S. Arabia To Close Charities
- Riyadh To Close Charities
Some of targeted charities have been established by royal decrees
By Fawaz Mohammad, IOL Correspondent
RIYADH, March 29 (IslamOnline.net) Saudi Arabia is set to close all
charities and relief organizations outside the kingdom and place
their funds and properties under the control of a newly established
governmental body, well-places Saudi sources revealed Sunday, March
Among the targeted organizations are the World Assembly of the Muslim
Youth (WAMY), the Islamic Relief International, the Islamic Waqfs and
the Saudi Joint Committee for the Relief of Kosovo and Chechnya
(SJRC), the sources, speaking on condition not to be named, told
The activities of the yet-to-be dismantled charities would be
exclusively run by the state-run Saudi Civil Council for Relief and
Charity Work Overseas, which was set up last month by a royal decree
by King Fahd.
The sources said the Saudi move is expected to have a domino effect
on some 100 charities worldwide.
The new body would announce its statutes and modus operandi as soon
as the procedures of its establishment are completed.
It will be run by a group of Saudi "citizens involved in charity work
and renowned for their experience, integrity and good reputation",
according to the royal decree.
WAMY Secretary General Salih Al-Wehabi told IOL that a Saudi
ministerial committee has been already set up to put the royal decree
into effect, voicing concerns about the consequences of the king's
Some of the targeted charities have been established by Saudi royal
decrees and chaired by ministers and senior officials.
Wehabi hoped that the activities of the licensed charities, like WAMY
and the Islamic Relief, would not be restricted and melted into the
Wehabi said the new body should work in tandem with the licensed
Saudi charities, while other non-official organizations should work
under its umbrella.
Established in Saudi Arabia in 1972 by a royal decree, WAMY is an
independent international organization and a member of the United
WAMY's headquarters are based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It also has
presence in 55 countries and an associate membership of over 500
youth organizations around the world. Its budget for the FY 2002/03
stood at 175 million Saudi Rials.
Analysts believe the kingdom has yielded to Washington, which has
been laying huge pressures on Arab and Islamic countries,
particularly Saudi Arabia to regulate charity operations, claiming
that funds usually end up in the hands of "terrorists."
The kingdom decided last December to shut down Islamic affairs
divisions in all Saudi embassies around the world.
In January 2004, four branches of the Saudi Al-Haramain Islamic
Foundation -- in Indonesia, Kenya, Tanzania and Pakistan -- were
added to a U.S. list of groups and individuals suspected of
bankrolling "terrorism", effectively freezing any assets they hold in
the United States.
In August 2003, U.S. President George Bush froze the assets of five
pro-Palestinians charities abroad, depriving Palestinian orphans of
their much-needed aid.
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