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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > Washington freezes assets of Saad Al Fagih's Movement for Islamic Reform for supporting Bin Laden and Al Qaeda

Washington freezes assets of Saad Al Fagih's Movement for Islamic Reform for supporting Bin Laden and Al Qaeda

Muslim Council of Britain's finance chairman Iqbal Asaria affilitated with Al Qaeda linked CDLR
July 15, 2005


The associations, domains and web sites of the designated Terrorist Sa'ad Rashed Mohammad Al-Fagih.

Society for Internet Research - SoFIR
Report No. 3
28 May 2005

Identifier Information
Abu Uthman

DOB: February 1, 1957
POB: Zubair, Iraq
Nationality: Saudi Arabian
Address: London, UK

Sa'ad Rashed Mohammad Al-Fagih has been associated with Al Qaida and the global jihad since the mid-1990's. On 21 December, 2004, Al-Fagih was named a Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the United States[1].

Al-Fagih's associates have included

Osama bin Laden[2]
Khaled al Fawwaz[3]
Mustafa Setmariam Naser[4]
Lewis Attiyatullah[5]
Mohammed al-Massari[6]
Ziyad Khalil[7]

Al-Fagih provided logistical support for the 1998 embassy bombings in Africa[8]. In addition, and in particular since September 11, 2001, Al-Fagih has been at the forefront of efforts to promote the global jihad by maintaining online communities of Islamic extremists and facilitating communications among Islamic extremists around the globe. He does this both under the cover of his MIRA organization[9] aka Al-Islah, and through a separate online entity known commonly as 'The Castle' or Al-Qal3ah.

For complete website listings see: The Society for Internet Research website:



MIM: Al Fagih's MIRA/CDLR website was run by Iqbal Asaria the finance and Economics chairman of the Muslim Council of Britain who is also the owner of the internet service provider Webstar.co.

Asaria runs an Al Qaeda 'multinational' network of companies and websites which are all listed at the same 336 Pinner Road address in Harrow, a suburb of London. Some of the offices are actually located at that physical address which is directly next to a London Metropolitan subway station.

The Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia (MIRA)
Publisher Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia (MIRA), London, GB
Distributor Asaria, Iqbal, iadmin@webstar.co.uk, Harrow, Middlesex HA1 4LB, GB
Language English, Arabic
Country (Server) United Kingdom
Format of data text/html
Keywords MIRA; Saudi Arabia; politics; online articles; online publications; online documents; CDLR; opposition; organizations
Description The homepage of the Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia (MIRA), "MIRA seeks major reforms in Arabia; in particular, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and the abolition of the Secret Police units subverting political movements and activity." The pages contain the information about aims, objectives and history of the movement, general information about Saudi Arabia, links to Saudi Arabia related online publications and web sites.


Washington freezes assets of the opposition Saudi movement for reforms


Saudi Arabia-USA, Politics, 7/15/2005

The USA has decided to freeze the assets of the opposition Saudi Arabian group "the Islamic Movement For Reforms", which takes London as headquarters, almost 7 months after freezing the assets of its chief Saad al-Faqih.

American under secretary of treasury in charge of issues of terrorism and financing terrorism movements, Stewart Levy, said that al-Faqih was ensuring support for al-Qaida organization.

Levy considered that placing the Islamic movement for reforms on the list of terrorism sponsor organizations "will help to dry the springs of their supplies, and show the world its support given to al-Qaida."

The US treasury department also accuses the group of broadcasting via its electronic site messages for Osama Bin Laden and leader of al-Jihad organization in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Message the US department said constitute "an ideological support for cells linked to al-Qaida organization and likely recruited persons.

According to the American decision, all bank assets for the Islamic Movement For Reforms will be frozen, and that the Americans will be banned from providing financial support or any other support to the group.

Thereby the US would have followed Britain which had decided to freeze the assets of the movement by the end of 2004, just one day after the UN Security Council listed al-Faqih name within the list of what is called terrorism.

However, al-Faqih had earlier denied accusations of supporting terrorism, saying that he is an activist for democracy in his country Saudi Arabia, and is not involved in any action of violence neither with al-Qaida nor with any other group.

Previous Stories:
Saudi government urged to oversee charitable group activities (7/14/2005)
Saudi sources deny resignation of Prince Bandar (6/28/2005)
On the three Saudi reformers imprisonment (6/22/2005)
Riyadh is confident to be handed over al-Faqih (12/28/2004)
Following Washington, the UN, Britain freeze assets of the Saudi Islamic movement for reforms (12/25/2004)
UN Security Council puts al-Faqih on terrorism list (12/24/2004)

MIM: Background on the activities of the CDLR in their own words.

Salman & Safar: The Young Scholars

In Saudi Arabia, the traditional da'wa' preaching activities presented in mosque circles have not ceased but have actually widened and become revitalised. In fact, such activities are taking place in conjunction with new activities. Numerous young scholars who were influenced by the rejuvenated Islamic ideas, have been accepted and taken charge of large Islamic study circles in mosques. Their following numbers thousands of students.

These circles began in the early 1980s and became large centres of attraction by the end of the decade. Participation in such activities came to be seen as an honour by society, in contrast to previous decades. During the 1980s, young scholars emerged as new figures of legitimate authority who commanded the peoples respect and approbation. Amongst these figures are Sheikh Salman al Auda, Sheikh Safar al Hawali, Sheikh Ayth al Qarni, Sheikh Nasser al Omar, Sheikh Awad al Qarni and other scholars of the Awakening. What distinguished the activities of these new scholars was their ability to combine deep understanding of the fundamental legitimate subjects, such as fiqh, tawhid, interpretation of the Qur'an etc., with an understanding and analysis of current affairs and new challenges posed to the Islamic beliefs.

Sheikh Salman produced hundreds of lessons in Fiqh in his commentary of an important reference book on the subject entitled Buloogh Al Maram. Sheikh Safar al Howali was also known for his commentary on a reference book on Islamic beliefs entitled al Aqida at-Tahawiya. These young scholars became a new authority for the public and would abide by their fatwas. This was an important development because of the public's general approval of the scholars who were considered to be trustworthy figures of authority. These scholars also became known outside the Kingdom in the Islamic world, due to their sound analyses and comments on important events. For example, Sheikh Salman became known for his criticism of Sheikh Mohammed al Ghazali's book entitled As-Sunna An-Nabawiya. The criticisms were produced on tape in the form of lectures and also as a book, and as such were greatly appreciated in the Islamic world.

Sheikh Safar al Hawali was known for his concerns regarding secularism, and his research into its ideological history and roots. During this period, Islamic conferences in the USA and Europe were competing to invite such renowned scholars. Another important aspect which distinguished the activities of these scholars was the excellent relationship they enjoyed with the traditional scholars movement, despite differences of opinion in many cases. Therefore, there was no separation between scholars in the Kingdom. Such a relationship also protected the young sheiks from many crises.

The Islamic activities in the rest of the Islamic world did not enjoy the above properties, a point with which researchers are often unfamiliar. Consequently, they are often astonished by the conclusions of some events because of the comparisons they make with the experiences of other countries.

Their Role in Islamic Revival During the Gulf War

At the beginning of the second Gulf crisis in 1991, Islamic revival in the peninsula entered a new stage. The movement was initially an Islam-based social protest movement. Within this movement, numerous group and individual initiatives were undertaken which had a major social and political impact. This stage continued until after the end of Operation Desert storm against Iraq, when methodical initiatives by the social protest Islamic movement began. This, however, was preceded by the famous Scholars' Letter and the Advice Memorandum to the Saudi rulers.

Shortly afterwards, the movement began structuring itself more openly with the setting up of the Committee for the Defence of Legitimate Rights (CDLR). In the face of the stubbornness of the rulers, the protest movement took further steps towards an official, legitimate opposition with the relocation of the CDLR in London so as to enable the movement to carry out its legitimate mission without any impediments. The subsequent stage of the social protest movement was eventually the detention of prominent scholars such as Safar Al-Hawali and Salman Al-Audah, the outcome of which led to a popular confrontation with the security services.

These changes were not solely the result of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, but were also due to the consequences and reactions that followed and which greatly shook the Arabian people's conscience. Ultimately, this generated a chain of developments, the impact of which is still being felt today. By yielding to Washington's pressure to intervene militarily (in order to fulfil purely strategic designs'), the Saudi rulers took the unprecedented, very dangerous step of creating a "fait accompli" in the form of a permanent stationing of forces hostile to Islam in the land of Islam's two Holy Shrines.

In hindsight, all the pointers and revelations made even by American officials, indicate that the Gulf war was masterminded by Washington in order to strengthen its strategic and economic hold over the oil-rich region. However, whether the Americans actually forced themselves onto the Saudi rulers or whether the Americans were invited in for reasons of "assistance", is now, irrelevant from our point of view as the fait accompli has been achieved. The fact remains that with the House of Saud accepting the Americans permanent footing on Arabian soil, it believes that it has staved off the Iraqi danger which threatened to sweep them into the dustbin of history. In fact, what they did achieve was exactly what they wanted to avoid: First, because they have whipped up consciousness among the Arabian people and started a new and historical movement which cannot be stopped despite the numerous obstacles that will be placed in its path; on the other hand, they have incited public outrage in the Muslim world which, admittedly, is not extremely influential at this stage, but which in the long run can have devastating affect.

The regime's embarrassed silence and its total inability to tackle the Gulf war issue in the media for several days after the crisis had started, provided clear evidence of the fragility and confusion the regime was in at the time. The efficiency with which the world media reported the day-to-day operations was incredible; yet the local media were silent. What is more important, and that which shocked many intellectuals was the sheer terror which was so obviously felt by the royal family. This was a terror of such magnitude that they literally threw themselves into the hands of the Americans and handed to them full control and management of the crisis. This cowardly course of action confirmed two facts in the minds of the ordinary Arabian.

Firstly, this action exposed the hypocrisy behind the various, costly military hardware contracts made throughout the 1980s, and which include the sophisticated AWACS radar planes, the US F15 planes, and other expensive and up-to-date equipment. All such material proved to be useless when the occasion to use it arose. It became all too obvious that the vast sums of money involved in these arms contracts found there way into the pockets of powerful and influential figures both inside and outside the House of Saud.

Secondly, it also became evident that the country's leaders were not even patriotic. Apart from leaving all the real decision-making to the American troops and the decision-making power to make war on Arabian soil, the Saudi rulers set plans to abandon the country, just as did the Kuwaiti leaders. Around forty planes were on constant standby for the use of prominent figures of the royal family to escape if the Iraqi army were to actually enter the Kingdom. Such events shocked and angered Arabian society and brought the fact home that they were being led by an unworthy and unfaithful royal family whose only concern was to secure their own safety.

In addition, most intellectuals and social leaders took a different stance, despite the fact that a small group amongst them were fooled by the events and by media propaganda. Most took a firm stand against the regime's hurried setting up of a rubber-stamp Official Assembly of Senior Scholars with held the view of legitimising religion in an attempt to disguise its devious political steps. As a result, they bitterly criticised this official body's fatwa which contrived the case of "necessity" to enable the rulers to have half a million US troops entering Arabia to wage a western war. The intellectuals and the scholars questioned the grounds upon which the fatwa was based, and refuted the case of necessity as a forgery, saying that there was no legitimate basis for it. In any case, in the eyes of the Arabian people, this fatwa sounded the death knell for the official body of ulama from whom the regime had been deriving its legitimacy. It was the first time that the general public discussed the fatwas which had hitherto been issued to justify the regime's un-Islamic and anti-Islamic actions.

The Arabian people expected the scholars to avoid public confrontation with the rulers over some of the problems which affected society but believed that the scholars would strive to resolve the problems from behind the scenes. What was definitely not expected, however, was that the senior ulama would issue a fatwa in contradiction to the Shari'a in order to please the ruler. This was enough in itself to damage the ulama's legitimacy in the eyes of the public who, following the pro-American fatwa, turned to other free ulama as the new repositories of the Islamic faith in the country. Among those in opposition was Sheikh Safar al-Hawali, a highly respected Muslim scholar of worldwide repute.

At the beginning of September 1990, Sheikh Safar al-Hawali gave two lectures which had a resounding effect inside Arabia, the Gulf region and the Muslim world. One lecture, entitled "And You Will Remember what I Say to You", was delivered in Jeddah; the other one was delivered in Riyadh under the title "Escape to Allah". In these lectures, Sheikh al-Hawali on the one hand exposed in detail the American scheme in the Gulf region; on the other, he rebuked the rulers' wrong stands and refuted the Assembly of Senior Scholars' fatwa and arguments which the rulers had used to legitimise the American military presence on Arabian soil. The Sheikh did not attack the official ulama per se, but his analysis clearly indicated that they were unknowingly implementing the American project.

Regarding the regime's resort to so-called American assistance, Sheikh al-Hawali methodically refuted the Assembly of Senior Scholars' fatwa in its entirety. He spoke and gave supporting evidence from the Quran, the Hadith, scholars' statements, history and other documents, and even went as far as quoting from American sources. The Sheikh analysed the situation and explained those facets which had not been revealed to the people, and ventured a logical guess of what was likely to happen next. In so doing, he skilfully avoided directly referring to or attacking the Assembly of Senior Scholars. Sheikh Safar's two lectures reached far and wide only a few days later. The lectures were recorded and several million audio-tapes were sold all over the Kingdom and abroad. They became instruments of popular awareness and politicisation. People in Arabia and beyond grasped the motives behind the Gulf crisis and started debating the future.

Confrontation with the religious institution was far more difficult than confrontation with the rulers, but Sheikh al-Hawali managed it skilfully. His taped lectures became a cogent material that opposed successfully the pro-American propaganda war waged by the media and the official religious establishments of Arabia, Egypt and other parts of the Islamic World. Sheikh al-Hawali's action was reinforced by Sheikh Salman al-Audah's efforts to widen the protest movement against the US military presence in Arabia.

In a lecture given during the same period entitled "Reasons Behind the Fall of States", Sheikh al-Audah indirectly described the state of the country and the sinister course the rulers were taking. The Sheikh's lecture did not refer directly to the invitation extended to the Americans to enter Arabian soil but, still, its taped copies were sold throughout the Kingdom. Sheikh al-Audah became another prominent popular Islamic figure of the social protest movement. Islamic history shows that the peoples have always held in high respect and supported the leadership of ulama who combined in their life the intellectual pursuit and practical concern for their societies' needs, welfare and development, independent of the rulers' will.

While Sheikh Salman and Sheikh Safar were thrown to the forefront of the protest movement, others figures also rose to fame. The movement's general activities, however, should not be regarded as a complete and integrated series of actions falling under the banner of a singular action (which is typical of any movement that has not gone through the normal processes of maturity and preparation). Some of their activities were voluntary, others concerned preaching whilst others still were political. There was indeed a lack of organisation and a sense of superficiality.

However, the most important development was in the action of a group of young Activists which began two months after the invasion of Kuwait and was led by Sheikh Abdul-Muhsin al-Ubaikan. The group started with a number of young enthusiasts who convinced Sheikh Abdul-Mohsin Al-Ubaikan, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Jibreen, Sheikh Abdul-Rahman Al Barak and Sheikh Sayeed Bin Zaire to travel with them to various sensitive areas of the country to witness the corruption taking place. This exploration, which shocked the ulama, highlighted the need for organised action as a means to prevent the further spread of corruption. A first public meeting took place at the Jowhara Mosque in Riyadh and was attended by several thousand young people. There were many speakers, and for the first time in the history of the Kingdom, an open statement declared that organised action had become necessary. Thus the Direction of Public Activities (DPA) came into being as a voluntary body, devoted to Islamic revivalist action.

The meeting was a huge success and the DPA provided the much needed platform for civilised social action. As the main personality at the rally, Sheikh Abdul-Mohsin was entrusted with organising a second meeting in order to give other figures the opportunity to join the new movement.

However, in an attempt to thwart the new movement's objectives, Prince Salman, the Governor of Riyadh, contacted Sheikh al-Ubaikan and used thinly disguised threats to try and deter any further PDA activities. As a result of the Sheikh's persistence in wishing to go ahead with the scheduled second meeting, Prince Salman involved Sheikh Abdul-Aziz bin Baz (the Grand Mufti) who convinced Sheikh al-Ubaikan to hold the meeting at Dar-Al-Iftaa rather than at al-Jowhara Mosque. He also persuaded him that the presence of Prince Salman was necessary and that the audience should be limited to a number of invited scholars and other figures. Sheikh Al-Ubaikan's agreement to those conditions was most probably the cause of the collapse of the PDA.

The second meeting took place at the end of October 1991 at Dar-Al-Fatwa, as contrived by Prince Salman. It was conducted in his presence and restricted to a select number of participants not exceeding one hundred. While the meeting was under way, Dar-Al-Iftaa was besieged by thousands of demonstrators expressing support for Sheikh al-Ubaikan. The demonstrators dispersed on the request of the Sheikh. Thus, using Sheikh bin Bazís support, Prince Salman was able to nip the new movement in the bud. He succeeded in so doing after managing to get Sheikh Ubaikan to state that any action should first obtain the permission of those in charge (ulu al-amr). One of those in charge was Salman himself who then succeeded in placing the whole project in his own "capable" hands.

The DPA's activities can be considered modest and even simple, but they developed into the creation of an important movement within a short space of time owing to the strength of public support. Unfortunately, a lack of political experience combined with the destructive manoeuvring of the rulers, caused the DPA to become inactive at an early stage. However, despite its failure, the experience was rich in the lessons that it taught and considered to be worth its while. Preachers and activists alike learnt a great deal, particularly as this was the first attempt at co-operation between the ulama, university professors and other intellectuals. This experience built a strong bridge between a number of sheikhs and what are known as Islamic technocrats and thus, proved to be a very successful and fruitful partnership. The Scholars Letter, the Advice Memorandum and the Committee for the Defence of the Legitimate Rights (CDLR) were the result of this co-operation. Prince Salman was the first to recognise the danger of such co-operation, which explains his attempt from the very beginning to separate the ulama from the other parties by labelling the academics as a group of secularists.

These events were the most important of the period between the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and the actual beginning of the war. As the war drew nearer, the social protest movement interrupted its activities lest its members became accused of weakening the resistance to the Iraqis. This situation continued until after the war, when a new era began to take shape - the era of new initiatives. This began with the Scholars Letter.

[Source: MIRA -Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia

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