Captured ISIS Leader Speaks On Terror Group’s Funding, Taxation
The Islamic State forces people to pay taxes by threatening them with grenades, according to the terror group’s now-captured financial head in Iraq.
The highest-ranking Islamic State leader to be interviewed on camera, Abu Hajjar spoke to the BBC on the terror organization’s financials. The BBC’s Peter Taylor asked for Hajjar’s blindfold to be removed, but officials had him remain handcuffed.
Wearing a yellow jumpsuit, Hajjar sat across from Taylor and spoke in Arabic about his experience in the Islamic State. Joining in 2010, Hajjar says the Iraqi government considered him a wanted man. His job was to physically transfer money around Iraq, providing cash for Islamic State operations.
“I would deliver $400,000 to the Salahuddin province,” Hajjar told the BBC. “I transferred $700,000 to the group in Anbar. Same thing with the group in Baghdad.”
Hajjar says the money was broken into smaller amounts, and he transported it by car. “I would put the money in the door of the car. I would make a space for it in the door and put it there,” he told Taylor.
When asked how the Islamic State makes money, Hajjar attributes it to the imposition of taxes on “businesses, electricity companies, pharmacies, petrol stations, [and] oil companies.”
The militants also charge any Christians under their charge a religious tax.
If someone refuses to pay up, the risks are high, according to Hajjar. “They [Islamic State militants] threaten to kill him with a grenade.”
The Islamic State is the world’s wealthiest terror organization, stemming from control of oil fields, looting antiquities and ransoming hostages. In addition, militants impose taxes on those living under its so-called caliphate.
The group earns tens of millions of dollars every month by skimming off salaries of Iraqi public employees in Mosul. Baghdad still sends money in hopes of keeping the loyalty of the city’s Sunnis.
“As long as businesses are still running – as long as there is oil, business, construction- they [the Islamic State] won’t run out of money,” said Hajjar.
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