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Thursday, 21 February 2019

Kuwait steps up curbs on Islamic charities: report

AFP, Tuesday 5 Aug 2014
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Kuwait has stepped up controls on Islamic charities, including donations for war-ravaged Syria, as part of measures to curb funding for extremists, newspapers reported Tuesday.

Social Affairs and Labour Minister Hind al-Sabeeh said the measures aim to "correct the course" of action of non-profit organisations, according to Al-Qabas newspaper.

The new measures "oblige charities to issue a transparency document identifying the source and final destination of the funds they have raised," said Sabeeh.

The measures also require charities authorised to raise funds to "obtain officially stamped receipts from the ministry, otherwise the collection of donations would be considered illegal," she said.

"Any illegal work will not continue, and we will not tolerate it," the minister said.

Sabeeh's remarks came after the oil-rich Gulf state's cabinet discussed the issue at its weekly meeting on Monday.

The Islamic Affairs Ministry announced the same day it was suspending all types of fund-raising inside mosques, including for the "Syrian people".

Kuwait imposed a ban on cash donations in 2004 and insisted funds be paid only through banks at the charities' offices and not at mosques.

But Kuwait has faced US charges of insufficient controls on fund raising.

The latest US country report on terrorism said there were increased reports in 2013 of Kuwait-based private individuals funnelling charitable donations and other funds to violent extremist groups outside the emirate, particularly to Syria.

And the US Treasury under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, David Cohen, charged earlier this year that former Islamic affairs minister Nayef al-Ajmi had "a history of promoting jihad in Syria."

Backed by the Kuwaiti cabinet, the minister denied the accusations. But he quit in May barely four months after taking office.

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