According to Islamic sharia, “Zakat is obligatory for every free Muslim (male, female, adult, or child) who has possessed a zakat-payable amount for one lunar year.”
The notorious western world’s propaganda, that the Islamic tax according to the Shariah law by Zakat is the major source of funding of the terrorist groups in the world. Blowing out of proportion the Quranic verse: “Zakat expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect Zakat and for bringing hearts together for Islam and for freeing captives or slaves and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the stranded traveler – an obligation imposed by Allah . And Allah is Knowing and Wise.”
From this Koranic verse, sharia declares: “It is obligatory to distribute one’s zakat among eight categories of recipients – meaning that zakat goes to none besides them, one-eighth of the zakat to each category.”
Sharia states the eight categories are: (1) the poor; (2) those short of money; (3) zakat workers; (4) those whose hearts are to be reconciled; (5) those purchasing their freedom; (6) those in debt; (7) those fighting for Allah; (8) travellers needing money.
Highlighting “those fighting for Allah” leading to the notorious phenomenon of Muslim bashing has caused many unfair actions taking place. Generalizing the entire world’s Muslim population to be terrorists is becoming the next big problem in the society.
The ability of cracking down on terrorism financing, demands an all-encompassing approach to have any chance of successfully disrupting any terrorist activity in the world. Targeting the full array of groups, individuals, businesses, banks, criminal enterprises and humanitarian organization that finance terrorism is again the need of the hour but the identification of the real source of money is imperative.
Funds play an important role in the recruitment of cadres, in procuring shelter and logistic support from the community amongst which the terrorists operate, in acquiring the weapons, explosives, identity documents and other material required for an act of terrorism, for travel etc. hence, action to identify the sources of funding, determine the means employed for their transmission and choke off the flow of funds from the sources to the organization and from the organizations to their cadres deputed for carrying out the acts of terrorism have always received high priority from the Pakistan government confronted with the scourge of terrorism.
At the most macro level, financial blocking orders must include the governmental organizations that themselves finance the terrorist groups and there should be transparency in an effort to seize any funds they may be underhandedly providing to such elements. Realistically, terrorist groups tend not to open bank accounts under their organization’s name, especially in the West. Furthermore, International and unofficial banking systems have also played a role in terrorist financing. Not just flawed banking system and economic blueprint, individuals and socialist organizations that support terrorism play a critical role in financing terror, highly disproportionate to their numbers. However, a few wealthy individuals are able to sponsor much terror anyway but that needs to be stopped too. Radical fundamentalist organizations like RSK and Indian Prime Minister Modi, has openly accepted their involvement in aiding the terrorist groups in order to weaken Pakistan.
While disconcerting, operational inefficiency and territorialism between agencies pales in comparison to the more strategic gap in policymaking circles. Cracking down on terrorist financing, especially in the case of charitable and humanitarian organizations that camouflage their funding of terrorism by funding legitimate groups and causes as well, requires a political will that is markedly absent. Terrorist financing through charitable organizations is not unique to Islamic charities, per se, but the fact is that the majority of terrorist groups operating in the world today and targeting are said to be of the radical Islamic variety.
However, more Islamic countries are primarily under the direct impact of war against terrorism. Pseudo-Islamic organizations are being made by various anti-Islam elements that collect the zakat money from everyone and secretly use to it fund the terrorists and it therefore stands to reason that the majority of charitable organizations engaged in terrorist financing are Islamic organizations. Such organizations are backed up by the governments whose main aim is to infiltrate Pakistan and cause the deterioration of its legal system. While these investigations should be conducted in a careful and judicious fashion, sensitive to the fact that while some organizations are front organizations for terrorist groups others are unwittingly hijacked by rogue individuals, they should not be confused with “Muslim bashing.”
The state of Pakistan has, unfortunately, been at the vortex of various forms of terrorism and insurgent activities for several decades. The country is internally crippled by terrorism and the vast flows of funds to violent extremist groups that operate within its borders, even as the danger from this domestic infrastructure of terrorism percolates to other parts of the region and the world. Pakistan-based terrorist groups use a range of instrumentalities to raise finances, which include, among other things the manipulation of hawala (an informal system of money transfer), abuse of the charitable sector, narco-finance, and abduction for ransom. Raising money from criminal activities has long been a forte of militant organizations in Pakistan, and the Taliban are not loath to utilize these same methods.
Motivation, recruits, funds and sanctuaries constitute the four essential ingredients for the survival of a terrorist organization and its success in organizing acts of terrorism. Hence, any counterterrorism strategy, to be successful, has to focus on depriving the organization of as many of these ingredients as possible.
Terrorism will always exist, which is why there is no exit strategy to fighting terrorism. Counterterrorism is a form of conflict management, not conflict resolution. To bear any fruit, counterterrorism techniques must be as comprehensive, ongoing, and cooperative as possible. Cracking down on terrorist financing will only succeed in dismantling terrorist groups’ logistical and financial support networks, and by extension preventing terrorist attacks, if the governments and agencies involved in the effort act in concert and, at a minimum, mirror the resolve, commitment and dedication displayed by the terrorists.