British Charity linked to Bangladeshi Terrorism


by Sid (Faisal)
26th March, 2009 at 2:00 pm    

This news story broke yesterday via the Bangladeshi newspaper, the Daily Star:

In a chilling reminder of how the militants are still alive and kicking, the Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) yesterday unearthed a mini-ammunition factory inside a madrasa-cum-orphanage in a remote village of Bhola.

During the bust, they recovered a huge cache of firearms and ammunition, explosive substances, four pairs of German-made uniforms and booklets on jihad, Moulana Moududi and al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden.

Besides, the elite crime-busters arrested four suspected militants–Abul Kalam, Abdul Halim, Jasim and Moulana Mohammad Russell.

Earlier at night, the coastal district’s Superintendent of Police Azizur Rahman told The Daily Star that the arrestees did not yet disclose their organisational identity. But the materials seized suggest they are lined to a banned Islamist group like Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB).

The raid of a madrassa (seminary) run by a banned Bangladeshi jihadist group called the JMB is significant. The madrassa-orphanage was a cover for a small explosives and ordinances factory. But what is quickly established is a British link to this story.

The Green Crescent Madrassah is directly funded by the UK charity, the Green Crescent. The charity lists one Faisal Mostafa of Stockport as trustee and first point of contact of Green Crescent. Mostafa holds a PhD in chemistry from Manchester Polytechnic and was known to security forces in Britain.

Faisal Mostafa has a record of arrests, brushes with the law and lucky escapes which go back to 1996. He has twice been tried by British courts on suspicion of planning terrorist attacks in the UK. In 1996 he was arrested and tried for conspiring to cause explosions after chemicals, timers and detonators were discovered his house. Six year later, he was acquitted of this charge (after claiming he was writing a book on explosives) but was found guilty of possessing a pistol with intent to endanger life. In 2000, he was arrested again and charged with planning to cause explosions after police discovered a large cache of explosives in Birmingham. In 2002, he was acquitted of this charge – although his co-defendant was convicted and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for the same charge.

In July 2008 he was stopped at Manchester Airport as he tried to board a plane to Bangladesh with gas-powered pistol and bullet parts in his luggage. He said the gun was a gift for his brother, adding that he was going on a hunting and fishing trip with wife and three children. The charge carried a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment but he was sentenced to 56 days in jail, suspended for two years and 100 hours’ community service.

This is what an aeronautical engineer friend tells me: “In the 2002 case, he told the jury that the chemicals/explosives were to make fireworks. Luckily for him, the jury didn’t know that according to the 1875 Explosives Act, no ‘gunpowder’ (propellants, pryrotechnics or explosives) can be manufactured outside a licenced factory, approved by the HSE Explosives Unit in Bootle, Liverpool. So, that’s a criminal offence in itself. Besides, HMTD isn’t a chemical used in fireworks.”

So what was going on?

Although the Bangladeshi security services are only in the early stages of investigating the Bhola orphanage and its links to the Green Crescent charity, the evidence so far indicates that there are substantial links between this British charity and Bangladeshi Islamist militants.

If the Green Crescent charity has indeed been involved in militant activity, this will reflect very poorly on the UK Charity Commission – particularly given that Mostafa, the head of the charity, had previously been put on trial twice for terrorist offences. Ineffectiveness by the Charity Commission in identifying and tackling extremist charities leads to the British taxpayer directly subsiding militancy and extremism.

It is worth noting that “fundathons” on Bangladeshi satellite TV channels such as BanglaTV and Channel S raise hundreds of thousands of pounds by Islamic organisations. These groups often have no track record of charity work in Britain and quite often, not even registered by the Charity Commission. TV viewers simply donate money in good faith, hoping that their hard-earned cash will be used on well-deserving causes.

Where are these funds actually going to and what use are these large amounts of money being put to? I am not aware if Green Crescent have ever raised funds via these TV channels however. ITN reports that it raised £60,000 last year.


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Filed in: Islamists,Muslim,Organisations,Terrorism






26 Comments below   |  

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  1. pickles

    New blog post: Bangladeshi Terrorism and British Charities http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/3910


  2. Pickled Politics » Snakes Alive!

    [...] investigations of the personnel running the Green Crescent Madrassa, after a raid last week uncovered a small arms and explosives factory doubling as an orphanage. Four militant Islamists have been [...]




  1. SE — on 26th March, 2009 at 3:38 pm  

    I wonder why you didn’t include that his uncle is an Uncle tom (literally) and has links to the BNP?

  2. platinum786 — on 26th March, 2009 at 3:39 pm  

    I’m amazed he got away with so much. At least in Bangladesh he will be sent down. People like this are disgusting, they’re the scum who are trying to tear the world apart and need to be taken out.

    How he got off the bomb making is shocking in itself, who creates fireworks in a Mosque?! When was the last time someone attended a Muslim event with a fireworks display? It was total bull. He was caught with a guy making bombs, what was he doing, making fireworks on the side?

    Then in 2008, a suspended sentence for trying to take a gun onto a plane. Surely that should be a 5 year minimum. Judging by his past convictions it should be asked whether he wanted to hijack a plane. Who hunts with a pistol anyway? The amount of BS this guy has got away with is beyond a joke.

    The people who are going to suffer the most in all this are the orphans in that orphange. They’re not going to get any councilling, any re-educating, maybe not even re-housing. To think people have donated thousands, not rich people, poor working class people in Britain have donated thousands to this man, hoping they can make the lives of those even less fortunate than them better, and this guy has been spending that money, trying to raise a private army, probably to kill inside Bangladesh.

  3. Rumbold — on 26th March, 2009 at 5:01 pm  

    Excellent piece Sid. Thanks. From the newspaper reports (certainly the ones I read), one hardly hears anything about his past, only that he was acquitted twice.

  4. monitor_islamic_fundraising — on 26th March, 2009 at 6:49 pm  

    It’s high time the govt did something about the lunatic Islamic fringe in this country. Policy right now is a total shambles. And places like Bangladesh pay the price.

    MONITOR all Islamic fundraising show on TV. No ifs, no buts.

  5. Ashik — on 26th March, 2009 at 8:17 pm  

    I wouldn’t put much credence in this story until the Awami League government can put a watertight case against this guy (probably targetted because of his militant Islamist background) in a court of law. The Bangladeshi police and judiciary are highly politicised and unprofessional, so I wouldn’t hold my breath. Doctrinaire elements of the party in power at the moment in Bangladesh have a track-record of hostility toward religious organisations and trying to get international attention to shore up their govt. Just like it’s opponents in the BNP use Islam as a political tool.

    Part of the reason Islamist extremism is growing in Bangladesh is because the AL and BNP use Islam as a political vehicle when it suits them.

  6. Rumbold — on 26th March, 2009 at 8:22 pm  

    Ashik:

    Whatever the facts of the case it is fair to say that this guy had form.

  7. Ashik — on 26th March, 2009 at 8:40 pm  

    Rumbold, generic accusations of funding terrorism made bv the author against British-based satellite channels like Channel Sylhet and Bangla TV are a bit rich when the author Sid is associated with a secular UK-based Bengali ‘Human Rights’ organisation called Drishtipat which raises funds for highly political initiatives in Bangladesh and itself is not registered with the Charities Commission.

    Lets not lose perspective. The vast majority of British Bangladeshi charitable work in Bangladesh takes place in the Greater Sylhet region (nowhere near where this incident took place), usually through family networks in the locality. It’s got nothing to do with politics. Lets not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

  8. Rumbold — on 26th March, 2009 at 9:08 pm  

    Ashik:

    I don’t like to comment on people’s personal lives, but I can’t see the problem with an organisation that isn’t registered with the Charity Commission being political (if it is).

    I am sure that a lot of charity work is carried out in the Greater Sylhet region, and those involved deserve nothing but praise.

  9. Andrew — on 27th March, 2009 at 7:20 am  

    This press release from the Quilliam Foundation suggests a possible Hizb ut-Tahrir connection.

    http://www.quilliamfoundation.org/index.php/component/content/article/486

    Links to Andreas Tzortzis (aka Hamza Tzortzis)

    Andreas Tzortzis, a UK-based Islamist speaker and lecturer, is listed as a trustee of the Green Crescent charity on the Charity Commission’s website. Tzortzis has close links with Hizb ut-Tahrir and regularly speaks at Islamist events across the UK. This evening, for example, he will be speaking at Birmingham University on the subject ‘Sharia law: Barbaric or Misunderstood’. Tzortzis is also a regular guest on the Islam Channel, a number of whose regular presenters are members of Hizb ut-Tahrir.

  10. billericaydicky — on 27th March, 2009 at 9:09 am  

    Let’s keep it in perspective. The BNP and their Jammati allies recently lost the general election heavily and are now more or less a rump. As has been pointed out this is taking place in the far south of the country while the bulk of Bangladeshis in this country are from the North East.

    Having lived in Bangladesh I can say that it certainly doesn’t come across as anything like Pakistan or Afganistan. You will see more burkas on the Whitechapel Rd than in Dhaka or Syhlet.

    Quite what the comments about the Bangla police being politicised are about I don’t know, either the equipment was found or it wasn’t and the main guy has definately got form for this sort of thing.

    Interesting thing about, I think Channel S, was that some of the people involved have recently been convicted of a major insurance fraud involving non existent high value cars. A lot of money disappeared and there are rumours that some of it was for Islamist causes.

  11. munir — on 27th March, 2009 at 11:32 am  

    ” via the Bangladeshi newspaper, the Daily Star:”

    Are they as credible as their UK equivalent. Or just an Awami league supporting rag?

    “four pairs of German-made uniforms and booklets on jihad, Moulana Moududi and al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden.”

    A pathethic attempt to link Maududi and JI who oppose terrorism to Al Qaida. Maybe if they found a booklet of poetry Muhammed Iqbal should be arrested, or a Yusuf Ali translation he should be implicated

    Andrew
    “Links to Andreas Tzortzis (aka Hamza Tzortzis)

    Andreas Tzortzis, a UK-based Islamist speaker and lecturer, is listed as a trustee of the Green Crescent charity on the Charity Commission’s website. Tzortzis has close links with Hizb ut-Tahrir and regularly speaks at Islamist events across the UK. This evening, for example, he will be speaking at Birmingham University on the subject ‘Sharia law: Barbaric or Misunderstood’. Tzortzis is also a regular guest on the Islam Channel, a number of whose regular presenters are members of Hizb ut-Tahrir.”

    More guilt by association- Hamza Tzortzis is brilliant speaker/author on the Quran and its linguistic briliance.

    http://www.theinimitablequran.com/

    No wonder the Muslim haters want to take him down

  12. Sid — on 27th March, 2009 at 12:00 pm  

    munir

    Still trying desperately to equate militant Islamist extremism with mainstream Islam? Still trying to make Muslims who kill other Muslims to be the good guys?

  13. fug — on 27th March, 2009 at 12:03 pm  

    The chap in question could easily be a playful pyromaniac with no malice. I hope he is and that someone is not drunk with islamist burning fever in bangladeshi security establishment. Interestingly, and fishily, werent the security agencies meant to be focussing on leads in the BDR mutiny?

    Munir, that join the dots approach to linking all sorts of islam-as-social-polity perspectives is typical of the english speaking papers in bangladesh. They can do it because their readers are all paranoid and frankley programmed not to know any better. They have the same attitude to Islamists that others have to Jews. They have a Jionijom that mirrors Zionism.

    Why these stories need to be taken with a pinch of salt is because the paranoid imprints of the drunken who sell them always tend to mirror the ‘islamist terror’ broken record. The growth of this bangladeshi muttering class is inextricably linked to the growth of development buzzwordism.

    This is because society over their still has not resolved ‘the funding problem’ and organised over local needs and ideas. The captive mind is strong in the decision making section of society.

    It doesnt mean its not true, but should be questioned.

  14. munir — on 27th March, 2009 at 12:18 pm  

    Sid

    “munir
    Still trying desperately to equate militant Islamist extremism with mainstream Islam? ”

    It has nothing to do with the mainstream islam issue. If you are saying that JI have some positions in variance to mainstream Islam Id agree with you. But JI dont condone terrorism as you try for your own agenda to potray them.

    Mainstream Islam is the 4 Sunni schools of thoughts (Hanafi/Shafi/Maliki/Hanbali) 2 schools of aqeeda (Ashari/Maturidi) and the orthodox sharia based Sufi tariqas.

    Al Qaeda and the progressive Muslims are not part of mainstream islam

    Id be fascinated to know what someone like you, who considers Akbar to have been mainstream, thinks constitutes mainstream islam.

    “Still trying to make Muslims who kill other Muslims to be the good guys?”

    When did I ever do that, you liar?

  15. Sid — on 27th March, 2009 at 12:26 pm  

    The chap in question could easily be a playful pyromaniac with no malice.

    haha!
    yep, the key word being ‘maniac’:

    The recovery included four handguns, four shotguns, 3000 ‘splinters’ for bombs, 900 rounds of bullets, eight magazines, two binoculars, two remote-control devices, six life jackets, 20 facemasks, two walkie-talkies and as many mobile phones. A number of books on Jihad were also recovered.

  16. fug — on 27th March, 2009 at 12:55 pm  

    Assuming its not planted, its been clear from past excavations jmb exploit remote areas and people. an island like bhola is definitively remote. in such areas there is little protection and all sorts of territorial violence is/was common place.

    The conscious link between the individual and that group, the charity and that group should be established to see if it exists. His previous nonmalicious chemical play docent necessarily make him guilty. RAB and co are under preassure to yield results. A britisher would make an easy scapegoat for governments and political forces in both countries.

  17. Andrew — on 27th March, 2009 at 1:25 pm  

    “No wonder the Muslim haters want to take him down”

    This is from a press release by the Quilliam Foundation. Are they ‘Muslim haters’?

  18. fug — on 27th March, 2009 at 3:12 pm  

    ^ Yes. They are rent-a-gobs with personal histories in non-violent 3rd rate political islam, angst against their experiences theirin, embarrassing identity ishoos and capitalist axes to grind.

  19. munir — on 27th March, 2009 at 4:00 pm  

    Andrew

    “This is from a press release by the Quilliam Foundation. Are they ‘Muslim haters’?”

    They form a convenient shield Muslim haters can hide behind and say “look they are Muslims and they say it too”

    Honestly their rhetoric is absurd. Sharia is Muslim law. To call someone who defends and believes in it “an Islamist” is absurd. All Muslims do.

  20. Andrew — on 27th March, 2009 at 4:19 pm  

    I know the Quilliam Foundation is an anti-extremism think tank and has received a lot of taxpayers’ money. Would you say they have much support? I don’t know anything about this Tzortzis person. Why doesn’t the QF like him? Does he have anything to do with Hizb ut-Tahrir?

  21. qidniz — on 27th March, 2009 at 6:15 pm  

    But JI dont condone terrorism

    Of course they don’t! Needless to say, the “terrorism” they don’t condone doesn’t exist, and what they do condone isn’t terrorism. Obviously.

  22. fug — on 27th March, 2009 at 8:35 pm  

    They have support amongst bemused white people and a section of the political adminstrative structure, for now.

    They probably hate Tzortzis because he is far more intelligent than they are and probably supports ideas of muslim political organisation that they reject.

    its quite easy for a muslim with familiarity with the ‘muslim organisational field’ to see Quillam for what they are. May i refer you to a previous rant of mine. http://fugstar.blogspot.com/2008/01/more-lessons-on-rentboys.html

  23. Ashik — on 28th March, 2009 at 12:21 am  

    If this incident leads to the Charities Commission tightening guidelines on charitable work in foreign lands, it can only be a welcome outcome. However, such scrutiny should not only single out Islamic charities but secular ones as well. After all charitable contributions used to further secular violent politics is just as bad as Islamist militancy. We should oppose all forms of political violence.

    Rumbold, here is an article where the BNP Minister of Law accuses Drishtipat of being pro-Awami League. I have never heard of a politically partisan Human Rights group being credible or effective.

    http://www.thedailystar.net/2005/02/08/d50208020532.htm

  24. abu — on 29th March, 2009 at 10:20 am  

    Ashik,
    just clicked on the link…so what’s your point?

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