On 25th March 2009, Quilliam issued the following Alert:

 

Yesterday, on 24 March 2009, anti-terrorist police in Bangladesh raided an orphanage in Bhola, a remote island in Southern Bangladesh. They reported that they had discovered weapons, army uniforms, large quantities of ammunition and explosives stored there. Bangladeshi and British newspapers have reported that the orphanage is run by Green Crescent, a British-registered charity (No. 1099223).
The police arrested four men at the orphanage and are reportedly still searching for Faisal Mostafa, who they describe as the head of the charity, who is allegedly in Chittagong at present. Bangladeshi media report that Mostafa is a British citizen who divides his time between Bangladesh and Stockport, Manchester. The Charity Commission’s website names him as the charity’s chief contact and provides his address in Stockport.
 
Bangladeshi media have speculated that the compound was being used by Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), a banned Islamist-Jihadist group that has carried out numerous attacks in Bangladesh. They have also reported that police raiding the orphanage found quantities of pro-jihadist books, including books by Abu Ala Mawdudi, the founder of Jamaat-e-Islami, who first described Islam as a political ideology.

Previous arrests of Faisal Mostafa

Faisal Mostafa, the head of the Green Crescent charity, has previously been tried twice by British courts on suspicion of planning terrorist attacks in the UK. In 1996 he was arrested and tried for conspiring to cause explosions after chemicals, timers and detonators were discovered his house. He was acquitted of this charge (after claiming he was writing a book on explosives) but was found guilty of possessing a pistol with intent to endanger life. In 2000, he was arrested again and charged with planning to cause explosions after police discovered a large cache of explosives in Birmingham. In 2002, he was acquitted of this charge – although his co-defendant was convicted and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for the same charge.

 

Links to Andreas Tzortzis (aka Hamza Tzortzis)

Andreas Tzortzis, a UK-based Islamist speaker and lecturer, is listed as a trustee of the Green Crescent charity on the Charity Commission’s website. Tzortzis has close links with Hizb ut-Tahrir and regularly speaks at Islamist events across the UK. This evening, for example, he will be speaking at Birmingham University on the subject ‘Sharia law: Barbaric or Misunderstood’. Tzortzis is also a regular guest on the Islam Channel, a number of whose regular presenters are members of Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Summary:

–    Although the Bangladeshi security services are only in the early stages of investigating the Bhola orphanage and its links to the Green Crescent charity, the evidence so far indicates that there are substantial links between this British charity and Bangladeshi Islamist militants.

–    If the Green Crescent charity has indeed been involved in militant activity, this will reflect very poorly on the Charity Commission – particularly given that Mostafa, the head of the charity, had previously been put on trial twice for terrorist offences.  Ineffectiveness by the Charity Commission in identifying and tackling extremist charities leads to the British taxpayer directly subsiding militancy and extremism.

–    Any links between the Green Crescent charity, Faisal Mostafa and Bangladeshi militant groups will also reflect very poorly on the British security services  particular given Mostafa’s previous connections to terrorist plots in the UK.