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Ottawa Citizen report: Saudis are funding radicals in Canada

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  • Tarek Fatah
    Friends, Read this report with a pinch of salt. The writer and the newspaper are not known for their empathy towards the Muslim community. However, the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 31, 2004

      Read this report with a pinch of salt. The writer and the newspaper are not
      known for their empathy towards the Muslim community. However, the
      newspaper makes some specific allegations about mosques hosting clear
      anti-Jewish literature on their websites and of mosques receiving funding
      from Saudi Arabia.

      Tarek Fatah
      Friday, July 30, 2004

      Saudis fund radicals in Canada
      Centre propagating Islamic extremism given millions: U.S.

      By Robert Fife
      Ottawa Citizen

      OTTAWA - Saudi Arabia is funding radical Islamic extremism in Canada, where
      King Fahd has contributed millions of dollars to a mysterious Islamic centre
      in Toronto, a U.S. panel on terrorist financing says.

      The Saudis have also funded mosques in Ottawa and Calgary and an Islamic
      centre in Quebec, according to official statements from the Saudi

      A task force report on terrorist financing by the Council on Foreign
      Relations, which included former White House counterterrorist chief Richard
      Clarke and David Cohen, the CIA's former director of operations, says U.S.
      strategic interests are threatened by Saudi efforts to extend its brand of
      extremist Islam to North America and elsewhere.

      ''Saudi Arabia funds the global propagation of Wahabism, a brand of Islam
      that, in some instances, supports militancy by encouraging divisiveness and
      violent acts against Muslims and non-Muslims,'' the report said.

      ''This massive spending is helping to create the next generation of
      terrorists and therefore constitutes a paramount strategic threat to the
      United States.... This massive spending is an integral part of the terrorist
      financing problem. It fosters virulence and intolerance directly at the
      United States, Christians, Jews and even other Muslims.''

      The task force said Saudi Arabia has spent hundreds of millions of dollars
      to fund 210 Islamic centres and 1,359 mosques around the world, including in

      It cites an official Saudi report in 2002 that stated ''King Fahd donated
      $5-million US for the cost of an Islamic Center in Toronto, Canada, in
      addition to $1.5-million US annually to run the facility.''

      The Saudi government's official Web site also said King Fahd provided funds
      to the Calgary mosque, the Ottawa mosque and the Islamic centre in Quebec.

      Toronto has numerous Islamic centres and the Saudi embassy in Ottawa refused
      to say which received millions of dollars from King Fahd.

      CanWest News Service was also unable to determine the identity of the
      Saudi-financed centre, despite numerous telephone calls to Islamic
      organizations in Toronto, including the Salaheddin Islamic Centre, which
      preaches Wahabism and has been a target of investigations by the Canadian
      Security Intelligence Service and the RCMP.

      The Salaheddin centre runs a mosque and a private elementary school where
      the Khadr family and other radicals linked to Osama bin Laden belong and
      where the organization's Web site preaches against Jews and Christians.

      ''Why do we hate the Jews? We hate them for the sake of Our Lord, we hate
      them for the sake of Allaah because they slandered Allaah and they killed
      and slandered His Prophets,'' according to one of many statements against
      Jews and Christians on the Web site.

      ''The purpose of jihad in Islam is not ... to shed the blood of Kaafirs
      [disbelievers] and take their wealth; rather the purpose is so that all
      religion will be for Allaah alone, and the religion of Allaah will prevail
      over all other religions.''

      Imam Aly Hindy of the Salaheddin Centre and Toronto director of the Canadian
      Islamic Congress, a place of worship for 2,500 Muslims, did not return phone
      calls. The former principal of the Salaheddin school, Mahmoud Jaballah, has
      been held in detention and is facing extradition to Egypt on suspicion of
      links to bin Laden's elusive second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

      The Islamic Centre of Canada and the Jami Islamic Centre -- both based in
      Toronto -- denied receiving any Saudi money.

      The imam of the Ottawa Mosque, Dr. Gamal Solaiman, could not say how much
      money the Saudis provided his mosque, nor did he know which Islamic centre
      in Toronto was funded by the Saudis.

      Dr. Solaiman referred all inquiries about Saudi funding to the mosque's
      board of directors, but they did not return phone calls. Hussein Paiman of
      the Calgary Mosque, whose imam was a professor at Saudi Arabia's King Saud
      University, also did not know how much the Saudis had contributed.

      The Islamic Centre in Quebec -- run by Sheikh Syed Bukhari, a graduate of
      Madina University in Saudi Arabia, was also unable to discuss Saudi funding.

      All three institutions are posted on the Saudi government Web site as
      receiving an unspecified amount of money from the kingdom, but their
      individual Web sites do not appear to preach radical Islamic doctrines.

      The task force, which also included former deputy U.S. treasury secretary
      Stuart Eizenstat, said Saudi Arabia is training and sending radical clerics
      abroad to propagate extremism and said every Saudi embassy has a well-funded
      branch that provides ''inflammatory materials'' to mosques and Islamic

      ''This spending is fundamentally problematic from the standpoint of U.S.
      strategic interests. We find that it must be directly, immediately and
      unequivocally addressed,'' the report said.

      The task force said Saudi Arabia has recently taken steps to curtail its
      charities from financing terrorism and money-laundering, but noted the
      kingdom has not arrested or jailed anyone, even though ''Saudi Arabia has
      been the most significant source of funds for al-Qaeda.''

      ''Not only have there been no publicly announced arrests in Saudi Arabia
      related to terrorist financing, but key financiers remain free or go
      unpunished,'' it said.

      The panel also said Riyadh has done little to stop the ''radicalization of
      millions of Muslims'' through the global spread of Wahabism.

      The report called on the U.S. government to demand an accounting of the
      support and money the Saudis provide to religious schools, mosques, centres
      of learning and other religious organizations globally.
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