Al-Qaeda financier meets Turkey’s religious affairs chief

Muthanna Harith Sulayman al Dari and Mehmet Gormez met on 5 May 2017.

Muthanna Harith Sulayman al Dari, an Iraqi national who has been on the United Nations Security Council’s Al-Qaeda and Taliban Sanctions Committee’s sanctions list for financing Al-Qaeda in Iraq since 2010, visited Mehmet Gormez, the head of Turkey’s Presidency of Religious Affairs on 5 May, reports the news portal Sendika38.org.

A senior leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, al Dari was designated as a terrorist by the US Treasury Department’s Executive Order 13224 allowing the US to freeze his assets, prevent him from using financial institutions, and prosecute him for terrorist activities. In 2010, he was also included in the UN Security Council’s Sanctions List for “providing operational guidance, financial support and other services to or in support of Al-Qaida in Iraq.”

Since 2015, Muthanna al Dari is listed by the Sanctions Committee as a financer of The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.

Heyet.net, the website of the Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq posted a report about the visit on 5 May, along with a photograph but later revoked the report.

The report stated that al Dari and Gormez discussed general issues and problems faced by the peoples of the region, the duties of scholars in tackling these problems, the prevention of “fitna” (discord among Muslims) among other topics.

Mehmet Gormez was quoted in the report as saying that “those who used to oppose him (al Dari) and thought that he is a radical are today confessing that his analyses and diagnoses proved correct.”