, the two suspects have a case to answer in the US where they are said to have escaped from custody about seven years ago.

Two suspects

Mark Ture Somerville (American) and Abdi Raha Aki (Somali) were picked up at a hotel in Bondeni last Thursday night by a special police force that had been trailing them for several weeks.

On Friday night, the two were released from the Coast provincial police headquarters after being questioned over the allegations for more than 14 hours.

According to deputy Anti-Terror Police Unit (ATPU) boss Njiru Mwaniki, the police could not continue holding them since they had committed no offence in Kenya.

The pair was picked up near the hotel where a Kenyan allegedly involved in planning the 1998 US embassy bombing in Nairobi was arrested in 2002.

The Kenyan, Mohammed Abdulmalik, is currently being held in the US prison at Guantanamo Bay.

A source within ATPU said the two suspects had evaded arrest in different countries within and outside Africa.

Tri-border looking at Lebanon

Someone in the tri-border region of South American is looking for information on an obscure city in Lebanon on the Syrian Border.

IP Address: , Edelira, Itapua, Paraguay 100 mi sw of Ciudad del Este In the Triborder area of South America, searched for a City in Lebanon on the Border of Syria "dahir eil baidar". (Slightly misspelled) "Dahir El Baider"

19th June 2011 16:13:40 GWT

search for a City in Lebanon on the Border of Syria "dahir eil baidar". (Slightly misspelled) "Dahir El Baider"

IP Address:
ISP: Telecel S.a.
Entry Page Time: 19th June 2011 16:13:40
Visit length: 0 seconds
Browser: Chrome 12.0
OS: Win7
Resolution: 1280x1024
Location: Edelira, Itapua, Paraguay
Returning Visits: 19th June 2011 16:13:40
Entry Page: Shimron Letters: Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys Prouodly Recruits Child Soldiers
Exit Page: Shimron Letters: Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys Prouodly Recruits Child Soldiers
Referring URL:

Saturday, June 18, 2011

islamic Financial Institutions (outside Pakistan and Iran)

  • Australia Islamic Investment Company, Melbourne.
  • Bahamas Dar al Mal al Islami,
  • Nassau Islamic Investment Company Ltd,
  • Nassau, Masraf Faisal Islamic Bank & Trust, Bahamas Ltd.

  • Bahrain Albaraka Islamic Investment Bank,
  • Manama, Bahrain Islamic Bank, Manama,
  • Bahrain Islamic Investment Company, Manama,
  • Islamic Investment Company of the Gulf,
  • Masraf Faisal al Islami, Bahrain.

Bangladesh Islamic Bank of Bangladesh Ltd, Dhaka.

Denmark Islamic Bank International of Denmark, Copenhagen.

  • Egypt Albaraka Nile Valley Company, Cairo,
  • Arab Investment Bank (Islamic Banking Operations), Cairo.
  • Bank Misr (Islamic Branches), Cairo,
  • Faisal Islamic Bank of Egypt, Cairo,
  • General Investment Company, Cairo,
  • Islamic International Bank for Investment and Development, Cairo,
  • Islamic Investment and Development Company, Cairo,
  • Nasir Social Bank, Cairo.

Guinea Islamic Investment Company of Guinea, Conakry,

Masraf Faisal al Islami of Guinea, Conakry.

India Baitun Nasr Urban Cooperative Society, Bombay.

  • Jordan Islamic Investment House Company Ltd Amman,
  • Jordan Finance House, Amman, Jordan Islamic
  • Bank for Finance and Investment, Amman. Kibris (Turkish Cyprus)
  • Faisal Islamic Bank of Kibris, Lefkosa.

Kuwait Al Tukhaim International Exchange Company, Safat.,

Kuwait Finance House, Safat.

Liberia African Arabian Islamic Bank, Monrovia.

  • Liechtenstein Arinco Arab Investment Company, Vaduz,

  • Islamic Banking System Finance S.A. Vaduz. Luxembourg
  • Islamic Finance House Universal Holding S.A.
  • Malaysia Bank Islam Malaysia Berhad, Kuala Lumpur,
  • Pilgrims Management and Fund Board, Kuala Lumpur.
  • Mauritania Albaraka Islamic Bank, Mauritania.

  • Niger Faisal Islamic Bank of Niger, Niamy.

  • Philippines Philippine Amanah Bank, Zamboanga.

  • Qatar Islamic Exchange and Investment Company, Doha, Qatar Islamic Bank.

  • Saudi Arabia Albaraka Investment and Development Company, Jeddah, Islamic Development Bank, Jeddah.

  • Senegal Faisal Islamic Bank of Senegal, Dakar, Islamic Investment Company of Senegal, Dakar.

South Africa JAAME Ltd, Durban.

  • Sudan Bank al Baraka al Sudani, Khartoum,
  • Faisal Islamic Bank of Sudan, Khartoum,
  • Islamic Bank of Western Sudan, Khartoum,
  • Islamic Cooperative Development Bank, Khartoum,
  • Islamic Investment Company of Sudan, Khartoum, Sudan
  • Islamic Bank, Khartoum, Tadamun
  • Islamic Bank, Khartoum, Jersey
  • The Islamic Investment Company, St Helier, Masraf Faisal al Islami, St Helier.

  • Switzerland Dar al Mal al Islami, Geneva.,
  • Islamic Investment Company Ltd, Geneva,
  • Shariah Investment Services, PIG, Geneva.

Thailand Arabian Thai Investment Company Ltd, Bangkok.

Tunisia Bank al Tamwil al Saudi al Tunisi.

Turkey Albaraka Turkish Finance House, Istanbul,

Faisal Finance Institution, Istanbul.

U.A.E. Dubai Islamic Bank, Dubai, Islamic Investment Company Ltd, Sharjah.

  • U.K. Albaraka International Ltd, London,
  • Albaraka Investment Co. Ltd, London,
  • Al Rajhi Company for Islamic Investment Ltd, London,
  • Islamic Finance House Public Ltd Co., London.

The list includes Islamic banks as well as Islamic investment companies but it does not include Islamic insurance or takaful companies. Source: Siddiqi (l988)

South Africa Looking for Sharia INvestment

1 September 2010

South African Islamic investors and financiers are likely to be recognised via a new insertion in the Income Tax Act, says consultancy firm Grant Thornton SA, enabling the country to attract further foreign investors to its financial markets.

Islamic finance is derived from the Shariah, and essentially involves profit and risk sharing and forbids the paying or receiving of interest or investment in certain industries.

"Interest is considered economically harmful by Shariah law, as the extension of credit increases money supply, which stimulates demand for goods and services but does not always result in real, tangible economic activity," Grant Thornton tax consultant Tasneem Gangat said in a statement last month.

"It believes interest-bearing transactions result in economic ills, including issues such as high inflation and unemployment."

Three account types

The proposed new section takes into account three types of Islamic financing and will be aligned to Shariah law.

For investment account agreements, or Mudarabah, tax will be payable on any profits derived by the client as these will be deemed as interest, thus making them taxable at the hand of the client.

Any Murahaba, or financing transactions, between a client and the financier will see "marked up" amounts within the agreement as the taxable amount payable in favour of the bank for tax purposes.

For joint ownership financing – known as Diminishing Musharaka – the client purchases the bank's "portion" of ownership in the asset over time, and the amount paid monthly to the bank includes both the premium payable and taxable amount owed to the bank.

Growing investment trend

According to Grant Thornton, South Africa joins Australia, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and a growing number of other non-Muslim countries developing their Islamic finance sector by changing regulations to attract investors who can only put their money in Shariah-compliant assets.

The changes will be effective from a date to be announced by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

Shariah law states that the emphasis on economic activity must ensure that money changes hands (from provider to user), accompanied by an increase in trade, manufacture, service provision and, as a result, employment.

The basis of Islamic finance is equity through profit and loss sharing schemes and rental income, usually mutually developed through agreements between the bank and client. The Islamic financier will assume the risk of the purpose of the funds he is investing and share in pre-agreed ratios in profit or loss which result from the transactions.

"The principles of investment management such as sector diversification, low risk versus high risk, income versus capital growth et cetera, will still apply to an Islamic investor, but the manner in which these objectives are achieved, as well as the investments utilised, will differ from conventional finance," said Gangat.

The Rest @ South Africa Info