By Carol Rushton

One of the arguments used by pro-Arab, pro-Palestinian apologists is that poverty causes terrorism. If the poor, innocent, frustrated “Palestinians” weren’t driven into poverty by the oppressive, racist Israeli empire and only had the same economic and educational opportunities of their rich Jewish counterparts, they wouldn’t commit terrorist acts or join terror groups.

Former Obama Administration State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf expressed the conventional view of terrorists and terrorism in February 2015. “We cannot win this war by killing [terrorists], we cannot kill our way out of this war. We need, in the longer term, medium and longer term, to go after the root cause that leads people to join these groups, whether it’s lack of opportunity for jobs.”

Only poor Arabs blow themselves up to kill themselves and others to protest Israeli and Western imperialism? Wealthy Arabs never commit terrorist acts?


If this premise were true, wealthy Arabs would never be drawn to terrorism. But the facts disprove this. The following list provides names of some Arabs who were wealthy and very highly educated but who also became terrorists.

Osama bin Laden: Osama bin Laden’s father made his fortune in the construction industry. The family is said to be the second wealthiest in Saudi Arabia, with assets estimated to be anywhere between $50 million and $300 million. The family owns the marketing rights in the Middle East to Snapple, Volkswagen, and Audi and claims branches and business interests in at least 30 countries, including the United States. Osama even attended Oxford University in England for a time.

Yasser Arafat: Yasser Arafat, who was actually born in a little village outside of Cairo and was therefore an Egyptian and not really a “Palestinian,” always portrayed himself as a leader of the “oppressed” but became rich through the years from wealthy Arabs giving money to the PLO, the Palestine Liberation Organization. When Israel and the PLO signed the Oslo Accords, money from countries all over the world poured into the PLO’s coffers, further enriching Arafat and his terrorist buddies. They took the money meant to help the poor, financially strapped Israeli Arabs they were supposedly representing and built expensive villas and mansions for themselves in the PLO-controlled territories, which are actually part of the biblical lands of Judea and Samaria. In September 2003, the IMF said they suspected at least $900 million had been deposited into a special account for Yasser Arafat in the 1990s. His widow and daughter are living in Paris in reportedly luxurious circumstances.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammad: This famous Al Qaeda terrorist earned a degree in mechanical engineering in North Carolina in the 1980s and was employed by the Qatar Ministry of Electricity and Water as a project engineer. According to David Horowitz’s Discover The Networks, KSM was known for being a ladies man and living a very lavish lifestyle, traveling all over the world and throwing extravagant parties and dinners. One of his nephews, Ramzi Yousef, is another famous terrorist.

Ayman al-Zawahiri: Another infamous terrorist, Zawahiri is now the undisputed leader of Al Qaeda and is suspected to be behind or involved in many terrorist attacks all over the world, including the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. According to Wikipedia, Zawahiri has reportedly called on Muslims to abduct Western tourists visiting Muslim countries. Zawahiri has a medical degree as a surgeon and was Osama Bin Laden’s personal physician.

Anwar al-Awlaki: Al-Awlaki was born in the United States in 1971 after his father, Nasser al-Awlaki, a Fulbright scholar, moved the family from Yemen to U.S. to pursue a master’s degree in agricultural economics at New Mexico State University. The elder al-Awlaki afterward earned a doctorate at the University of Nebraska and then went on to work at the University of Minnesota from 1975 to 1977 before returning the family to Yemen to become the country’s agriculture minister – hardly impoverished circumstances. Anwar returned to the U.S. to attend Colorado State University to achieve a degree in civil engineering, as well as serving as president of the campus’ Muslim Student Association. He worked on graduate degrees at San Diego State University and George Washington University but never finished them. Al-Awlaki was investigated for having a role in the 9-11 attacks but was never formally arrested or charged. In 2002, al-Awlaki wrote an essay for the Islam Today website, “Why Muslims Love Death” which supported suicide bombers. How charming. Al-Awlaki moved to England in 2002 where he railed against kuffars (non-Muslims) and encouraged Muslims to become suicide terrorists before returning to Yemen in 2004 where it is believed he eventually became involved in Al Qaeda. Being social media savvy, al-Awlaki parlayed his YouTube videos and Facebook page into successful terror recruiting tools. Once described as “the most dangerous man in Yemen,” al-Awlaki was killed in a U.S. drone strike on September 30, 2011. According to The New York Times, al-Awlaki’s videos continue to inspire Muslims to become terrorists and blow themselves up to kill kuffars even after his death. Al-Awlaki was neither poor, deprived, or uneducated, yet he still chose to become a terrorist.

Nidal Hasan: Hasan was a Muslim who served in the United States military as a psychiatrist and rose to the rank of major. He was neither poor nor uneducated but Hasan still murdered 13 people at the Fort Hood Military Base in Killeen, Texas.

Hanadi Jaradat: This lovely female suicide terrorist from Jenin in Judea and Samaria was a law student who blew up the Maxim restaurant in Haifa, Israel on October 5, 2003, killing herself, 18 Jews, and three Christian Arabs. She had almost finished her apprenticeship in Israel and was due to become a full-fledged lawyer in a few weeks. The motive for the bombing was given as revenge for the IDF killing her fiancé, cousin, and brother, who were all members of either the Islamic Jihad or the Al-Quds Brigade terrorist organizations. Jaradat’s father refused to grieve for his daughter’s death, saying, “I will accept only congratulations for what she did. This was a gift she gave me, the homeland and the Palestinian people.” In 2012, the Arab Lawyers Union presented Jaradat’s family with their highest award in her honor. Ironically, Maxim is co-owned by Jews and Christian Arabs.

Bilal Abdullah & Kafeel Ahmed: These two gentlemen were responsible for the 2007 terrorist attack at the Glasgow International Airport in Glasgow, Scotland. They drove a car filled with propane canisters into the doors of the airport. They were also responsible for the 2007 London car bombs plot. Abdullah was a practicing physician at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Scotland. He leased a Vauxhall Astra that has a starting price of anywhere between $25,000 and $30,000 – not exactly a cheap car. Ahmed was studying in Scotland for his Ph.D. in engineering. Most of those who were arrested in connection with this terror attack were Arabs or Muslim who were either doctors or medical students.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab: On Christmas Day, 2009, Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian college student in London, was a passenger on a plane headed to Detroit, Michigan from Amsterdam when he tried to blow it up. All he succeeded in doing was hurting himself physically when the explosives he had hid under his clothes failed to operate properly. At the time, his father was the chairman of the First Bank of Nigeria and was also the former Nigerian Federal Commissioner for Economic Development. Abdulmutallab’s family was noted for being one of the wealthiest in the country and actually one of the wealthiest in Africa. Abdulmutallab lived in a $7 million apartment in London.

Tashfeen Malik: One of the newer terrorists, Malik and her husband, Syed Farook, committed the massacre of 14 people at a Christmas party in San Bernardino, California on December 2, 2015. Malik came from a wealthy Pakistani family now living in Saudi Arabia and attended an expensive, exclusive Islamic religious school in Pakistan. Farook had a job as an environmental health specialist with the county of San Bernardino, a position in California which can pay between $54,000 to well over $100,000 a year. These two weren’t exactly roughing it.


Then there are the terrorist groups themselves. ISIS used to top the list with $2 billion, mostly from selling oil on the black market, but Al Qaeda, Boko Haram who has pledge allegiance to ISIS, the Taliban, the PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, the Muslim Brotherhood, and other terror groups accrue millions each year. Terrorist leaders live in wealth and comfort in the current world while urging their followers to become martyrs for Allah, promising them honor, riches, and virgins in the next world.

For example, after the Oslo Accords, money from countries all over the world poured into the PLO’s coffers. At least some of the money was used to enrich PLO leaders who built themselves lavish villas and mansions in Judea and Samaria – regularly reported on by the Israeli media but ignored by the West.

Since the Israeli withdrawal of the Gaza Strip in 2005, Hamas has robbed the local banks at least twice. Saudi Arabia held a fundraiser for the PLO in the 1990s. A Saudi princess actually donated some of her expensive jewelry for the telethon.

Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein caused quite a stir when he promised to give families of suicide bombers anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000. However, some terrorist groups also reward families who have family members who become suicide bombers. Under the guise of the Palestinian Authority, the PLO has been supporting families with a shahid or martyr since 2005 with a monthly stipend of $250 and can include more, depending upon if one of the surviving relatives is a spouse, a parent, or a brother. (I guess sisters don’t count.) In 2017, the PLO announced they would give these families a cost of living increase in defiance of the United States (I am not kidding). According to a World Net Daily article by Bob Unruh on April 10, 2017, “Suicide Bombers’ Families Get Cost-of-Living Raises,” the PLO is currently supporting 32,500 families to the tune of $180 million per year. That will pay for a few kaffiyas (the head scarf Yasser Arafat made famous).

But you don’t have to actually kill yourself to reap the rewards of a suicide bomber. Quoting the same WND article, “members of the Palestinian Authority military wing [Fatah] who are convicted of terrorist acts – but not killed – not only get paid while behind bars, they get regular promotions, a cash bonus and a guaranteed salary.”

Even Jordan has aided terrorists. Jordan is considered a moderate Arab/Muslim country with moderate leaders, both King Hussein and now his son King Abdullah. For many years, Jordan has harbored Hamas terror leaders like Khalid Masha’al.

But the main sources of money for many of these terror groups are state sponsors of terrorism. Iran has long funded Hamas and Hezbollah but other Arab, Muslim, and Marxist countries such as Venezuela find common cause with terror groups around the world that hate the U.S. and Israel. They funnel taxpayer dollars to anyone who will kill, murder, maim, harm, injure, and destroy Western countries and their citizens.