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Qatar’s support for extremists undermines regional and international security

Provides direct financial and logistical support to internationally designated terrorist groups

Harbors sanction-designated or wanted individuals including former Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal and Muslim Brotherhood ideologue Yusuf al-Qaradawi, as well as seven al-Qaeda financiers and three Taliban operatives

Invests in global financial institutions directly linked to entities that finance and support the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas

Qatari commitment to counterterrorism efforts must be complete and unequivocal

Counterterrorism packages of 2004 and 2014 must be fully enforced

As signatory to the 2014 Jeddah Communique—Qatari is obligated to end terror/terror financing

Despite passing counterterrorism legislation and partaking in U.S.-led counterterrorism initiatives, Doha continues to directly fund internationally designated terrorist groups and harbor internationally designated operatives.

CEP’s QATAR-HARBORS Campaign seeks to end Qatari government support for terror groups and individuals.

Specifically, CEP is calling on Qatar to arrest, expel, or otherwise cut off support to sanction-designated or wanted individuals currently domiciled in Qatar

CEP is also calling on Qatar to halt all support—financial, material, and strategic—to internationally designated terrorist groups including Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Nusra Front, and the Taliban.

Overview

Qatar—a longtime U.S. ally and member of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS—has supported and harbored international terrorist organizations and individuals. The hydrocarbon-rich Gulf country sends direct financial and material support to internationally designated terrorist groups such as Hamas and the Nusra Front,“Qatar says gives $30 million to pay Gaza public sector workers,” Reuters, July 22, 2016, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-palestinians-gaza-qatar-idUSKCN1021AQ; Dov Lieber, “Haniyeh seeks to pay Hamas ‘military personnel’ with Qatar’s money,” Times of Israel, August 2, 2016, http://www.timesofisrael.com/haniyeh-seeks-to-pay-hamas-military-personnel-with-qatars-money/;
Miriam Karouny, “Insight - Syria's Nusra Front may leave Qaeda to form new entity,” Reuters, March 4, 2015, http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-mideast-crisis-nusra-insight-idUKKBN0M00G620150304.
and knowingly permits internationally designated or wanted terrorist leaders and financiers to operate within its borders.Peter Kovessy, “Qatar FM: Hamas leader to remain in Doha as ‘dear guest’,” Doha News, January 13, 2015, https://dohanews.co/qatar-fm-hamas-leader-remain-doha-dear-guest/;
Shabina S. Khatri, “Egypt demands extradition of Sheikh Yusuf Al Qaradawi from Qatar,” Doha News, February 5, 2014, https://dohanews.co/egypt-demands-extradition-of-sheikh-yusuf-al-qaradawi-from-qatar/;
“Report on the Inquiry into: The Department of Defense’s May 2014 Transfer to Qatar of five law-of-war detainees in connection with the recovery of a captive U.S. soldier,” Committee on Armed Services, December 9, 2015, https://armedservices.house.gov/sites/republicans.armedservices.house.gov/files/wysiwyg_uploaded/Report%20on%20the%20Inquiry%20into%20the%20Taliban%20Five%20Transfer_0.pdf;
“Treasury Designates Al-Qa’ida Supporters in Qatar and Yemen,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, December 19, 2013, http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl2249.aspx;
“Treasury Designates Twelve Foreign Terrorist Fighter Facilitators,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, September 24, 2014, http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl2651.aspx;
Andrew Gilligan, “Minister’s family ties to terror,” Telegraph (London), November 1, 2014, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/qatar/11203140/Ministers-family-ties-to-terror.html;
“Treasury Designates Financial Supporters of Al-Qaida and Al-Nusrah Front,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, August 5, 2015, http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl0143.aspx.

The Qatari government has lent support to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)David Andrew Weinberg, “Terrorist Financing: Kidnapping, Antiquities Trafficking, and Private Donations,” Foundation for Defense of Democracies, November 17, 2015, 8, http://docs.house.gov/meetings/FA/FA18/20151117/104202/HHRG-114-FA18-Wstate-WeinbergD-20151117.pdf., Hamas “Qatar says gives $30 million to pay Gaza public sector workers,” Reuters, July 22, 2016, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-palestinians-gaza-qatar-idUSKCN1021AQ;
Dov Lieber, “Haniyeh seeks to pay Hamas ‘military personnel’ with Qatar’s money,” Times of Israel, August 2, 2016, http://www.timesofisrael.com/haniyeh-seeks-to-pay-hamas-military-personnel-with-qatars-money/.
, the Muslim Brotherhood“Egypt returns $2 billion to Qatar in sign of growing tensions,” Reuters, September 19, 2013, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-egypt-qatar-deposits-idUSBRE98I0N020130919., al-Nusra Front Miriam Karouny, “Insight - Syria's Nusra Front may leave Qaeda to form new entity,” Reuters, March 4, 2015, http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-mideast-crisis-nusra-insight-idUKKBN0M00G620150304; “Syrian Nusra Front announces split from al-Qaeda,” BBC news, July 29, 2016, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-36916606;
Erika Solomon, “Outside Help Behind Rebel Advances in Aleppo,” Financial Times, August 8, 2016, https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:1pPIFlb05uUJ:https://www.ft.com/content/da076830-5d77-11e6-a72a-bd4bf1198c63+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us.
, and the Taliban“Q&A: Afghan Taliban open Doha office,” BBC News, June 20, 2013, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-22957827;
Associated Press, “Taliban reaffirms authority of its Qatar ‘political office,’”
Dawn, January 25, 2016, http://www.dawn.com/news/1235165.
—including through direct money loans, ransom payments, and supplies transfers. Qatar is also currently harboring at least 13 sanction-designated or wanted individuals, including former Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, current Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, Muslim Brotherhood ideologue Yusuf al-Qaradawi, three U.N.-sanctioned Taliban operatives, and at least seven al-Qaeda financiers.Peter Kovessy, “Qatar FM: Hamas leader to remain in Doha as ‘dear guest’,” Doha News, January 13, 2015, https://dohanews.co/qatar-fm-hamas-leader-remain-doha-dear-guest/;
Shabina S. Khatri, “Egypt demands extradition of Sheikh Yusuf Al Qaradawi from Qatar,” Doha News, February 5, 2014, https://dohanews.co/egypt-demands-extradition-of-sheikh-yusuf-al-qaradawi-from-qatar/;
“Report on the Inquiry into: The Department of Defense’s May 2014 Transfer to Qatar of five law-of-war detainees in connection with the recovery of a captive U.S. soldier,” Committee on Armed Services, December 9, 2015, https://armedservices.house.gov/sites/republicans.armedservices.house.gov/files/wysiwyg_uploaded/Report%20on%20the%20Inquiry%20into%20the%20Taliban%20Five%20Transfer_0.pdf;
“Treasury Designates Al-Qa’ida Supporters in Qatar and Yemen,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, December 19, 2013, http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl2249.aspx;
“Treasury Designates Twelve Foreign Terrorist Fighter Facilitators,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, September 24, 2014, http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl2651.aspx; Andrew Gilligan, “Minister’s family ties to terror,” Telegraph (London), November 1, 2014, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/qatar/11203140/Ministers-family-ties-to-terror.html;
“Treasury Designates Financial Supporters of Al-Qaida and Al-Nusrah Front,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, August 5, 2015, http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl0143.aspx.
Although these individuals have been publicly sanctioned by the United States or United Nations, or are the subject of INTERPOL arrest warrants, they are able to live with impunity—and in some cases, in luxury—within Qatar.

Direct Government Funding and Support

The Qatari government has paid ransom demands, shipped supplies, and funneled billions of dollars of funding to internationally designated extremist groups throughout the Middle East and North Africa.David Andrew Weinberg, “Terrorist Financing: Kidnapping, Antiquities Trafficking, and Private Donations,” Foundation for Defense of Democracies, November 17, 2015, 8, 9-14, http://docs.house.gov/meetings/FA/FA18/20151117/104202/HHRG-114-FA18-Wstate-WeinbergD-20151117.pdf;
“Egypt returns $2 billion to Qatar in sign of growing tensions,” Reuters, September 19, 2013, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-egypt-qatar-deposits-idUSBRE98I0N020130919;
Mick Krever, “Qatar's Emir: We don't fund terrorists,” CNN, September 25, 2014, http://www.cnn.com/2014/09/25/world/meast/qatar-emir/;
Yusuf Kanly, “Is Turkish foreign policy successful?,” Hurriyet Daily News, October 21, 2013, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/is-turkish-foreign-policy-successful.aspx?pageID=449&nID=56527&NewsCatID=425;
Miriam Karouny, “Insight - Syria's Nusra Front may leave Qaeda to form new entity,” Reuters, March 4, 2015, http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-mideast-crisis-nusra-insight-idUKKBN0M00G620150304.
These groups include al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, the al-Nusra Front, and the Taliban.David Andrew Weinberg, “Terrorist Financing: Kidnapping, Antiquities Trafficking, and Private Donations,” Foundation for Defense of Democracies, November 17, 2015, 8, 9-14, http://docs.house.gov/meetings/FA/FA18/20151117/104202/HHRG-114-FA18-Wstate-WeinbergD-20151117.pdf;
“Egypt returns $2 billion to Qatar in sign of growing tensions,” Reuters, September 19, 2013, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-egypt-qatar-deposits-idUSBRE98I0N020130919;
Mick Krever, “Qatar's Emir: We don't fund terrorists,” CNN, September 25, 2014, http://www.cnn.com/2014/09/25/world/meast/qatar-emir/;
Yusuf Kanly, “Is Turkish foreign policy successful?,” Hurriyet Daily News, October 21, 2013, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/is-turkish-foreign-policy-successful.aspx?pageID=449&nID=56527&NewsCatID=425;
Miriam Karouny, “Insight - Syria's Nusra Front may leave Qaeda to form new entity,” Reuters, March 4, 2015, http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-mideast-crisis-nusra-insight-idUKKBN0M00G620150304.

Violent Extremist Groups
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Pensinula (AQAP)

Based in Yemen and Saudi Arabia, AQAP is known for its English-language magazine Inspire, as well as its involvement in both the 2009 Christmas Day bomb plot and the 2010 Times Square bomb plot. The group claimed responsibility for the massacre at the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo in 2015. It has seized and controls territory across Yemen’s southern provinces, where it seeks to implement sharia (Islamic law).

Designated by:

Australia, Canada, Israel, United Kingdom, United Nations, United States

Qatari Support:


Hamas

The ruling terror party of the Gaza Strip, Hamas openly seeks the destruction of Israel. The group uses suicide bombings, rocket and mortar attacks, shootings, and kidnappings in pursuit of its stated objectives.

Designated by:

Australia, Canada, Egypt, EU, Israel, Japan, Jordan, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States

Qatari Support:


Muslim Brotherhood

The Muslim Brotherhood—founded in Egypt in 1928—is a transnational Islamist organization with branches worldwide. In the 1950s, Brotherhood theologian Sayyid Qutb legitimized the use of violent jihad—and the killing of secular Muslims—in order to implement sharia. Analysts argue that the Brotherhood’s ideology has spawned groups such as al-Qaeda and ISIS.

Designated by:

Bahrain, Egypt, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates

Qatari Support:


Al-Nusra Front (Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham)

Al-Nusra Front (Hayat Tahrir al-Sham) is a territory-controlling jihadist insurgent group operating in Syria. Long known as al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, the group claimed to have formally renounced ties to its mother group in July 2016. Al-Nusra Front has carried out military campaigns, kidnappings, suicide bombings, and assassinations, and is reported to receive the highest number of foreign fighters in Syria after ISIS. It currently operates under an Islamist umbrella organization known as Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (Assembly for the Liberation of Sham).

Designated by:

Australia, Canada, France, New Zealand, EU, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Nations, United States

Qatari Support:

[Qatar is] promising Nusra more support, i.e. money, supplies etc., once they let go of the Qaeda ties. Unamed Qatari government official, March 2015

Taliban

The Taliban is an Afghanistan- and Pakistan-based jihadist insurgent group that has carried out numerous deadly terrorist attacks in the region, including the shooting of Malala Yousafzai in Pakistan’s Swat Valley in October 2012, the December 2015 assault on Kandahar Air Field, which left 50 dead, and the December 2014 massacre at the army-run school in Peshawar that killed 148 people, 132 of whom were schoolchildren.

Designated by:

Canada, EU, France, Kazakhstan, New Zealand, Russia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Nations, United States

Qatari Support:


Financial Institutions
Al Rayan Bank

Al Rayan Bank (Masraf Al Rayan) is a Qatar-based banking network that seeks to be the world’s largest sharia-based banking system."Vision, Mission and Values," Masraf Al Rayan, accessed August 25, 2020, https://www.alrayan.com/english/marprofile/vision-mission-and-values. A U.S. lawsuit filed in June 2020 alleged Qatar provided funding to Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and Hamas through three Qatari financial institutions, the Qatar Charity, Masraf Al Rayan, and Qatar National Bank. All three institutions have links to members of the Qatari royal family. The plaintiffs are friends and family members of 10 U.S. citizens who died in terror attacks in the West Bank carried out by PIJ and Hamas between 2014 and 2016. The lawsuit alleges Qatar Charity worked with Masraf Al Rayan bank and Qatar National Bank to forward Hamas and PIJ millions of dollars. It further accuses the Qatari government of coopting “several institutions that it dominates and controls to funnel coveted U.S. dollars (the chosen currency of Middle East terrorist networks) to Hamas and PIJ under the false guise of charitable donations.”"Ray Hanania, “Lawsuit names Qatar’s royal family in killings of 10 Americans in Israel,” Arab News, June 11, 2020, https://www.arabnews.com/node/1688051/middle-east;
Adam Kredo, “Lawsuit Alleges Qatar Secretly Financed Terror Attacks that Killed Americans,” Washington Free Beacon, June 10, 2020 https://freebeacon.com/national-security/lawsuit-alleges-qatar-secretly-financed-terror-attacks-that-killed-americans/.

Based in Birmingham, England, the British subsidiary of Al Rayan Bank is reportedly the largest and oldest Islamic bank in the United Kingdom. Al Rayan claims it does not support any extremist entities, but the approximately 85,000 customers of Al Rayan’s U.K. network include a number of British Islamist organizations that are accused of promoting extremism and supporting groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.Andrew Norfolk, “Al Rayan Bank: Clients include ‘terror’ group and Abu Hamza’s former mosque,” The Times (London), August 5, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/al-rayan-bank-clients-include-terror-group-and-abu-hamzas-former-mosque-zfq0xk3bd?region=global;
“About Us,” Al Ryan Bank, accessed August 25, 2020, https://www.alrayanbank.co.uk/useful-info-tools/about-us/.
For example, Al Rayan’s clients include London’s Finsbury Park Mosque, which previously employed extremist imam Abu Hamza al-Masri, who is serving two life sentences in the United States for supporting terrorism. The mosque was subsequently taken over by the Brotherhood-linked Muslim Association of Britain. HSBC closed the mosque’s accounts in 2014, calling the mosque outside of the bank’s “risk appetite.”Andrew Norfolk, “Al Rayan Bank: Clients include ‘terror’ group and Abu Hamza’s former mosque,” The Times (London), August 5, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/al-rayan-bank-clients-include-terror-group-and-abu-hamzas-former-mosque-zfq0xk3bd?region=global;
Haroon Siddique, “HSBC shuts accounts of Muslim organisations, including Finsbury Park mosque,” Guardian (London), July 30, 2014, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/30/hsbc-shuts-accounts-muslim-organisations-finsbury-park-mosque;
Al Rayan’s clients also include the U.S-sanctioned charity InterPal, which the U.S. government accuses of providing financial support to Hamas.“U.S. Designates Five Charities Funding Hamas and Six Senior Hamas Leaders as Terrorist Entities,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, August 22, 2003, https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/js672.aspx;

Designated by:

Not determined

Qatari Support:


Qatar National Bank

Qatar National Bank (a.k.a. QNB Group) is the largest banking network in Qatar."Qatar National Bank – Qatar,” Arabian Business Network, accessed August 25, 2020, https://www.arabianbusiness.com/companies/qatar-national-bank-qatar-66872.html. As of June 2020, the bank had $267 billion in assets and claimed to be the largest bank in the Middle East and Africa region."Our Profile,” Qatar National Bank, accessed August 25, 2020, https://www.qnb.com/sites/qnb/qnbglobal/page/en/enqnbprofile.html. The bank has branches throughout the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Europe."QNB International Network,” Qatar National Bank, accessed August 25, 2020, https://www.qnb.com/sites/qnb/qnbglobal/page/en/enqnbglobalnetwork.html. A U.S. lawsuit filed in June 2020 alleged Qatar provided funding to Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and Hamas through three Qatari financial institutions, the Qatar Charity, Masraf Al Rayan, and Qatar National Bank. All three institutions have links to members of the Qatari royal family. The plaintiffs are friends and family members of 10 U.S. citizens who died in terror attacks in the West Bank carried out by PIJ and Hamas between 2014 and 2016. The lawsuit alleges Qatar Charity worked with Masraf Al Rayan and Qatar National Bank to forward Hamas and PIJ millions of dollars.Ray Hanania, “Lawsuit names Qatar’s royal family in killings of 10 Americans in Israel,” Arab News, June 11, 2020, https://www.arabnews.com/node/1688051/middle-east;
Adam Kredo, “Lawsuit Alleges Qatar Secretly Financed Terror Attacks that Killed Americans,” Washington Free Beacon, June 10, 2020, https://freebeacon.com/national-security/lawsuit-alleges-qatar-secretly-financed-terror-attacks-that-killed-americans/.

Designated by:

Not determined

Qatari Support:


Charities

Sheikh Eid Bin Mohammad Al Thani Charitable Foundation, a.k.a. Eid Charity

The Sheikh Eid Bin Mohammad Al Thani Charitable Foundation, a.k.a. Eid Charity or Eid Foundation, is a Qatar-based charity focused on humanitarian aid and development assistance, primarily in war-torn countries.“Who We Are,” Eid Charity, accessed August 24, 2020, https://www.eidcharity.net/en/index.php?page=article&id=2337. The charity is also subject to allegations that it has supported terrorism.“What are Qatar's most active charities to support, finance terrorism around the world?,” Egypt Today, August 22, 2020, https://www.egypttoday.com/Article/1/91120/What-are-Qatar-s-most-active-charities-to-support-finance. The Eid Charity is a member of the Union of Good, which is designated as a terrorist organization by the United States and Canada for providing financial support to Hamas.Stewart Bell and Rumina Daya, “Audit of B.C. mosque charity alleges personal spending, ‘relationship’ with Qatar group accused of supporting terror,” Global News, September 27, 2017, https://globalnews.ca/news/3762864/bc-mosque-qatar-terror-relationship/. Israel designated the Eid Charity as an unlawful organization in June 2008 because of its association with the Union of Good.“APPENDIX G International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy (Canada) Links to Hamas,” Blumbergs, April 11, 2011, https://www.canadiancharitylaw.ca/uploads/Appendix_G_AFL_IRFAN.pdf. The Union of Good was led by Qatar-based Muslim Brotherhood ideologue Yusuf al-Qaradawi.“Sudarsan Raghavan and Joby Warrick, “How a 91-year-old imam came to symbolize the feud between Qatar and its neighbors,” Washington Post, June 27, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/how-a-91-year-old-imam-came-to-symbolize-feud-between-qatar-and-its-neighbors/2017/06/26/601d41b4-5157-11e7-91eb-9611861a988f_story.html. The Eid Charity is also suspected of working with individuals in Somalia linked to al-Shabaab.Aykan Erdemir and Varsha Koduvayur, “Brothers in Arms,” Foundation for Defense of Democracies, December 11, 2019, https://www.fdd.org/analysis/2019/12/11/brothers-in-arms/. U.S.-designated Abd al-Rahman bin ‘Umayr al-Nu’aymi is one of the co-founders of the Eid Charity.Robert Mendick, “Al-Qaeda terror financier worked for Qatari government,” Telegraph (London), October 12, 2014, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/11156327/Al-Qaeda-terror-financier-worked-for-Qatari-government.html;
Gemma Mullin, “Revealed: How Al Qaeda paymasters are 'living freely' in Qatar despite Gulf state's claim that it doesn't support terrorists,” Daily Mail (London), November 15, 2014, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2836320/How-Al-Qaeda-paymasters-living-freely-Qatar-despite-Gulf-state-s-claim-doesn-t-support-terrorists.html
In Yemen, the Eid Charity has partnered with the Al Ihsan Charitable Foundation led by Abdullah Mohammed al-Yazidi, who was arrested in Yemen in 2016 for supporting al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).“The nine individuals added to the Qatar-backed terror list,” Al Arabiya, July 25, 2017, https://english.alarabiya.net/en/features/2017/07/25/The-nine-individuals-added-to-the-Qatar-backed-terror-list;
“Treasury Designates Key Facilitators and Front Company Providing Support to Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, December 7, 2016, https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl0673.aspx
In August 2020, Fox News reported a private security contractor in Qatar had compiled a dossier alleging the Eid Charity passed payments to Lebanese terror group Hezbollah.Benjamin Weinthal and Jonathan Spyer, “Qatar’s alleged finance of Hezbollah terrorist movement puts US troops at risk, dossier claims,” Fox News, August 5, 2020, https://www.foxnews.com/world/qatars-finance-of-hezbollah-terrorist-movement-puts-us-troops-at-risk-dossier-claims. The foundation has denied knowingly providing support to terrorists designated by the United Nations or Qatar“Statement of Mr. Ali Al-Suwaidi on Terrorism,” Eid Charity, September 27, 2016, https://www.eidcharity.net/en/index.php?page=article&id=2263#.

Designated by:

Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates

Qatari Support:


Sheikh Thani Bin Abdullah Foundation for Humanitarian Services, a.k.a. RAF Foundation

The RAF Foundation is a Qatar-based charity that purports to provide international emergency relief and developmental aid. The foundation has coordinated support for war-torn Syria, including by funding shelter for homeless orphans.RAF Foundation, homepage, accessed August 26, 2020, http://www.raf-thani.com/; “RAF mobilises QR12m in two hours for Syria,” Peninsula (Doha), February 9, 2015 https://web.archive.org/web/20150825120059/http://thepeninsulaqatar.com/news/qatar/320917/raf-mobilises-qr12m-in-two-hours-for-syria. The charity is also subject to allegations that it has supported international terrorism."What are Qatar’s most active charities to support, finance terrorism around the world?," Egypt Today, August 22, 2020, https://www.egypttoday.com/Article/1/91120/What-are-Qatar-s-most-active-charities-to-support-finance. The foundation includes among its membership internationally sanctioned individuals. The internationally designated terror financier Abd al-Rahman bin ‘Umayr al-Nu’aymi was one of the foundation’s founders."Qatar’s Concept of ‘Humanitarian Services," European Eye on Radicalization, February 27, 2020, https://eeradicalization.com/qatars-concept-of-humanitarian-services/. Other members include Mohammed Jassim al-Sulaiti, an associate of al-Qaeda financier Khalifa Muhammad Turki al-Subaiy. Sulaiti himself is accused of funneling financial transfers to al-Nusra Front (Hayat Tahrir al-Sham) in Syria. The charity is also accused of funding militant groups in Syria, including al-Nusra Front."Qatar continues to funnel money to extremist groups through its charities," Middle East Online, February 26, 2020, https://middle-east-online.com/en/qatar-continues-funnel-money-extremist-groups-through-its-charities;
"On the terror list: Mohammed Jassim al-Sulaiti, an al-Qaeda associate," Al Arabiya, June 12, 2017, https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2017/06/12/Who-is-Mohammed-Jassim-al-Sulaiti-.
The RAF Foundation is also suspected of working with individuals in Somalia linked to al-ShabaabAykan Erdemir and Varsha Koduvayur, "Brothers in Arms," Foundation for Defense of Democracies, December 11, 2019, https://www.fdd.org/analysis/2019/12/11/brothers-in-arms/. and supporting deposed Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.“Qatar’s Concept of ‘Humanitarian Services,’” European Eye on Radicalization, February 27, 2020, https://eeradicalization.com/qatars-concept-of-humanitarian-services/. The Qatari government has denied providing support to violent extremists in Syria."Qatar continues to funnel money to extremist groups through its charities," Middle East Online, February 26, 2020, https://middle-east-online.com/en/qatar-continues-funnel-money-extremist-groups-through-its-charities.

Designated by:

Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates

Qatari Support:

  • The RAF Foundation’s board of directors is comprised of members of the Qatari royal family.“RAF Board of Directors,” RAF Foundation, accessed August 26, 2020, http://www.raf-thani.com/AboutUsEn.

Qatar Charity

The Qatar Charity is the country’s largest non-governmental organization with operations in 30 countries around the world and relationships with various U.N. agencies.“UN: We are not bound by Saudi Arabia’s ‘terror list,’” Al Jazeera, June 9, 2017, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/06/bound-saudi-arabia-terror-list-170609184543168.html;
“About Qatar Charity,” Qatar Charity, accessed August 26, 2020, https://www.qcharity.org/en/qa/about.
The Qatar Charity is a member of the U.S.-sanctioned Union of Good charity network, which is accused of providing financial support to Hamas. Israel designated the Qatar Charity as an unlawful organization in June 2008 because of its association with the Union of Good.“APPENDIX G International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy (Canada) Links to Hamas,” Blumbergs, April 11, 2011, https://www.canadiancharitylaw.ca/uploads/Appendix_G_AFL_IRFAN.pdf. A U.S. lawsuit filed in June 2020 alleged Qatar provided funding to Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and Hamas through three Qatari financial institutions, the Qatar Charity, Masraf Al Rayan, and Qatar National Bank. All three institutions have links to members of the Qatari royal family. The plaintiffs are friends and family members of 10 U.S. citizens who died in terror attacks in the West Bank carried out by PIJ and Hamas between 2014 and 2016. The lawsuit alleges Qatar Charity worked with Masraf Al Rayan and Qatar National Bank to forward Hamas and PIJ millions of dollars. It further accuses the Qatari government of coopting “several institutions that it dominates and controls to funnel coveted U.S. dollars (the chosen currency of Middle East terrorist networks) to Hamas and PIJ under the false guise of charitable donations.”Ray Hanania, “Lawsuit names Qatar’s royal family in killings of 10 Americans in Israel,” Arab News, June 11, 2020, https://www.arabnews.com/node/1688051/middle-east;
Adam Kredo, “Lawsuit Alleges Qatar Secretly Financed Terror Attacks that Killed Americans,” Washington Free Beacon, June 10, 2020, https://freebeacon.com/national-security/lawsuit-alleges-qatar-secretly-financed-terror-attacks-that-killed-americans/.
The Qatar Charity is also suspected of working with individuals in Somalia linked to al-Shabaab.Aykan Erdemir and Varsha Koduvayur, “Brothers in Arms,” Foundation for Defense of Democracies, December 11, 2019, https://www.fdd.org/analysis/2019/12/11/brothers-in-arms/. In Yemen, the Qatar Charity has partnered with the Al Ihsan Charitable Foundation led by Abdullah Mohammed al-Yazidi, who was arrested in Yemen in 2016 for supporting al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).“The nine individuals added to the Qatar-backed terror list,” Al Arabiya, July 25, 2017, https://english.alarabiya.net/en/features/2017/07/25/The-nine-individuals-added-to-the-Qatar-backed-terror-list;
“Treasury Designates Key Facilitators and Front Company Providing Support to Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, December 7, 2016, https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl0673.aspx

Designated by:

Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates

Qatari Support:

Harboring Terrorist Leaders and Financiers

Leaders

Qatar harbors internationally designated and banned terrorist leaders, including former Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal,Peter Kovessy, “Qatar FM: Hamas leader to remain in Doha as ‘dear guest’,” Doha News, January 13, 2015, https://dohanews.co/qatar-fm-hamas-leader-remain-doha-dear-guest/. Muslim Brotherhood ideologue Yusuf al-Qaradawi,Alessandra Gennarelli, “Egypt’s Request for Qatar’s Extradition of Sheikh Yusuf Al- Qaradawi,” Center for Security Policy, May 27, 2015, http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/2015/05/27/egypts-request-for-qatars-extradition-of-sheikh-yusuf-al-qaradawi/. and three U.N.-sanctioned Taliban operatives.“Report on the Inquiry into: The Department of Defense’s May 2014 Transfer to Qatar of five law-of-war detainees in connection with the recovery of a captive U.S. soldier,” Committee on Armed Services, December 9, 2015, https://armedservices.house.gov/sites/republicans.armedservices.house.gov/files/wysiwyg_uploaded/Report%20on%20the%20Inquiry%20into%20the%20Taliban%20Five%20Transfer_0.pdf. Many of these individuals are reported to live in extravagance in Doha’s most exclusive neighborhoods.Globes, “The Corruption at the Head of Hamas,” Jerusalem Post, July 20, 2014, http://www.jpost.com/Business/Business-Features/The-corruption-at-the-head-of-Hamas-363550;
Sami Yousafzai, “Taliban Leaders Are Living in Luxury in Qatar,” Newsweek, March 24, 2015, http://www.newsweek.com/2015/04/03/taliban-leaders-are-living-luxury-qatar-316122.html.

Khaled Meshaal Former Leader of Hamas

Designated by: United States

Meshaal is a dear guest of Qatar [who] is living [here] among his relatives. Foreign Minister Dr. Khalid bin Mohammed Al Attiyah, January 2015

Ismail Haniyeh Leader of Hamas

Designated by: United States


Yusuf Al-Qaradawi Muslim Brotherhood Ideologue

Banned from: France, United States, United Kingdom.

Previously the subject of an INTERPOL alert calling for his arrest.

  • Qaradawi’s fatwas (legal rulings) have called for the murder of U.S. civilians and troops in Iraq, the execution of homosexuals, and the killing of Jews “down to the very last one.”Melanie Phillips, The World Turned Upside Down, (New York: Encounter Books, 2010), 214;
    “Sheik Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: Homosexuals Should Be Punished Like Fornicators But Their Harm Is Less When Not Done in Public,” MEMRI, June 5, 2006, http://www.memri.org/clip_transcript/en/1170.htm;
    “Reactions to Sheikh Qaradhawi’s Fatwa Calling for the Abduction and Killing of American Civilians in Iraq,” MEMRI, October 6, 2004, http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/1231.htm;
    Oren Kessler, “Analysis: Yusuf al-Qaradawi- a ‘man for all seasons,’” Jerusalem Post, February 20, 2011, http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Analysis-Yusuf-al-Qaradawi-a-man-for-all-seasons.
  • Spearheads the Qaradawi Centre for Research and Modern Thought at Qatar’s Education City, a “multiversity” campus started by the Qatari royal family. The University comprises Western universities including Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, Georgetown, Northwestern, Texas A&M, and Virginia Commonwealth.Steven Stalinsky, “Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradawi and Qatar’s Education City Hosting American University Branches: Carnegie Mellon, Georgetown, Northwestern, Texas A&M, Virginia Commonwealth, Cornell & Others,” MEMRI, February 18, 2010, https://www.memri.org/image/IA_Qaradawi.pdf.

Fazl Mohammad Mazloom Taliban’s former Deputy Minister of Defense

Designated by: United Nations


Nurullah Nuri Taliban’s former military commander

Designated by: United Nations


Abdul-Haq Wassiq Taliban’s former Deputy Director General of Intelligence

Designated by: United Nations

Financiers

According to then-Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen, Qatar is a “permissive terrorist financing environment” that enables “private fundraising networks” to operate within its borders.“Remarks of Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen before the Center for a New American Security on ‘Confronting New Threats in Terrorist Financing,’” U.S. Department of the Treasury, March 4, 2014, https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl2308.aspx.

Below are some of the designated or wanted members of those networks, all of whom are al-Qaeda financiers:

Abd Al-Rahman Bin ‘Umayr Al-Nu’aymi

Designated by: European Union, Turkey, United Kingdom, United Nations, United States


Khalifa Muhammad Turki Al-Subaiy

Designated by: Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, United Nations, United States


Abd Al-Aziz Bin Khalifa Al-Attiyah

Wanted by: Lebanon


Salim Hasan Khalifa Rashid Al-Kuwari

Designated by: United States


Abdallah Ghanim Mafuz Muslim Al-Khawar

Designated by: United States


Abd Al-Latif Bin Abdllaha Salih Muhammad Al-Kawari

Designated by: United States, United Nations

  • Transferred funds to al-Qaeda. Responsible for providing Qatari-based financiers with proof that their funds were delivered to the terror group.“Treasury Designates Financial Supporters of Al-Qaida and Al-Nusrah Front,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, August 5, 2015, http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl0143.aspx.

Sa’d Bin Sa’d Muhammad Shariyan Al Ka’bi

Designated by: European Union, Hong Kong, Pakistan, United Kingdom, United Nations, United States

Snapshot of Qatari Counterterrorism Legislation and Initiatives

Qatar has passed various counterterrorism laws since 2004. Today, Qatari authorities have available a wide range of legal tools in the fight against terrorism, both domestic and international. Below are the pillars of Qatari counterterrorism law:

Qatar has adopted numerous pieces of counterterrorism legislation, but the government refuses to fully enforce it. As Doha partakes in U.S.-led counterterrorism initiatives, the government simultaneously delivers funds and supplies to internationally designated terrorist organizations and harbors internationally designated operatives. As former Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen has said, there are extremist operatives in Qatar “that have not been acted against under Qatari law.”Jamie Dettmer, “U.S. Ally Qatar Shelters Jihadi Moneymen,” Daily Beast, December 10, 2014, http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/12/10/rich-little-qatar-big-ugly-ties-to-terror.html. In May 2016, Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) wrote in a letter to Secretary of the Treasury that “the Qatari government should do much more to match Jeddah Communique’s words with deeds.”Letter from Mark Kirk, United States Senate, May 10, 2016, http://freebeacon.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/20160510-Kirk-Letter-to-SECTREAS-Lew-on-Qatar-Terrorist-Financing.pdf. As former Secretary of State John Kerry has said, Qatar “can’t continue to be an American ally on Monday that sends money to Hamas on Tuesday.”“Restoring Leadership in the Middle East: A Regional Approach to Peace,” Brookings Institute, March 4, 2009, https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/20090304_kerry.pdf; Christopher M. Blanchard, “Qatar: Background and U. S. Relations,” Congressional Research Service, May 16, 2011, 4.

Policy Prescriptions

In order to combat terrorism and terrorist financing, Qatar will need to fully enforce its own counterterrorism policies. Qatar would also do well to bolster its existing counterterrorism framework, including by designing, maintaining, and publicizing its own terrorist-designation system. The United States should recognize that pressuring Qatar to adopt this political will—and make any strides to its existing framework—is paramount to a strong and effective counterterrorism strategy.

[In America] they look at some movements as terrorist movements. In our part of the region, we don’t. Emir Tamim Al Thani, September 2014

Specifically, the United States must incentivize Doha to:

  • Arrest or expel all wanted and internationally designated individuals inside its borders, including the 12 people outlined by CEP’s QATAR-HARBORS campaign
  • Expel or arrest all members of the Hamas and Taliban delegations currently domiciled inside Qatar
  • Halt all direct support—financial, material, and strategic—to internationally designated terrorist organizations
  • Sever all ties with and stakes in financial institutions that associate with or support extremist entities
  • Monitor, investigate, and penalize charities and financial institutions accused of providing support to extremist groups
  • Draft, publicize, and maintain a list of designated terrorist entities
  • Submit designated entities to the ramifications outlined in Qatar’s existing counterterrorism legislation
  • End ransom payments to terrorist organizations abroad