A Saudi English language newspaper has reported that an individual identified as Wael Julaidan, possibly a known founder and financier of Al Qaeda, was a scheduled speaker at a seminar on charity development sponsored by the World Assembly of Muslim Youth to be held in Jeddah Saudi Arabia. According to the report:
Specialization and Integration of Charitable Organizations” is the theme of a major seminar to be organized by the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) at the Inter.Continental Hotel here on April 27-28. Dr. Muhammad Badahdah, assistant secretary-general of WAMY, said several nongovernmental organizations in the Kingdom and abroad would take part in the seminar, which will be opened by Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal. “We hope the seminar will contribute to improving the activities of charitable organizations in terms of quality and quantity,” Badahdah told Arab News.Prominent researchers and experts in developmental and voluntary work will present papers at the event, Badahdah said, and he thanked the ministries of Islamic affairs and social affairs for their support.A meeting of the directors of WAMY’s overseas offices in 20 countries will be held on the sidelines of the seminar, he said, adding that Dr. Saleh Al-Wohaiby, secretary-general the Riyadh-based organization, would attend the function.
The report goes on to identify Professor Wael Julaidan as one of the “major speakers” at the seminar. Other speakers of interest include the President of the Islamic Development Bank and Dr. Hani Al-Banna of Islamic Relief, both organizations closely associated with the global Muslim Brotherhood. WAMY itself strongly tied to the global Muslim Brotherhood as well as to the government of Saudi Arabia and U.S. government agencies and officials have argued that it has helped spread Islamic extremism around the world as well as sponsoring terrorism in places such as Bosnia, Israel, and India.
Although it is not confirmed that this is the same individual, Wael Hamza Julaidan is known to be one of the four participants in a 1988 meeting with Osama bin Laden that established the Al Qaeda organization. He had previously established “the Service Office” or Maktab al-Khidamat in Afghanistan, along with bin Laden and Muslim Brotherhood figure Abdullah Yusuf Azzam, and was also reported to have fought with bin Laden in Afghanistan. When referring to the assassination of Abdullah Azzam, bin Laden once said “We were all in one boat, as is known to you, including our brother, Wa’el Julaidan.”
Until 2002, Julaidan was the Saudi chairman of the Rabita Trust, a Pakistani charity sometimes linked to the Saudi Muslim World League that was also found by the United Nations to have funded al Qaeda activities. In September 2002, Julaidan was jointly designated by Saudi Arabia and the U.S and it was reported at that time that Saudi Arabia had located him and had either arrested him or was closely supervising his activities. In December 2003, however, the Washington Post reported that there were questions about the sincerity of the Saudi pledge:
A source with direct knowledge of U.S. actions said the “highest priority of the U.S. government is to get the Saudis to do what they said [they]would do and close down what they were supposed to close down.” The source noted that, after agreeing to put him on the U.N. list, senior Saudi officials publicly denounced Julaidan’s designation.”Then the Saudis said he was questioned but wouldn’t tell us what he said,” the source said. “They said his assets are frozen, but won’t say where. It’s like Humphrey Bogart in ‘Casablanca.’ They round him up when the pressure builds and are shocked to find anything going on.” A senior Saudi official disputed the U.S. and U.N. accounts of the ongoing activities of al Haramain and Julaidan. “Julaidan is not operating,” the official said. “His assets are frozen. Al Haramain cannot spend a penny outside Saudi Arabia. We are doing what we can.”
Julaidan appears to have more or less disappeared from media and other scrutiny since that time. Should he be the same individual participating in a WAMY seminar, it would seem to call even more seriously into question the Saudi commitment to combat terrorism financing originating from that country.
(Source: The Washington Post December 14, 2003 Sunday Final Edition “Al Qaeda’s Finances Ample, Say Probers; Worldwide Failure to Enforce Sanctions Cited” BYLINE: Douglas Farah, Washington Post Staff Writer SECTION: A Section; A01)