Muslim Aid’s International Network

Chris Blackburn

Chris Blackburn

Chris Blackburn is a political analyst and writer based in the UK. He worked as a junior team member for the US National Intelligence Conference and Exposition (Intelcon 2005), which was organised by Slade Gorton and Jamie Gorelick; who were both members of the US National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (9/11 Commission).

Muslim Aid UK and its affiliates such as the UK Islamic Mission have close ties to Pakistan’s largest Islamic fundamentalist party- the Jamaat-i-Islami. I have previously written a series of articles on Muslim Aid and the Muslim Council of Britain’s ties to Jamaat for David Horowitz’s frontpagemag.com in 2005.[1] As a result we were threatened with legal action by the trustees of both organisations.[2]

My investigations were originally centred on Jamaat’s links to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and a charity front called KOMPAK which is based in Indonesia. Some of the al-Qaeda hijackers attended a final planning session for the 9/11 attacks in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2000. Riduan Isamuddin (a.k.a. Hambali), a senior KOMPAK leader attended the conference. Intelligence officials now believe that the al-Qaeda attack on the USS Cole in Yemen was also planned at the meeting. The core leadership of KOMPAK have been arrested for having ties to al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah, a radical jihadi group which is believed to be behind the Bali bombings and other atrocities. KOMPAK was funded by Muslim Aid UK.

Muslim Aid is run by Jamaat sympathisers and former members of the movement from Pakistan and Bangladesh. It came as no surprise that after the 9/11 attacks Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, mastermind of the atrocities was arrested in Pakistan, which is over 3000 miles away from where the Malaysian summit was held in 2000. He was arrested in the home of a Jamaat-i-Islami figure. There have also been many other cases of al-Qaeda leaders being arrested from Jamaat safe-houses in Pakistan.[3]

So, it has not been a great surprise that since 2006 some of the UK’s leading commentators and journalists have been uncovering the links between radical Islamists in South Asia, and the Middle East, and organisations they have setup in the UK. Nick Cohen, Andrew Gilligan, Melanie Phillips and Martin Bright have been slowly uncovering the Jamaat-i-Islami’s ties to high-profile figures within the British Muslim community.[4] They have made accusations that organisations such as the MCB and the East London Mosque are suffocating British Muslims who are not generally affiliated to Jamaat politics. Jamaat affiliates connected to the MCB portray themselves as mainstream rather than a minority movement both in the UK and South Asia.

Jamaat has powerful allies. They have been funded by the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and have received money from the Gulf States, most notably Saudi Arabia.[5] The movement has been flush with petro-dollars allowing it to spend money on Dawah activities which have included public relations with academics, diplomats and senior politicians from the West who have been blinded by Jamaat’s duplicity. It has had a devastating effect on social cohesion and security policy. Academics such as John Esposito and Bob Lambert have even touted Jamaat as being a moderating solution to al-Qaeda/Salafists. Many have been misled to believe that Jamaat’s participation in elections as being a sign of the movement being committed to democracy.

Jamaat have been used by the Pakistani military as a recruiting agent for jihad. Hussain Haqqani, the Pakistani Ambassador to the USA’s made the following analysis of Jamaat’s ties to terrorism:

“Islamist liberation movements seeking redress of perceived and real grievances in places remote from Pakistan, such as Chechnya, Bosnia and Southern Philippines congregated in Pakistan. The Jamaat-e-Islami raised funds for these groups and provided military training for their members, in addition to allowing its own younger members to participate in Jihad around the world.”[6]

Haqqani is not the only Pakistani official to question the connections between Jamaat-i-Islami and global militancy. In 2004, Former Minister of the Interior of Pakistan, Faisal Saleh Hayat publicly asked Jamaat why their members were sheltering al-Qaeda leaders.[7]

Jamaat follows the programme of Maulana al-Mawdudi one of the godfathers of modern Islamism and fundamentalism in the Muslim world. Mawdudi wanted Pakistan to be the centre of a new Islamic Empire. It is, perhaps, contradictory or even hypocritical, that Jamaat has often run on a campaign of anti-Imperialism for the majority of its existence. However, the movement is not averse to being involved in conquest and domination. Jamaat wants its member and affiliates to be the vanguard of an Islamic revolution. Their leaders such as Qazi Hossain Ahmed and Prof. Khurshid Ahmed have recently called for a, “Glorious Islamic Revolution,” in Pakistan. Jamaat’s student wing the Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT) has also been uncovered aiding and fighting alongside al-Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban in North Waziristan.[8]

Muslim Aid trustees such as Tanzeem Wasti, Chowdhury Mueen Uddin, Ghulam Sarwar, Manazir Ahsan and Zahid Ali Parvez have connections to Jamaat figures and organisations. Wasti and Parvez are both connected to Muslim Aid and UKIM, which has been is described by Q News as, “…an organisation inspired by the Jamaati Islam party in Pakistan working with the Islamic revivalist teachings of Abul A’la Mawdudi and others.”[9] Tanzeem Wasti was even seen as Jamaat’s London figurehead by Pakistani newspapers in the 1990s.[10] He had previously served as the head of the Agency Afghan Press during the Soviet-Afghan war. In 1994, Tanzeem Wasti, who is also one of the founders of the UK Islamic Mission, gave the following interview where he believed governments in the Muslim world would be toppled by Islamic revolution:

“Today, Muslims have won the intellectual battle; Western intellectuals are  afraid because they are seeing Islam rising all over the place… The West does not know how to tackle the march of Islam and is bankrupt morally and intellectually. The Muslim masses are changing and their un-Islamic  governments cannot stay in power much longer. I am sure all over the world Islam will get much stronger…The Muslim community in Britain now has deep roots and the infrastructure to go forward.  It is up to succeeding  generations to pass on the message of the Prophet.” [11]

 Caption: Jamaat-i-Islami’s Zarnoor Afridi (FATA) distributing Qurbani meat in front of a Muslim Aid and AKF banner.

Muslim Aid UK is closely tied to the Al-Khidmat Foundation (AKF) which is based in Pakistan. AKF is a branch of the Jamaat-i-Islami movement which has its headquarters in Mansoorah, Lahore, Pakistan. In 2005, AKF listed its major donors as the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and Muslim Aid UK. Muslim Aid has built schools and hospitals with AKF.[12] In 2007, Muslim Aid built a diagnostics centre in Chitral, Pakistan which is maintained by AKF.[13] Muslim Aid and UKIM have also donated ambulances to AKF. Muslim Aid is also instrumental in AKF’s annual Qurbani campaign to raise money.[14] AKF is controlled by Jamaat-i-Islami’s central working committee in Lahore. Masooda Bano recently published a paper on Jamaat’s welfare wings for the UK Department for International Development (DFID) he explained Al-Khidmat’s relationship with Jamaat and why they tried to hide the linkages:

“It did this in order to protect itself from international pressure after September 11 as international analysts suspect Jama’at of having links with fundamentalist groups… During interviews with the current board members of the Al-Khidmat Foundation, they were keen to present the Foundation as regular NGO, which no longer has a formal affiliation with the Jama’at, even though Jama’at members are still running the organisation.”[15]

Caption: Muslim Aid and Al-Khidmat’s Zabiha/Qurbani campaign in Pakistan, 2009

Muslim Aid Australia states that Al-Khidmat is a “non-political welfare entity,” on its website; however, its ties to Jamaat-i-Islami are apparent. [16]

Caption: Jamaat-i-Islami’s  Qazi Hossain Ahmed at a wedding ceremony paid for by AKF

Muslim Aid, UKIM and AKF charitable work is generally good; they do provide services for the needy and the poor throughout the world- which is commendable. However, Jamaat designed their charitable fronts to bring political support to the Jamaat-i-Islami movement and their ideology. One senior leader of Al-Khidmat said the following:

“Members are also required to put forward the Jama’at philosophy to other people they know and to make those who are inclined towards this thinking join the Jama’at. Those who are inclined towards Jama’at thinking but are unable to take the full responsibility of a member should be encouraged to join the bigger pool of Jama’at sympathisers.”[17]

In hospitals which Al-Khidmat controls it indoctrinates its patients with DVDs of Maulana al-Mawdudi’s radical thought.[18] The fact that Muslim Aid helped finance KOMPAK in Indonesia raises serious questions that Jamaat’s charitable organisations are possibly overlapping with its support for global jihadi groups. Pakistan’s Ambassador to the USA, Hussain Haqqani, pointed out that Jamaat has a long history of providing military training to foreign jihadis. It even has a militant wing called the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. Russia’s Supreme Court has already banned the Jamaat-i-Islami for its global support for terrorism. Which leads to the question- why hasn’t Jamaat been added to the UN Security Councils list of proscribed terrorist organisations?

Caption: Muslim Aid and Al-Khidmat opening a diagnostics centre in Chitral, Pakistan.

The cross-pollination of religion/politics/social work is very common within revolutionary organisations. The Nazi Party in Germany had the Winter Aid (Winterhilfswerk) and the Nationalsozialistische Volkswohlfahrt/People’s Welfare Organization (NSV) which were designed to spread the message of the Nazi Party and Adolf Hitler’s ideals of an Aryan superior race. Josef Goebbels, the chief Nazi propagandist saw such organisations as being instrumental for furthering the aims of the Third Reich. Goebbels even made his wife, Madga, a patron of the charities. Mawdudi, the godfather of Jamaat, was known to have carefully studied the rise of the Nazi party in Germany. The comparisons between the Nazi Party and Jamaat-i-Islami’s charitable fronts are eerily similar; both ideologies also draft wild conspiracies theories about foreign and domestic threats which have often helped their supporters to practise genocide, violence and hate.


[1] Chris Blackburn, Frontpagemag Columnist Profile, http://archive.frontpagemag.com/bioAuthor.aspx?AUTHID=2436

[2] Chris Blackburn and Carter-Ruck, Muslim Aid and Terror, Frontpagemag.com, February 14th 2006, http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=5556

[3] Syed Saleem Shahzad,  Pakistani students prefer guns not books, Asia Times Online, July 27th, 2010, http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/LG27Df01.html

[4] Andrew Gilligan, Muslim Aid: Hopeless Charity Commission whitewashes yet another Islamist group, The Telegraph Online, December 17th 2010, http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/andrewgilligan/100068829/muslim-aid-hopeless-charity-commission-whitewashes-yet-another-islamist-group/

[5] Affidavit names politicians who took money from the ISI, The Daily Times (Pakistan), August 27th 2009, http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=20098\27\story_27-8-2009_pg1_12

[6] Hussain Haqqani, The Ideologies of South Asian Jihadi Groups, The Hudson Institute, Current Trends in Islamist Ideology, http://www.currenttrends.org/research/detail/the-ideologies-of-south-asian-jihadi-groups

[7]Govt asks Jamaat to explain Qaeda links, The Peninsula, Qatar, http://archive.thepeninsulaqatar.com/component/content/article/347-pakistan-sub-continent/40847.html

http://www.ribt.org/nuke/html/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=153

[8] Syed Saleem Shahzad,  Pakistani students prefer guns not books, Asia Times Online, July 27th, 2010, http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/LG27Df01.html

[9] UK Islamic Mission Conference, British Muslims Monthly Survey for August 1994 Vol. II, No. 8,

http://artsweb.bham.ac.uk/bmms/1994/08August94.html

[10]Pakistani politicians in Britain condemn terrorism in Karachi,  DAWN NEWS International, Karachi

31 August 1998, http://www.karachipage.com/news/aug98/083198.txt

[11] Peter Sookhdeo, Islamic Fundamentalism: Back to Basics, Vol. 17, No. 8, Third Way, October 1994,  Pg. 9

[12] http://alkhidmathospital.com/milestones.htm

http://www.onlinenews.com.pk/details.php?id=89097

http://newtrendmag.org/ntma1349.htm

[13] Muslim Aid Pakistan will construct a Diagnostic Center in Chitral, Chitral Times, http://www.chitraltimes.com/english07/newsedetail86.htm

[14] Muslim Aid Asia, Qurban Campaign, http://muslimaidasia.com/content/view/45/9/lang,en/

Al-Khidmat Foundation, Qurban Page, Zabiha Project 2010, http://al-khidmatfoundation.org/qurban_page.php

[15]Masooda Bano, Marker of Identity: Religious Political Parties and Welfare Work- The Case of the Jama’iat Islami in Pakistan and Bangladesh, Religion and Development: Research Programme, Funded by the Department for International Development (DFID),  http://www.religionsanddevelopment.org/files/resourcesmodule/@random454f80f60b3f4/1254137609_working_paper_34.pdf

[16]Jamaat-i-Islami Punjab, http://www.punjabjamaat.org.pk/home/dep_Detail/10

Jamaat-i-Islami Pakistan, showing that Al-Khidmat is Jamaat, http://www.jipvideos.com/?cat=102

Profile of Jamaat’s Dr. Fareed Ahmed Paracha, Pakistan Herald, http://pakistanherald.com/Profile/Dr-Fareed-Ahmed-Paracha-494

Qazi holds junta liable for miseries of quake-hit people, Pakistan Tribune, Lahore, http://www.paktribune.com/news/print.php?id=156566

[17] Masooda Bano, Marker of Identity: Religious Political Parties and Welfare Work- The Case of the Jama’iat Islami in Pakistan and Bangladesh, Religion and Development: Research Programme, Funded by the Department for International Development (DFID)

[18] What Is Pakistan Reading: An Alternative Tour of the Karachi International Book Fair, December 30 2010, http://pakistaniat.com/2010/12/30/books-karachi-book-fair/

 

profilepic

Chris Blackburn is a political analyst and writer based in the UK. He worked as a junior team member for the US National Intelligence Conference and Exposition (Intelcon 2005), which was organised by Slade Gorton and Jamie Gorelick; who were both members of the US National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (9/11 Commission). He then went on to become a track leader for the Intelligence Summit 2006, which focused on the deteriorating security situation in Bangladesh and South Asia. Chris has briefed journalists on extremist movements and terrorism. He has also worked with productions teams from BBC’s Panorama and Channel 4’s Dispatches. He has also written for David Horowitz’s Frontpagemag.com, The Spittoon, The Weekly Durdesh and others.


10 Responses to “Muslim Aid’s International Network”

  1. Ahmad Shaheen

    In my opinion whole article is based on biases and ignorance. Author did not know the history and basics of Jamaat e Islami. He tries to show that JI Pakistan and Jamah Islamia of Indonesia have some ties and relation which is totally false. JI did not support any terrorist activity in whole world event the deadly attacks of 9/11. Jamaat e Islami believes on Peace and mutual harmony.
    I personally think that author just criticized Muslim Aid, Alkhidmat and JI because these all organizations are made by Muslims and working for the Muslims.
    This kind of biases and hatred should be condemned.

  2. Insolent infidel

    Ahmed, what is the basis of your complaint? Because its hard to see your comment as an informed criticism. It lacks substance – please provide an argument or evidence for Blackburn’s alleged bias or hatred – and thus one has to conclude that it is religiously or politically (or religiopoitically) motivated. The charge that this article is Islamophobic is a cheap but transparent one. It doesn’t wash. Deal with the facts and argument in the article or be thought of as an Islamist with a grudge to bear.

  3. Dishan

    Chris Blackburn, as they say in Bengali, shorom nai? (have you know shame?)

    You wrote your lies for Frontpagemag, a website that supports the idea that Obama is a Muslim

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=FrontPageMag.com

    http://disha-bangladesh.blogspot.com/2006/11/when-policy-exchange-treats-with-awami.html

    “Chris Blackburn, a curious figure unheard of amongst experts but a familiar face amongst far right and US evangelists. A contributor to xenophobic hate site ‘Frontpagemag.org’ he also claims to have participated in the ‘International Intelligence Summit’ a shady body of reactionaries, neoconservatives and disgruntled military officers unhappy that the ‘War on Terror’ is not as harsh as it should be. The Awami League’s international spin-doctor (mentioned above) Saber Hossain Chowdhury is also a participant to this sinister body. ”

    Necons are now reaping what they Dow in Libya after their former client Gaddafi us showing his true colours?

    And yet they continue to do the bidding of the repressive Awami League who are silencing the opposition and using people like Blackburn to justify their dirty work

  4. Independent Thinker

    Chaos & division among Muslims defaming True Islam ,Propagated by all Holy Prophets & completed by Holy Prophet Mohammed(MSAS). As a result, many Anti Islamic group are making avenue to render stagnation on the path of Muslim & other social Aids . Jamat is a group of honest selfless people striving to help million of poor people in Afro Asian countries. They are not terrorists, but helpers of the poor. I am not supporter of any group who
    goes against the peaceful teaching of Holy Quran & Holy Prophet Mohammed(SAS).
    Let we Muslims mend ourselves & stop killing each other avoid party feelings of dirty politics :Be they Sunni or Shia or Quadyani. Remember ALLAH SWT & peaceful message of Holy Prophet Mohammed(MSAS) & recite Sura Al kafirun: For them their way for us,Ours. ALMIGHTY ALLAH is the best judge of all.Therefore avoid hearsay,forget maintain peace in this earth. Thank You.

  5. Chris Blackburn

    Independent Thinker, Dishan, and Ahmad Shaheen I beg you to look at the article and judge it solely on its findings.

    I am trying to refute the notion that Jamaat is simply an organsation which carries out benevolent work in the name of Allah. It’s a revolutionary political organisation which has promoted violence in Pakistan and elsewhere. It’s a far-right political party which cherry-picks parts of the Koran to justify its fascist ideology. Adolf Hitler believed that his militant expansionist Reich could end the humiliation of Germany after WW1. A war which Germany had mainly created because of poor strategic thinking and arrogance. Mawdudi and other Islamist thinkers also believe in a similar humiliation and believe they should form a militant vanguard movement to bring back the glory of the Caliphate. The parallels are too stark.

    Jamaat was instrumental in setting up al-Badr units in Bangladesh during the 1971 War of Liberation. Al-Badr units helped the Pakistani military to murder leading intellectuals and unarmed civilians. Bengali Muslims and Hindu’s were murdered in this operation. The first marriage of Pakistan’s Military and Islamic parties for domestic/foreign policy.

    Zia ul-Haq used Jamaat to Islamise and indoctrinate his Officer Corp. He also used Jamaat to crackdown on the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on university campuses throughout Pakistan. Jamaat was used by ultra-nationalist military officers for domestic policy to control Pakistan’s politics.

    Jamaat was then used by the CIA, Saudi Arabia’s General Intelligence Directorate (GID), Pakistan ISI and NATO intelligence agencies to train and recruit the Mujahideen. Again using and abusing Islam for Pakistan’s foreign and domestic policies.

    In the 1990s Jamaat was used by the Pakistani military to continue its support for an International Brigade to fight in Kashmir, Tajikistan, Chechnya, Indonesia, Xinjiang…They help setup militant camps in Afghanistan, Sudan and Kashmir. They also financed militant groups and movement. Again being used for Pakistan’s foreign policy.

    In 2000 Jamaat helped to setup the Afghan Defence Council (ADC) with Pakistani militant groups to protect Mullah Omar and Osama Bin Laden in the event of future US action. We also begin to see Jamaat’s increasing independence from Pakistan military establishment.

    Now if we look at my article more closely. We can begin to understand that Jamaat helped to propel the likes of Bin Laden and Khaled Sheikh Mohammed to create a major terrorist attack which would inevitably bring the United States into conflict in Afghanistan and Pakistan. A conflict Jamaat needed due to its dwindling public support. Jamaat needs violence and conflict to increase and galvanise support.

    Jamaat was failing to win popular support in Pakistan. Prior to 9/11 all leading academic and writers agreed that Islamism, especially Jamaat and Ikwhan’s brand, had failed. It was not wanted by Muslim publics. It failed at the ballot box.

    Its main support has come from riding on the back of military dictators looking to get support from Saudi Arabia. Jamaat has benefited from the violence in South Asia. So, it’s not much of surprise to see that Jamaat has connections to 9/11 planners. Jamaat gets its support from foreign countries. Pakistani nationalists should be ashamed of it.

  6. amalendu chatterjee

    Bangladesh is also getting a strong support from these organizations via Pakistan. USA is not helping the political infrastructure of Bangladesh to be secular. USA law makers think they have to keep few countries such as Bangladesh Islamic to be democratic without realizing that Islam and democracy are contradictory. Because of this Islamic policy and other discriminatory laws all minorities from Pakistan and Bangladesh have been uprooted.

  7. Mohammed

    Those people who are supporting Blackburns writing are either Hindu or communist who do not believe in any religion. This guy Blackburn is a hate monger jew and his only objective to destroy Islam. He should put his finger in his own ASS and should smell the flavor?

  8. hossain

    you are a lair. you don’t know anything about Islam and Jamaat Islam. Jammat Islam believe in peace and works for human being .there is no relation between terrorist and Islam. actually you guy don’t want to help the muslim. You are blind supporter of Israel. that is why you are always describe any muslim organization as terror. all are the politician of bangladesh are corrupted but the caretaker government can’t find out corruption from the jammat leader. do you know how it is possible? they practice real islamic ideology not terrorism. so you are fake and lair.

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