Ottawa Citizen report: Saudis are funding radicals in Canada
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.
Friday, July 30, 2004
Saudis fund radicals in Canada
Centre propagating Islamic extremism given millions: U.S.
By Robert Fife
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.