CAIRO, Egypt (AP) — Al Qaeda, which gets its money from the drug trade in Afghanistan and sympathizers in the oil-rich Gulf states, is likely to escape the effects of the global financial crisis.
One reason is that Al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorists have been forced to avoid using banks, relying instead on less-efficient ways to move their cash around the world, analysts said.
Those methods include hand-carrying money and using informal transfer networks called hawalas.
While escaping official scrutiny, those networks also are slower and less efficient — and thus could hamper efforts to finance attacks.
“It would be inconceivable that large amounts of [terror-linked] money would transit through the formal financial system, because of all the controls,” said Ibrahim Warde, an expert on terrorist financing at The Fletcher School at Tufts University.
The question of where Al Qaeda and its sympathizers get their money has long been crucial to efforts to prevent terrorist attacks. A 2004 U.S. investigation found that banks in the United Arab Emirates had unwittingly handled most of the $400,000 spent on the Sept. 11 attacks.
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