Kuwait Questions Islamic Charity on Allegation of Funding Terrorists

Kuwaiti officials have questioned the management of a well-known Islamic charity about allegations that its money is going to terrorists.

The charity, Society for the Revival of Islamic Heritage, said in a statement Saturday that its president, Tariq al-Issa, had met Kuwait's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Sheik Mohammed Al Sabah, and would welcome a government audit of its funds.

"The society strongly denies any connection to terrorist acts, or factions that use them, be it Usama bin Laden and Al Qaeda or any other," the statement said.

The statement added the charity did not have offices in Afghanistan.

Since the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the United States, there have been a number of reports that money from Islamic charities in Kuwait has been siphoned off by terrorists. The charities have denied such allegations and invited official inspection of their financial records.

The Kuwaiti government, which supports the U.S. campaign against terror, has closed most of the unlicensed kiosks used by charities to collect donations. It has also decided to hire international auditors to oversee the charities' accounts.

The Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Qabas reported that the United States had asked Kuwait to freeze the bank accounts of the Society for the Revival of Islamic Heritage. The report, which gave no source, said Washington had asked the government to "closely monitor" transfers to the charity's branches in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Both the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait and the State Department in Washington said Saturday they could not immediately confirm such requests to Kuwait.