Saudis and U.S. Act against Assets of Bosnian and Somali Branches of Islamic Charity

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Wednesday, May 1, 2002
Bruce Zagaris
On March 12 2002, U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul H. O’Neill announced the U.S. and Saudi Arabian Government had taken joint action to deprive funding to the Bosnian and Somali branches of the al Haramain Islamic Foundations, representing the first public measure by the Saudis to assist U.S. efforts to disrupt money for the al Qaeda terrorist network. According to a media report, U.S. officials have said the enforcement action results from cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the U.S. In particular, Saudi Arabia has shared with the U.S. information from some of the financial records of charities and closed alleged terrorist-affiliated bank accounts. Treasury officials explained that the Somali branch of al Haramain was ostensibly receiving money from headquarters to operate orphanages, Islamic schools and mosques. In reality, the branch diverted funds to a Somali group known as al-Itihadd al-Islamiya, which the U.S. Government alleges is a terrorist organization connected with bin Laden’s al Qaeda network.