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In Pakistan, Ramadan Charity Donations Benefit the Taliban

8:31 AM, Aug 8, 2012 • By STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
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In another example of the verbal camouflage practiced by Pakistan’s Islamist extremists, Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM—Muhammad’s Army), which organizes attacks in Kashmir, is categorized as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the State Department, and was prohibited by Pakistan in 2002. But JeM has been renamed as Tehreek-e-Khuddam-ul-Islam (TKI—Movement of Servants of Islam), with a fundraising arm, the Al Rehmat Trust (ART—Mercy Trust).

In addition, the Al-Rashid Trust (also ART, but meaning The Righteous Trust) in Pakistan was banned as al Qaeda-associated by the United Nations Security Council and designated a financier of terrorism by the U.S. Treasury almost immediately after the atrocities of September 11, 2001. The Al-Akhtar Trust (AAT—Star Trust), was identified as a Pakistan-based financier of terrorism in Iraq by the U.S. Treasury in 2003. The Al-Rashid Trust and Al-Akhtar Trust are charity fronts for the Tahreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), al Qaeda, the Afghan Taliban, JeM, and another radical movement aimed against the Indian-controlled zone of Kashmir, Hizb ul-Mujahideen (HuM—Party of Mujahideen). The Al-Rashid Trust then refounded itself as the Al-Amin Welfare Trust. The Al-Akhtar Trust was reorganized as the Pakistan Relief Foundation or Azmat Pakistan Trust. The U.S. Treasury took note of the renaming of both Al-Rashid Trust and Al-Akhtar Trust in 2008.

Some leading jihadist formations suppressed in Punjab last year for their involvement with the Pakistan Taliban and al Qaeda, according to the Pakistan daily Express Tribune, held an open conference last month in Rawalpindi, near the national capital, Islamabad. The event featured speeches by JuD representatives. Bakht Zameen Khan, head of a radical splinter group, Al-Badr Mujahideen (named for a battle under Muhammad’s command in the early Islamic period), declared, “Our commanders in Kashmir and Afghanistan say they will carry out big attacks if they are provided with resources. They have the spirit but they are facing a shortage of supplies.” Al-Badr Mujahideen broke away from a larger terrorist group assaulting Kashmir, Hizb-ul-Mujahedeen (HuM—Party of Mujahideen).

Similarly, Kashmir-focused jihadis in two other groups renamed themselves. Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (also referred to by the acronym HuM—Mujahideen Movement) became Ansar ul-Umma (AuU—Volunteers for the Global Islamic Community), and Jamaat ul-Furqan (JuF—Community of Morality) reemerged as Tehreek-e-Ghalba Islam (TGI—Movement for the Triumph of Islam).

Pakistani authorities are trying to repeat last year’s success in reducing Ramadan donations received by terrorists. In addition to the chameleon-like assortment described above, they hope to block financing and food gifts to the non-violent but radical Hizb-ut-Tahrir (HuT—Liberation Party), which agitates transnationally for a global Islamic caliphate, and two bloodthirsty anti-Shia organisms, Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP—Knights of the Prophet’s Companions) and its offshoot, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ—Jhangvi’s Army). SSP has adopted a new title, Millat-e-Islamia (MeI—Islamic Creed). LeJ is named for SSP’s founder, a notable anti-Shia bigot, Haq Nawaz Jhangvi (1954-1980).

Pakistani extremists have demonstrated considerable cleverness in their campaign to exploit the spiritual cleansing and community generosity associated with Ramadan, to support death and destruction on their own soil and in neighboring countries. Islamabad’s obstruction of NATO’s role in Afghanistan enables radicals to ignore measures taken against them. Pakistan remains a country in deep crisis, where efforts to prevent terrorism may too often, it seems, be reduced to, and circumvented by, words alone.

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