A paper presented by Jennifer Turner, ACLU Human Rights Program. Part of the one-day conference "Critical Perspectives on the Criminalization of Islamic Philanthropy in the War on Terror."
Transnational Muslim philanthropy has come under increasing scrutiny post-9/11. The expansive multilateral counter-terrorism measures taken internationally since September 11th – combined with pressure emanating from the United States in particular to close financing routes for transnational Islamic charitable giving – have reportedly had a dramatic impact on traditional networks of Muslim philanthropy. Though the new regulation of Muslim charities is ostensibly aimed at increasing transparency and accountability, the new rules have often been designed to prevent funds from traveling across borders, resulting in charitable monies being redirected to domestic causes or to informal networks.
While counter-terrorism measures designed to stem terrorism financing are no doubt important, the treatment of Muslim transnational philanthropy as inherently suspect has problematic implications. Disruption to traditional Muslim philanthropic networks that provide needed development aid and the potential consequence of routing charitable giving into unregulated channels are among some of the obvious pitfalls of current approaches. This symposium will address the under-studied impact of recent counter-terrorism measures on charitable institutions and practices in the Muslim world.
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Published: Monday, July 19, 2010
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