Jeddah, Jan 26: Saudi businessman Dr. Adel Batterjee, whose name was removed from the list of the Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee recently, said he has known Osama Bin Laden for long, from the time he was in Jeddah.
“My relations with him was very good, and we moved to Afghanistan together,” Batterjee said. “Takfiri ideology was already in existence in Peshawar, but was not widespread. We fought this ideology with all our strength, in our gatherings…in our Friday sermons,” he added.
“The reason for our fight against this (ideology) was because we were keen not to lure the fighters into this wrongful thought. Bin Laden at that time was not following this creed, and I swear on this,” the Saudi businessman said in an exclusive interview with Okaz, a sister publication of Saudi Gazette.
“We went our separate ways, when Bin laden traveled to Pakistan and from there to Sudan in 1991. I did not see him after that,” Batterjee said. “Since then I've had not direct or indirect links with him.”
The Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee list was issued following Sept. 11 attacks in the United States by the United Nations Security Council.
The Saudi businessman's name was deleted after Batterjee protested “it was unfairly put on the list” on Dec. 23, 2004.
Batterjee told Okaz/Saudi Gazette that he was surprised to see his name on the list, adding that the UN committee had not taken any measures to acquit him of the charges against him.
He submitted documentary evidence to Canadian Judge Kimberly Prost, who chaired a committee that was formed in 2010 to look into the list and decide which names should be removed. After reviewing all documents, Prost decided that Batterjee's name should be deleted from the list.
After Batterjee's name appeared on the list, the committee imposed a travel ban, froze his assets and prevented him from engaging in business activities around the world.
Batterjee has established charitable organizations in Sudan, including Al-Bir International, HAAD Organization, and finally the Doroob org.
""Batterjee's wealth and power remain intact, and so does his ideology. What is to prevent Batterjee from incorporating another organization, as he has done before, to continue funding extremism? All Batterjee needs is another acronym