Doha regime condemned over Qatari bank’s funding of Islamists

The accounts of Al-Rayan customers were closed or frozen by other western banks. (Shutterstock)
Updated 06 August 2019

Doha regime condemned over Qatari bank’s funding of Islamists

  • A banned charity in the US has an account with the bank
  • A previous chief executive of the bank was also a director of a British affiliate for an international religious organization

JEDDAH: The funding of Islamist groups in the UK by a Qatar-owned bank is further evidence of Doha’s  malign activities, analysts told Arab News on Monday.
Details emerged on Monday of the activities of Al Rayan Bank, which has its headquarters in Birmingham in central England. Among its account holders are organizations linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, a charity banned in the US as a terrorist entity, groups that promote hard-line preachers, and a mosque whose trustee is a Hamas leader, the UK newspaper The Times reported.
Four of Al Rayan’s customers, a mosque and three charities, have had accounts closed by major banks including HSBC and Barclays because of their activities.
The Anti-Terror Quartet of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt imposed a trade, travel and diplomatic boycott in June 2017, in response to Qatar’s support and funding of terrorism.

Qatar has always funded militias and rogue elements. This was one of the main reasons for the boycott of Doha.

Hamdan Al-Shehri, political analyst

The exposure of the bank’s Islamist links are the latest blow to the credibility of Qatar’s denials that it supports terror. Last month a recording of a phone conversation between a Qatari businessman and the country’s ambassador to Somalia exposed Doha’s use of Al-Shabab militants to attack UAE assets in Somalia. Also in July, Italian police found a Qatar-made missile in a raid on the home of a neo-Nazi.
Al Rayan’s activities “confirm what political analysts and money-trail experts already knew,” Saudi political analyst Hamdan Al-Shehri told Arab News. 
“Qatar has always funded militias and rogue elements. This was one of the main reasons for the boycott of Doha.
“These militias wreaking havoc in the region are financed by Qatar. Yes, they get logistical and ideological support from Iran, but the money comes from Qatar.”
Sir John Jenkins, a former British ambassador to Saudi Arabia and an Arab News columnist, accused Qatar of “systematically promoting Islamist causes.”
Qatar’s leaders “seem to believe they can fend off danger by using Qatar’s geographical position and cash to buy regional influence, as it has sought to do in Gaza, Yemen, Libya, Syria and Iraq … and back Islamist movements regionally and internationally.
“It does all this in spite of repeated promises to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE.”

Leaked audio of Assad forces shooting elderly women in Idlib proves civilian killings: Report

Updated 3 min 59 sec ago

Leaked audio of Assad forces shooting elderly women in Idlib proves civilian killings: Report

  • Syrian regime also attacked Turkish military posts in violation of cease-fire deal

LONDON: Syrian regime forces deliberately killed elderly women in the northwestern region of Idlib, leaked recordings obtained by the UK’s Daily Telegraph have shown.

The audio recordings from Feb. 11 also suggest that forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad attacked Turkish military posts in violation of a cease-fire deal.

The recordings captured a conversation between soldiers from the infamous elite Tiger Forces, the 25th Division, tracking a vehicle driving into the village of Mizanaz, to the west of Aleppo.

In the audio, intercepted by spotters at an observatory in the local area who picked up the soldiers’ frequency, one soldier can be heard saying: “There are women driving, their car is stuck in the mud and they’re headed to a battlefield.”



A second soldier said: “She looks elderly. It’s clear she’s coming to pack her belongings, then she’s leaving.”

Despite a clear identification of the women, one of the soldiers is heard saying: “I’m watching them. They’re about to enter a house. Yallah, I’m firing now.”

At that point, rapid machine gun fire can be heard on the tape. “Fire, fire, I’m observing for you,” the second soldier replies.

Local media reports from the time and date of the audio recording support the assertion that the women were killed in the attack.

Regime forces have used attacks on civilians as part of their strategy to clear rebel-held areas of the country, while attacking civilian institutions such as schools and hospitals. 

In September 2019, pro-Assad militants reportedly executed an elderly woman who refused to leave her home when it was confiscated after they recaptured the town of Khan Sheikhoun. 

According to figures from the Syrian Network for Human Rights, regime forces and their Russian allies are responsible for 90 percent of civilian deaths in the nine-year conflict, with three-quarters of those people victims of artillery or aerial shelling. The deliberate killing of non-combatants is a war crime under international law.

The Telegraph’s report also revealed recordings showing regime forces actively attacking Turkish posts in Idlib province that were set up as part of a de-escalation deal negotiated with Russia in 2018.

The attacks prompted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday to urge his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to “restrain” Assad’s advance in Idlib.