Saudi woman raising money for al Qaeda


Heila al-Qusayyer, the middle class mother now described as al-Qaeda's 'First Lady' was running a cell of 60 alleged militants. She is believed to have been the Arabian peninsula's principal fund-raiser for al-Qaeda.

Qusayyer holds a degree in geography and was married to a former executive from Aramco, the all-powerful state oil company, who gave up all his worldly possessions to become a radical preacher.

Counter-terror officials have previously assumed that young men and boys are the principal agents of radical Islam.

Saudi security chiefs have since set up a specialist all-female unit at King Saud University, the country's oldest, to study the appeal of Islamist militancy to women and how best to tackle it.

"The story of this woman, who was involved in collecting money, with that money finding its way to al-Qaeda, has been like an alarm call to us," General Mansur al-Turki of the Saudi interior ministry told The Daily Telegraph.

There had been previous arrests of women terrorists, including some involved in bomb preparatio but such is the sensitivity towards the role of women, they were returned home.

The country's approach to suspects has become tougher across the board after Saeed al-Shehri, the deputy leader of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Until then alleged terrorist were mainly put through a controversial rehabilitation programme with an emphasis on education and psychology.

Shehri, a former Guantanamo Bay inmate who returned to Saudi Arabia and then fled to Yemen, specifically demanded the release of Heila al-Qusayyer, who had been arrested in February.

Based on confessions she is said to have made in custody, the authorities say she used the cover of Islamic charities to obtain donations of cash and jewellery that she passed on to al-Qaeda.


I suspect a woman was involved because the Saudis were thought to engage in gender profiling of terror suspects. It is similar to the al Qaeda ops who try to escape dressed in drag. They think women will not get the same scrutiny as men. The better watch out if some women Marines are around.


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