Ian Wishart wrote about Islamic threat to NZ as long as 14 years ago

THE ROCKING OF THE DOME INVESTIGATE: Nov 2003

IAN WISHART reports on the infiltration of New Zealand’s Muslim community by Islamic fundamentalists

An Islamic “charity” involved in fundraising for Al Qa’ida and the South East Asian terror network Jemaah Islamiyah is trying to set up a front organisation in New Zealand, and may get Government approval to do so. Al Haramain operates in more than 60 countries worldwide, and its attempts to get a toehold in New Zealand hit the headlines last month when a group of Muslim community leaders sent a letter to the New Zealand Government, warning that the Saudi-backed Al Haramain would bring chaos and disaster to New Zealand if their application in Christchurch is approved.

That application includes setting up an Islamic school to teach Wahhabi Islam – the radical branch of the religion – and establishing an “Islamic Bank” in New Zealand. The proposal is said to involve “millions of dollars”.

In return for the huge investment, Al Haramain have asked for a stake in running the Christchurch city mosque.

While daily news media have played down Al Haramain’s links to terrorism, Investigate has now confirmed an extensive relationship between the “charity” and Al Qa’ida.

Those links include Al Haramain’s involvement in a series of Al Qa’ida suicide bombings in Saudi Arabia earlier this year – the Saudi government shut down ten offices of Al Haramain as a direct response after discovering it was funding Osama Bin Laden’s organisation.

Additionally, a senior figure in Indonesian-based Jemaah Islamiyah arrested three months ago, Omar al Faruq, has told investigators that his organisation has received extensive funding and moneylaundering services from Al Haramain.

Two senior figures with Al Haramain, Sheik Abdul Majeed Ghaith Al Gaith, and Sheik Menea Al Dakeel, toured New Zealand mosques in May, according to the website iman.co.nz, in what appears to have been a precursor to their attempt to take over the Christchurch Mosque.

The group is said to be fostering closer links between Saudi Arabian radical Islamic organisations and moderate Islamic groups in New Zealand, sparking the warning letter that’s now in Government hands.

Yet in a plot that could rival Lord of the Rings, the New Zealand Government’s response has so far been hobbit-like in its disbelief that anything so sinister could be happening in sleepy little New Zealand. A spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff largely dismisses the warnings from within the Muslim community, saying the Government is “leaning towards the view that it’s mainly an internal conflict in the Muslim community in Christchurch that they need to sort out amongst themselves”, and describing al Haramain as “largely a distinguished and peaceful charitable organisation focusing on the education and welfare of the Muslim community around the world.”

 

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