Al Rashid Trust

FormedFebruary 13, 1996
Disbanded2001
UpdatedJuly 19, 2012

Narrative Summary

Al Rashid Trust (ART) is a Pakistan-based charity known to have provided support to jihadi activities in Chechnya, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Kashmir.[1] It was founded by Mufti Mohammad Rashid soon after the 1996 Taliban takeover in Afghanistan.[2] Mufti Mohammad Rashid was joined by Mufti Abu Lubaba, who became the group's ideologue, and Maulvi Sibghatulla (of the Dar-ul-Uloom, a religious school in Karachi) who became director of ART's Kandahar operations. 

In 1996, ART started charity and welfare projects in Afghanistan and Pakistan to provide financial and legal support to Muslim militants around the world.[3] ART ran a food provision program in Afghanistan that included bakeries in Kabul, Herat, Jalalabad, Kandahar and Mazar-e-Sharif.[4] Following the September 11 attacks, it took over 155 bakeries vacated by the UN's World Food Program (WFP). [5] ART's goal at that point was to provide food for 350,000 poor Afghans without relying on any UN relief organization for help. ART closely coordinated its activities with Wafa Kahiria, an Arab NGO in Afghanistan whose activities were allegedly funded by Osama bin Laden.[6]

ART was also involved in the establishment of a network of madrassas in Afghanistan.[7] Before 9/11, it was building 20 mosques around the lunar landscape of the Kabul-Kandahar highway, and five mosques on the Kandahar-Chaman highway. 

Before being designated a terrorist support organization by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2001, ART was known for supporting jihadi activities in Chechnya, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Kashmir.[8]Prior to 9/11, the ART was believed to hold ties and raise funds for Al Qaeda, the Taliban and separatists fighting in Kashmir. ART publicly became connected with Al Qaeda when it began using a British internet site called the Global Jihad Fund (which openly associated itself with Osama bin Laden) to solicit support for various jihad movements. ART became one of the first organizations to be proscribed as a financial facilitator of terrorists after the September 11, 2001 attacks.[9] 

After 9/11, Pakistan froze all bank accounts of ART.[10] The trust, however, continued to operate new accounts in the names of individuals. By the end of 2001, ART had merged into Al Akhtar Trust.[11]

Leadership

In addition to founding ART, Mufti Mohammed Rashid also taught and administered at a madrassa in Lahore, Darul Ifta-e-Wal Irshad. 

Mufti Abu Lubaba was the group's ideologue, while Maulvi Sibghatullah of the Dar-ul-Uloom in Karachi was the Director of Al Rashid Trust's Kandahar operations. Mufti Rashid and Lubaba reportedly had direct access to Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. Abdul Hadi Mullakhel was the Trust's representative in Kabul.[12]

  1. Mufti Mohammed Rashid (1996 to 2001): Rashid was the founding emir (leader) of ART.[13]

Ideology & Goals

ART presents itself as a welfare organization whose goals include welfare projects throughout Pakistan, funded by public donations. Overtime, the ART has expanded its relief activities to other Muslim communities in Chechnya, Kosovo and Afghanistan.[14] ART seems to consider other NGOs working in Afghanistan, particularly, as anti-Muslim groups some reports indicate ART efforts to expel Western NGOs. [15]

According to the SATP, ART objectives also include aiding Muslims whom they believe have been incarcerated without cause, resisting impurities in the media such as pornography, and also publishing books that promote their ideology, specifically "to promote in the people the fear of the Day of Judgment." [16]

ART subscribes to the Deobandi school of thought.[17] Its literature is aligned with Taliban sentiments, praising Islamist militant movements and denouncing the United States for its policies toward Israel, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

Name Changes

Al Rashid Trust operates under many aliases.  These include:


Al Amin Welfare Trust
Al Amin Trust
Al Ameen Trust
Al-Ameen Trust
Al Madina Trust
Al-Madina Trust


Al Rashid Trust is also closely associated with another similar organization, Al Akhtar Trust.  Al Alkhtar Trust is associated with the following alternate names:

Pakistan Relief Foundation
Pakistani Relief Foundation
Azmat-e-Pakistan Trust
Azmat Pakistan Trust

[18].



Designated/Listed

The U.S. Department of Treasury listed ART as being involved in financing and supporting a network of international Islamist terrorist groups on September 22, 2001.As of 2010, the United Nations, Government of Pakistan, United States Department of Treasury and Interpol continue to list ART as a terrorist group.[19]

Resources

The biggest source of funds for the Al-Rashid Trust came from donors in the Middle East and Pakistan.[20]As a result of being listed as supporting foreign terrorist organizations in September 2001 by the U.S. Department of Treasury, Pakistani banks froze Al-Rashid's bank accounts.[21]

External Influences

ART was also allegedly supported by Pakistan's intelligence service ISI.[22]

Geographical Locations

ART operated 21 offices in Pakistan from 1996 to 2001, which were located in Lahore, Mansehra, Peshawar, Rawalpindi and Mingora. ART's operations in Afghanistan were located in Jalalabad, Kabul, Kandahar and Mazar-e-Sharif.[23]

Relationships with Other Groups

ART allegedly held connections to Al Qaeda and Taliban prior to 9/11 and was known to raise funds for both groups. 

ART publicly became associated with Al Qaeda when it started using a British internet site called the Global Jihad Fund (which openly associated itself with Osama bin Laden) to solicit support for various jihad movements.  

In addition to its connections with the Taliban and Al Qaeda, ART was closely linked with terrorist organizations that were active in India's Jammu & Kashmir, such as Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).[24]ART and JeM are reported to have shared office spaces across Pakistan and to have had overlapping membership support. Mufti Rashid, emir of ART, was instrumental in setting up several JeM offices, including one near Usmani Masjid in Lahore and others in Pakistan controlled Kashmir. He was also reported to have appointed Masood Azhar, JeM leader, as the emir of Taliban in Jammu and Kashmir. 

Masood Azhar was also a regular contributor to ART's Urdu newspaper, Zarb-e-Momin.[25] Zarb-e-Momin was originally founded in the 1990s by ART, and served as JeM's official newspaper and later emerged as a Taliban mouthpiece.[26] Rashid had been student in Karachi, where JeM founder Masood Azhar also studied.[27] ART's funding has allowed JeM to expand its activities and gain influence in Afghanistan. Zarb-e-Momin continued to publish even after JeM's proscription, but the Pakistani government has now banned it. Prominent articles that were featured in the newspaper are available online.[28] ART was banned along with JeM in 2002.[29] 

Before the formation of JeM, ART was linked with Harkat-ul-Ansar (HuA). 

ART was also linked with Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Lashkar-I-Jhangvi, and Ummah Tameer-e-Nau, an NGO founded by a former Pakistani nuclear scientist Sultan Bashiruddin Mehmood.[30]

ART merged into Al Akhtar Trust in 2001.

Community Relationships

ART was active in emergency relief activities on the Pakistan side of Kashmir after the October 8th, 2005 earthquake.[31]


References

  1. ^ "Al-rashid Trust." South Asia Terrorism Portal (n.d.). http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/pakistan/terroristoutfits/al-rashid_trust.htm.
  2. ^ "Al-rashid Trust." South Asia Terrorism Portal (n.d.). http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/pakistan/terroristoutfits/al-rashid_trust.htm.
  3. ^ Escobar, Pepe. "THE ROVING EYE: Anatomy of a 'terrorist' NGO." Asia Times Online, October 26, 2001. http://www.atimes.com/c-asia/CJ26Ag01.html.
  4. ^ "Al-rashid Trust." South Asia Terrorism Portal (n.d.). http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/pakistan/terroristoutfits/al-rashid_trust.htm.
  5. ^ Escobar, Pepe. "THE ROVING EYE: Anatomy of a 'terrorist' NGO." Asia Times Online, October 26, 2001. http://www.atimes.com/c-asia/CJ26Ag01.html.
  6. ^ "Al-rashid Trust." South Asia Terrorism Portal (n.d.). http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/pakistan/terroristoutfits/al-rashid_trust.htm.
  7. ^ Escobar, Pepe. "THE ROVING EYE: Anatomy of a 'terrorist' NGO." Asia Times Online, October 26, 2001. http://www.atimes.com/c-asia/CJ26Ag01.html.
  8. ^ Roggio, Bill. "US designates two Pakistanis for running al Qaeda and Taliban charitable front groups." The Long War Journal, April 15, 2010. http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2010/04/us_designates_two_pa.php.
  9. ^ "Will Bush's asset freeze work?." BBC, November 7, 2001, sec. Business. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/1561189.stm.
  10. ^ Escobar, Pepe. "THE ROVING EYE: Anatomy of a 'terrorist' NGO." Asia Times Online, October 26, 2001. http://www.atimes.com/c-asia/CJ26Ag01.html.
  11. ^ "Al Akhtar Trust." U.S. Department of the Treasury, July 17, 2008. https://treasury.gov/offices/.../charities_execorder_13224-a.shtml.
  12. ^ "Al-rashid Trust." South Asia Terrorism Portal (n.d.). http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/pakistan/terroristoutfits/al-rashid_trust.htm.
  13. ^ "Al-rashid Trust." South Asia Terrorism Portal (n.d.). http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/pakistan/terroristoutfits/al-rashid_trust.htm
  14. ^ Escobar, Pepe. "THE ROVING EYE: Anatomy of a 'terrorist' NGO." Asia Times Online, October 26, 2001. http://www.atimes.com/c-asia/CJ26Ag01.html.
  15. ^ "Al Rashid Trust, Extremist Group of Pakistan. South Asian Terrorism Portal. Available at: http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/pakistan/terroristoutfits/al-rashid_trust.htm
  16. ^ "Al Rashid Trust, Extremist Group of Pakistan. South Asian Terrorism Portal. Available at: http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/pakistan/terroristoutfits/al-rashid_trust.htm
  17. ^ "Al Rashid Trust, Extremist Group of Pakistan. South Asian Terrorism Portal. Available at: http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/pakistan/terroristoutfits/al-rashid_trust.htm
  18. ^ "Treasury Identifies New Aliases of Al Rashid and Al-Akhtar Trusts, Pakistan-Based Trusts Previously Designated For Supporting Al Qaida." 2008. Available at: http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/hp1065.aspx
  19. ^ "U.S. DESIGNATES AL RASHID TRUST Pakistani Based Charity is Suspected of Raising Money for Terrorists in Iraq" (US Department of Treasury, October 14, 2003), http://www.ustreas.gov/press/releases/js899.htm.
  20. ^ "Al-rashid Trust." South Asia Terrorism Portal (n.d.). http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/pakistan/terroristoutfits/al-rashid_trust.htm.
  21. ^ U.S. DESIGNATES AL RASHID TRUST Pakistani Based Charity is Suspected of Raising Money for Terrorists in Iraq" (US Department of Treasury, October 14, 2003), http://www.ustreas.gov/press/releases/js899.htm.
  22. ^ Raman, B. "THE JAISH-E-MOHAMMAD (JEM)." South Asia Analysis Group, December 16, 2001. http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/%5Cpapers4%5Cpaper376.html.
  23. ^ "Al-rashid Trust." South Asia Terrorism Portal (n.d.). http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/pakistan/terroristoutfits/al-rashid_trust.htm.
  24. ^ "Al-rashid Trust." South Asia Terrorism Portal (n.d.). http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/pakistan/terroristoutfits/al-rashid_trust.htm.
  25. ^ "Al-rashid Trust." South Asia Terrorism Portal (n.d.). http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/pakistan/terroristoutfits/al-rashid_trust.htm.
  26. ^ Z. Hussain, "Frontline Pakistan : the struggle with militant Islam," Columbia University Press, New York (2007); pp 66.
  27. ^ Z. Hussain, "Frontline Pakistan : the struggle with militant Islam," Columbia University Press, New York (2007); pp 66.
  28. ^ http://zarbpk.blogspot.com/
  29. ^ B. Raman, "Pakistan and Terrorism: The Evidence," South Asia Analysis Group, Paper No. 390 (2002) available at: http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/papers4/paper390.html.
  30. ^ "'Terrorist' NGO has nuclear weapons connection." Asia Times Online, October 27, 2001. http://www.atimes.com/ind-pak/CJ27Df01.html.
  31. ^ "Extremists Fill Aid Chasm After Quake - washingtonpost.com," October 16, 2005. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/15/AR2005101501392.html.

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