Abu Obeida al-Masri, who served as treasurer of the Islamic State’s Syria branch, has allegedly stolen one million dollars from the group and has now made his way to Turkey.
The funds amounted to roughly “one billion Syrian pounds,” according to the Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper. The International Business Times reports that the Islamic State may have issued an order banning the recruitment of Egyptian jihadis because their trustworthiness is now in question after the incident.
The treasurer was reportedly in charge of collecting taxes in Syria.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has previously reported that the Islamic State imposed a 2.5% Zakat (Islamic tax) on business in Syria and had opened up a “Zakat Office” of the Islamic State. ISIS is believed to be using the Zakat money to generate positive influence within Syria’s poor communities.
The merchants, disappointed about the new tax, told ISIS officials that they were already contributing to the poor, according to the Observatory. The report cited an Islamic State source, who reportedly responded, “The money paid to the poor without reference to the Zakat Chamber is an act of charity, but it doesn’t exempt traders from paying to the Zakat Chamber.”
Zakat is a mandatory act as the third pillar in Islam and requires that Muslims pay a minimum of 2.5% of their wealth to charity, according to the Hidaya Foundation.