Qatar tightened oversight of charities that send money abroad amid growing U.S. pressure to stop the flow of funds to militants including Islamic State.
Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, the country’s Emir, signed a law yesterday creating a charities regulator, local newspapers including Al Raya and The Peninsula reported. Groups must receive approval to collect donations, the newspapers said. Those running charities involved in politics or sending money to other countries without approval may face fines or jail.
The move came after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Sept. 14 that Gulf countries should tighten rules preventing individuals from sending money to terrorist organizations. The U.S. is forming a coalition of countries to confront Islamic State militants, who have captured a swath of territory 700 kilometers (435 miles) long, stretching from Aleppo in Syria to Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan.
The group, which has beheaded journalists, executed captured Iraqi and Syrian soldiers and driven out religious minorities including Christians and Yezidis, poses the biggest threat to Iraq’s government since the 2003 U.S. invasion of the country.
Unlike other extremist groups’ reliance on foreign donations that can be squeezed by sanctions, Islamic State may be raising more than $2 million dollars a day in revenue from oil sales, extortion, taxes and smuggling, according to U.S. intelligence officials and anti-terrorism finance experts.
Islamic State is being funded by individuals in the Gulf via the cover of charities, Jean-Louis Bruguiere, France’s former top anti-terrorist magistrate, said in an interview. “These countries now realize that they have put themselves in danger,” he said.
Qatar doesn’t support extremist groups in any way and there is no evidence for alleged government-funded aid to Islamic State, Germany’s Bild reported Sept. 6, citing Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid al-Attiyah.