by Isabella Meibauer
Banned in Pakistan, Tehreek-e-Jafaria Pakistan (TJP) has changed its name multiple times to circumvent government restrictions.
Shiite Islamist extremist group in Pakistan, tied to Hezbollah and the
Iranian regime, fundraises for the families of its fallen martyrs using a
global network of nonprofits, including 501(c) organizations in the
Alongside its other Islamist activities—including anti-Sunni violence as well as pro-Tehran protests
against America and Israel—Tehreek-e-Jafaria Pakistan (TJP) works to
raise funds for the family members of Pakistani Shiite "martyrs" through
an international network
headed in Pakistan by TJP's chief proxy, Shaheed Foundation Pakistan,
which operates in coordination with organizations throughout Pakistan,
Europe, and North America.
According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the TJP has called
for the creation of a "popular Islamic army based on compulsory
military training for all able-bodied males ... to encourage the spirit
of holy war." Banned in Pakistan, TJP has changed its name multiple
times to circumvent government restrictions. For some years, it went by Islami Tehreek Pakistan (ITP), which was also proscribed. Today, according to Muhammad Amir Rana in his study, A to Z of Jehadi Organizations in Pakistan, the TJP operates as Millat-e-Jaffaria or Millat-e-Jafria; a name also used to reference the collection of organizations that operate under the umbrella of TJP leader Allama Syed Sajid Ali Naqvi, the personal representative of Iran's Ayatollah Khamenei in Pakistan.
its parent network, it is perhaps hardly surprising that the Shaheed
Foundation Pakistan is overtly linked to terrorist groups. A 2006 post
on its website includes details of a rally
organized by the group in "Celebration of the Great Victory of
Hizbullah over Israel and tribute to the Islamic Hero, [Hezbollah
leader] Syed Hasan Nasrullah."
Additional mentions of "martyrs" of the U.S.-designated terror group Hezbollah, as well as Hezbollah posters, are found throughout the Shaheed Foundation's website.
Photos of a Shaheed Foundation Rally for Hezbollah, published on Shaheed Foundation's own website.
In the U.S, multiple registered nonprofit organizations are connected back to TJP through the Shaheed Foundation and its main U.S. proxy, a New Jersey nonprofit named Al-Kauser.
the humanitarian efforts of some of the American organizations in the
network may appear admirable at an initial glance, ultimately, tax-free
donations are moving through the 501(c) public charity system and being
sent to a nonprofit founded by a banned terrorist group.
As Al-Kauser noted
on its website in 2018: "Al Kauser has used over $200k to date in 2018
for education and support for orphans and families of Shuhada [martyrs]
in Pakistan and India."
is difficult to know exactly what qualifies a TJP recruit's death as
"martyrdom." Along with the evidence of close ties to Hezbollah, and reports that TJP splinter groups such as Sipah-e-Muhammad recruited Pakistani fighters to paramilitary groups such as Iran's Zainabiyoun Brigade
in Syria, the chief generator of TJP's "martyrs" is most likely, as
Ashley J. Tellis of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has noted,
the group's commitment to "bloody internal sectarian violence." The
English-language web pages of the Shaheed Foundation, meanwhile, portray its martyrs merely as innocent victims of bomb blasts targeting Shiites specifically.
The latest tax return documents reveal that Al-Kauser's total income was $285,022 in 2019, of which $242,975 was sent directly to South Asia.
Al-Kauser has not always been the Shaheed Foundation's primary partner. Before 2019, the Shaheed Foundation worked with Saviour USA, a Texas-based 501(c)(3). Although Saviour USA's website has since changed, in the past it stated
that "Shaheed Foundation Pakistan is an ace institution of
Millat-e-Jaffaria Pakistan ... In its current form this institution
began functioning in 1997 based on the teachings of ... Imam Khomeini."
Today, Al-Kauser's website lists
a number of additional current partner charities both in the U.S. and
abroad. It is unclear how these partnerships work exactly, although it
seems likely that the partner organizations serve at least partly as
funding arms for Al-Kauser.
response to a media request for more information about Al-Kauser's
relationship to Shaheed Foundation and TJP, President Raees Zaidi denied
that Al-Kauser supports or engages in any political activities and
insisted that the group follows all "applicable rules and regulations of
the State of New Jersey and the US Government."
Alongside its charitable partners, Al-Kauser also lists
over half a dozen Shiite mosques found across Virginia and New Jersey
as its additional "partner organizations." Furthermore, the Shaheed
Foundation's own website has previously included a list of "Islamic links,"
in which several additional Shiite institutions across Europe and North
America were named (listed alongside a direct link to the website of
U.S-designated terrorist organization Hezbollah).
ignored by those studying Islamism and the influence of the Iranian
regime, there appears clearly to be a significant and wealthy South
Asian Islamist network within the United States acting to support the
interests of a violent Shiite movement in Pakistan.
What is TJP and its Shaheed Foundation? And what is the extent of its reach?
A close disciple of the 1979 Iranian Revolution leader Imam Khomeini, Arif ul-Hussain Al-Hussaini was chosen
as the first leader of TJP (then Tehreek Nifaz Fiqah Jafaria) in 1978
to represent the interests of Shiite Muslims oppressed under Pakistan's
theocratic Sunni dictator Zia ul-Haq. Khomeini appointed Hussaini as
Wilayat-e-Fiqah, or the Shiite religious leader, of Pakistan, and upon
Hussaini's 1988 assassination, Khomeini addressed him as his "dear son."
According to Mohammad Rana, Hussaini also sent many young men to train
with the Hezbollah of Lebanon. Hussaini was eventually succeeded by
Allama Sajid Naqvi, who was also appointed a religious representative of Iran under Ayatollah Khameini.
address the growing number of families left behind by martyred Shiites
amid sectarian, terrorist violence between Shiites and Deobandi militant
organizations, Hussaini founded the Shaheed Foundation to support them.
Today, the Shaheed Foundation's general operations are overseen
by Hossein Hosseini (Hussaini's son) and six others, four of whom are
reportedly family members of other shohadas (martyrs). In addition to
caring for the children of martyrs, the Shaheed Foundation also has a
department to provide "spiritual support" to the families and a
publications department, which serves to "publish and propagate the
thoughts and courage of martyrs."
Shaheed Foundation's current website states that it is a "non-political, welfare organization." In 2013, however, pages on Shaheed Foundation's website clarified
that it is "is an independent institution of Millat-e-Jaffaria." When
asked directly about its connections to TJP through a media request, a
spokesman for Shaheed Foundation wrote that "we don't have any political
background, nor do we have any future plan to become a part of any
political organization whatsoever. Also, we have never been a part of
any banned organization, nor have we endorsed any."
Of course, the Hezbollah flags
at Shaheed Foundation "celebrations" cast doubts on such claims.
Elsewhere, Shaheed Foundation's website glorifies martyrdom in length, writing
that "there is no greater achievement for a momin [Muslim believer]
than to leave his abode with wounds that are medals on his chest, and
his face covered in blood, in the struggle for justice."
is a full-fledged, terror-tied Islamist community, operating in a
similar manner to other Shiite Islamist networks around the world that
back the Iranian regime.
It is not limited to the United States. Shaheed Foundation has additional counterparts,
or "partner charities," across the rest of the West. In Canada, the
U.K., Denmark, Norway, and Sweden it is represented by the
identically-named Shaheed Foundation; in Germany and the rest of Europe,
it has Support Light for Life; and in Australia and New Zealand, Light
for Life. These branches raise hundreds of thousands of dollars annually according to tax documents.
this global network provides richly for Shaheed Foundation Pakistan. In
total for the year ending in June 2019, Shaheed Foundation Pakistan
supported more than 2,000 families with a total equivalent to $2 million.
the Western world, multiple nonprofits, in connection with groups such
as Al-Kauser, are able to send tax-free money overseas to an Islamist
organization with that openly supports Hezbollah and the Iranian regime,
all ostensibly in aid of martyrs for a banned violent organization. The
full extent of this network, and of the efforts of South Asian Shia
Islamists operating in North America, must be investigated further. Most
importantly, this abuse of Western nonprofit systems by terror-tied
extremists must be halted.
Isabella Meibauer is a writer for Islamist Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum. Source: https://www.meforum.org/islamist-watch/62975/hezbollah-linked-pakistani-shia-islamists
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