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6/4/04 - SAUDI CHARITY CRACKDOWN - 2004-06-04


Saudi Arabia is cracking down on private Saudi charities that fund terrorism. The Saudis have created a commission to manage all of the country’s private charitable work abroad. Adel al-Jubeir, foreign affairs adviser to the Saudi royal family, says all charities that sent money overseas in the past will, along with their assets, be folded into the new entity in an effort to stop any flow of funds to terrorist groups:

“We are determined to crush this evil. We are determined to go after those who finance it or those who condone it or justify it in any way, shape, or form.”

Saudi authorities are also dissolving one so-called charitable group -- the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation -- which has been designated by the U.S. as a terrorist front. Juan Zarate, deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. Treasury Department, said the U.S. and Saudi Arabia are asking the United Nations to designate al-Haramain and the charity's former leader, Aqeel Abdulaziz al-Aqil, as supporters of al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations:

“These entities and this individual have provided financial, material and logistical support to the al-Qaida network, Osama bin Laden, or the Taleban, fueling and facilitating their efforts to carry out vile attacks against innocent individuals and the civilized world.”

The worldwide effort to attack the financial infrastructure of terror has made it more difficult for terrorist groups to underwrite their activities and has forced them to resort to less secure methods to move dollars. To date, three-hundred-seventy-four individuals and entities have been designated as terrorist supporters. Nearly one-hundred-forty million dollars in terrorist-related assets has been frozen as a result of efforts by the U.S. and its allies.

“Continued collective efforts by Saudi Arabia and our international allies,” says Deputy Assistant Treasury Secretary Zirate, “will lead to further successes in the financial war on terror. We will continue to cut off channels of financing. . .ostracize those who support or facilitate terrorism. . .and bring to justice those who seek to do us harm.”

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