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Saudi Charity Denies U.S. Charges of Terror Links

A top Saudi charity, accused by Washington of international terror links, has denied any militant connections but said it has shut down some overseas offices to focus on tackling domestic poverty. Al-Haramain Foundation director Sheikh Aqil al-Aqil said his organization, which raises about 200 million riyals ($53 million) a year, promoted moderation and had distanced itself from violent groups when it was established 10 years ago. “We set up this institution to preach Islam peacefully. It’s very strange that we are described as terrorist,” Aqil said in an interview late on Monday. “Maybe there was a mistake. We have absolutely no inclination to violence.” In March last year the State Department listed Al-Haramain’s offices in Bosnia and Somalia as “terrorist organizations.” A U.S. Treasury official told a congressional hearing in Washington last week Saudi Arabia had shut down 10 of the charity’s offices overseas after the May 12 suicide bombings in Riyadh and that its board of directors was purged. Full Story

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