TARIK IBN ALI: AN IMPORTANT JIHADI FACILITATOR OPERATING IN EUROPE
By Ronald Sandee
The Belgian-Moroccan Salafist preacher Tarik Chadlioui, better known as Tarik Ibn Ali, is an important player in the closed Berber (Tamazight) community in Western Europe. He is a major fundraiser for the Salafist cause, including building projects for mosques and support activities for Syria. A talented fundraiser and charismatic speaker, it is assessed he is an important facilitator and financier of European fighters active in Syria. Although he is operating in the open he is not well known to authorities.
In May and July 2014, Chadlioui participated in two fundraisers to help build a new Mosque in the city of Gouda in the Netherlands. For this new El-Wahda Mosque, he helped raise nearly €560,000 (about $725,000). Indeed, in the last few years it has become clear that when Chadlioui joins a fundraising campaign it will succeed.
For several years, Chadlioui has been very active in efforts to raise money for the Syrian cause. In May 2012, he raised €91,000 in Dietzenbach, Germany. In May 2013, in Oslo, Norway he helped raise €120,000 for Syria. In November 2013, in Mechelen, Belgium he helped raise €60,000 for Syria. In late November and early December 2013, two fundraisers Chadlioui helped organize in The Hague, the Netherlands raised €100,000. A day later, he helped raise €40,000 in Antwerp. This year Chadlioui organized at least one fundraiser for Syria in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, raising at least €85,000, along with a small cache of gold jewelry. These are just some examples of fundraising successes Chadlioui touts via social media.
Like many other facilitators and financiers of activities in Syria, Chadlioui is exploiting the lack of accountability required of Islamic charities like World Wide Relief or Fukara Der. Often, fundraisers for these groups, along with individual preachers like Chadlioui, personally deliver money to recipients based in Syria. For the Dutch, it is now clear that people involved with World Wide Relief and Fukara Der support the Salafi-Jihadist current and are in constant contact with jihadis based inside Syria. Given such, it is likely some of the funds these elements are raising in Europe are being used to support terrorist groups active in Syria.
Interestingly, Chadlioui primarily employs the Berber language when preaching, teaching and speaking in public. He is well respected in the Salafist Berber community that spans a large part of Europe.
Chadlioui’s career began in Antwerp about eight years ago as a youth preacher. He was active in ‘street Dawah’ and seen as a member of the Tablighi Jamaat.
When wearing the niqab was banned in Belgium, Chadlioui and his family left Belgium and resettled in the outskirts of Cairo. Now based in Egypt, he often makes lengthy trips back to Europe, where he visits multiple countries and mosques.
In December 2011, at a conference in the Fourkaan Mosque in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, Chadlioui liaised with Mohammad al-Arifi. In June 2014, the United Kingdom Home Office said in a statement, “We can confirm Mohammad al-Arifi has been excluded from the United Kingdom.”
During the past year, Chadlioui spoke in Mosques in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Norway, France and Spain, and raised money both to build Salafist mosques in each of these countries and to support the Syrian cause.
Some of Chadlioui’s fundraisers for Syria have been organized in close cooperation with the Netherlands based foundation World Wide Relief. The Hilversum-based foundation is very active in soliciting money for Syria.
The leadership of World Wide Relief, including chairman Mohamed el-Adoui (aka Abou Dhzar) and the public face of the organization, Fouad el-Bouch, better known as Abou Hafs, are actively supporting the Salafi-Jihadist current in the Netherlands. Abou Hafs is a respected speaker on Islamic issues and Islamic history, and has a relationship with the charismatic Salafi-Jihadist leader Azzedine Choukoud (aka Abou Moussa), who was recently arrested with his second wife in Germany. Interestingly a young member of Mohamed el-Adoui’s family, a fifteen-year-old girl named Moezdalifa el-Adoui, recently ran away from home, and it is known that she wanted to travel to Syria to join many other young girls from the Utrecht area in Ar-Raqqa.
It is likely Chadlioui raised close to a €1 million through fundraising activities in several European countries during 2013. In October 2013, Chadlioui flew from Cairo to Turkey to join forces with el-Bouch and el-Adoui of World Wide Relief to bring in person funds they had raised in Western Europe to Syria. On October 9, a short video report was posted of Chadlioui driving from Adana to Antakya in Turkey. At the end of the video, el-Bouch asks viewers to keep sending money until October 11, 2013, when they were planning to cross the border into Syria. On his own YouTube channel, Tarik Chadlioui published a video of his trip into Syria.
According to a blog by former Muslims in Belgium, Tarik Chadlioui is connected to the German radical Islamic movement Dawa FFM. The blog states that from videos on YouTube it can be established Chadlioui delivered lectures in various mosques in Germany at the request of Dawa FFM.
The German weekly Der Spiegel explained: “Dawa FFM, seeks to radicalize followers by offering “Islam seminars.” According to German authorities, Dawa FFM is active in recruiting fighters for the Syrian Jihad. Der Spiegel reported that “Authorities in the German state of Hessen, where the group is active, have long had Dawa FFM under observation; Arid Uka, the man who shot and killed two US servicemen and seriously wounded two others at the airport in Frankfurt in March 2011, reportedly was radicalized by Islam seminars offered by Dawa FFM.” Uka is said to have been brainwashed by one of the preachers of Dawa FFM. Eleven videos featured on the YouTube page of Dawa FFM were posted by Tarik Chadlioui. (There also seems to be a link between Dawa FFM and Millatu Ibrahim, another radical Muslim group forbidden in Germany.)