al-Haramain Foundation

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Al-Haramain Foundation
Al haramain logo 2050081722-22058.jpg
Abbreviation HIF
Formation 1988
Extinction 2004
Type NGO
Legal status Foundation
Headquarters Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Region served Worldwide
President Aqeel Abdulaziz Aqeel al-Aqeel
Remarks  UN Banned worldwide by the United Nations Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee, for “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing or perpetrating of acts or activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf or in support of” Al-Qaida.[1][2]

Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation was a charity foundation, based in Saudi Arabia, alleged by the U.S. Department of the Treasury in a September 2004 press release to have "direct links" with Osama bin Laden.[3] The charity is now banned worldwide by United Nations Security Council Committee 1267.[4]

The Office of Foreign Assets Control of the United States Department of the Treasury had already banned various branches of this organization at various times, including the US branch on 9 September 2004.[3] Under various names it had branches in Afghanistan, Albania, Bangladesh, Bosnia, Comoros, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kenya, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Tanzania, and the United States.[4]

"At its height", Al-Haramain reportedly raised "$40 million to $50 million a year" in contributions worldwide. While most of these funds went to feed poor Muslims around the world[5] and only a small amount to Al-Qaeda, that money (and money from other Islamic charities) was "a major source of funds for al Qaeda".[5] As late as 2004 U.S. and Saudi government efforts "to cut the flow have largely failed".[5]


According to the Associate Press, al Qaeda provided funds to a suspect in the November 2002 bombing of an Israeli hotel in Kenya, using with sympathizers inside Al-Haramain and other Islamic charities.[5] A wholesale fish business financed with Al-Haramain funds used some of its profits to help the al Qaeda cell behind the August 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in East Africa.[5]


According to a UN Security Council committee, the Al-Haramain Foundation (Indonesia) was listed "as being associated with Al-Qaida, Usama bin Laden or the Taliban for `participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing or perpetrating of acts or activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf or in support of” Al-Qaida

Using a variety of means, Al-Haramain Foundation provided financial support to Al-Qaida operatives in Indonesia and to Jemaah Islamiyah (JI). According to a senior Al-Qaida official apprehended in South-East Asia, Al-Haramain Foundation was one of the primary sources of funding for Al-Qaida network activities in the region. JI has committed a series of terrorist attacks, including the bombing of a nightclub in Bali on 12 October 2002 that killed 202 persons and wounded over 300 others.[6](QE.A.4.01).


On 19 June 2008, U.S. Department of the Treasury "designated" the Al Haramain Islamic Foundation (AHF) "for having provided financial and material support to al Qaida, as well as a wide range of designated terrorists and terrorist organizations." As a consequence, an "assets held by any office of the AHF organization under U.S. jurisdiction [were] frozen and U.S. persons [were] prohibited from engaging in any transactions with AHF."[7]


The U.S. government accused Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation of Ashland, Oregon of sending $150,000 through Saudi Arabia to fund terrorist activities and support Chechen mujahideen under the guise of humanitarian aid.

The American branch of Al-Haramain Foundation filed a lawsuit against President George W. Bush, the NSA, FBI, and several other US officials[8] on 28 February 2006.[9] The suit asserted that the Bush administration had circumvented the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by authorizing warrantless wiretaps. They asserted that the President lacked the authority to authorize wiretaps that circumvented the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

The charity filed suit in August 2007, challenging the Department of Treasury's 2004 designation of Al Haramain as a "specially designated global terrorist" and the seizure and freezing of all of its assets.[10] In September 2011, an appeals court ruled that United States officials correctly designated the charity as supporting terrorism, but found the Treasury department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control improperly seized the charity’s assets using a “blocking order” to freeze them without a warrant supported by probable cause, violating the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable seizures, and that they also violated the charity's procedural due process rights by failing to give a post-seizure explanation of the basis for the seizure.[11]

In 2010 one of the charity's founders was convicted of tax-fraud but the conviction was overturned in 2013.[12] In August 2013, the group filed a petition with a committee of the United Nations Security Council to remove the nonprofit from its list of entities associated with al-Qaida.[12]

There was one branch of the foundation in the United States, located at Ashland, Oregon.[citation needed] The Ashland chapter assisted the Islamic Society of Springfield, Missouri, in the purchase of a prayer house, but the Springfield organization shares no common directors and is not and never was under the control of the Al-Haramain organization.[citation needed]

Three individuals whose conversations were intercepted, Suliman al-Buthe, Wendell Belew and Asim Ghafoor, learned of the eavesdropping when U.S. officials accidentally delivered logs of phone calls to them.[9] Al-Buthe, who had traveled intermittently to the United States but who has always resided in Saudi Arabia, had been one of the directors of the Ashland chapter. Belew and Ghafoor were two of the Foundation's U.S. lawyers.

Thomas H. Nelson of Welches, Oregon, another Foundation lawyer, filed the lawsuit. Court records show he filed a motion to place the relevant material under seal.

On 31 March 2010, US District Court Judge Vaughn R. Walker ruled that the Bush administration should have gotten warrants for its wiretaps of Al Haramain.[13]


  1. ^ QE.A.103.04. AL-HARAMAIN FOUNDATION (INDONESIA) United Nations, 30 October 2009
  2. ^ QE.A.104.04. AL-HARAMAIN FOUNDATION (PAKISTAN) United Nations, 30 October 2009
  3. ^ a b U.S.-Based Branch of Al Haramain Foundation Linked to Terror, press release, US Department of the Treasury, 9 September 2004
  4. ^ a b The United States Treasury Department has designated Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation as a "specially designated global terrorist" organization.UN list of affiliates of al-Qaeda and the Taliban
  5. ^ a b c d e Cosgrove-Mather, Bootie (June 7, 2004). "Al Qaeda Skimming Charity Money". CBS News. AP. Retrieved 21 August 2014. 
  6. ^ "Security Council Committee pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011) concerning Al-Qaida and associated individuals and entities. QE.A.103.04. AL-HARAMAIN FOUNDATION (INDONESIA)". UN. Retrieved 21 August 2014. 
  7. ^ "Treasury Designates Al Haramain Islamic Foundation". U.S. Department of the Treasury. 6/19/2008. Retrieved 21 August 2014. 
  9. ^ a b Carol D. Leonnig (2 March 2006). "Saudi Group Alleges Wiretapping by U.S.: Defunct Charity's Suit Details Eavesdropping". Washington Post. Retrieved 23 April 2010. 
  10. ^ "Al Haramain v. Department of Treasury". U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Retrieved 27 September 2011. 
  11. ^ "Officials Improperly Seized Assets of Islamic Charity, Court Finds". New York Times. Reuters. 23 September 2011. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  12. ^ a b Denson, Bryan. "Ashland Islamic charity seeks removal from U.N. list of entities associated with al-Qaida". Retrieved 21 August 2014. 
  13. ^ Charlie Savage, James Risen (31 March 2010). "Federal Judge Finds N.S.A. Wiretaps Were Illegal". New York Times. Archived from the original on 6 April 2010. Retrieved 26 April 2010. "A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the National Security Agency’s program of surveillance without warrants was illegal, rejecting the Obama administration’s effort to keep shrouded in secrecy one of the most disputed counterterrorism policies of former President George W. Bush." 

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