US State Dept asked to probe Jamaat for terror finance links

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Three congressmen wrote about the matter on November 1

Three US congressmen have urged the State Department to conduct an investigation into “potential terror finance links” between Jamaat-e-Islami and its proxy groups.

They asked the State Department to conduct an investigation after the matter caught their attention.

According to them, Jamaat’s affiliates and proxy groups are not limited to South Asia only but are present in rest of Asia and Europe, and to the United States, as well.

On Nov 1, Congressmen Jim Banks (R-Indiana), Chuck Fleishmann (R-Tennessee) and Randy Weber (R-Texas) wrote to State Department Counterterrorism Coordinator Nathan Sales with ample and convincing evidence about the terror financing links between Jamaat and its two affiliates – Helping Hands for Relief and Development (HHRD) and Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA).

“There is no serious doubt that ICNA and HHRD are part of Jamaat-e-Islami’s international network,” the letter said, adding that, “there is significant evidence that HHRD and ICNA are directly involved in terror finance.”

Highlighting the history of Jamaat, the congressmen said it acted as a paramilitary force of Pakistan intelligence during the Liberation War in 1971 and killed numerous Bangladeshi freedom fighters and civilians.

“Jamaat-e-Islami’s student wing in Bangladesh, IslamiChhatraShibir, was named the 3rd most violent non-state armed group in the world in 2015,” the letter further said.

The congressmen said HHRD organized a conference in Pakistan in 2017, where the other co-sponsors were Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation and Al-Khidmat, “the main charitable wing of Jamaat-e-Islami”.

“In 2016, the US Treasury Department designated Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation as a terrorist organization,” the letter said adding, “Al-Khidmat supports the aforementioned Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, Jamaat-e-Ismali’s armed wing, a US-designated terrorist group.”

The congressmen further added that according to HHRD’s 2017 report, HHRD had done 214 different projects with Al-Khidmat.

When contacted with Jamaat about the terror financing, its leader and spokesperson for Europe wing Abu Bakr Mollah said: “We are aware of the letter that was sent to the State Department.”

He denied any links between ICNA and Jamaat and claimed that earlier other Congressmen wrote to the State Department, but no action were taken. He, however, did not say anything about HHRD.

When asked had they reached out to the three congressmen, he replied in the negative.

However, the State Department declined to comment whether an investigation into the matter has been launched or not.