Muslim Charities Contrained by Witch-hunt
April 23, 2008, 2:06 am
Filed under: Economics | Tags: , , , ,

The campaign against terrorist financing has been, in short, an abject failure. Far from making significant gains in fighting money laundering and the like, the current program appears to operate very much like a witch-hunt aimed mainly at Islamic charities and relief organizations. The government’s reliance on guilt by association has placed a considerable burden on many large and successful charities, which are now constrained both in their actions and their funding. The accusations have made many Muslims in the U.S. hesitant to contribute to such charities, lest they themselves be caught in an investigation. Not only has this hurt poor Muslims in need, it has also impacted Hindus and Christians living in Muslim majority countries who nevertheless depend on Islamic aid agencies.

For example, some organizations have been labeled ‘unindicted co-coconspirators’ by the Justice Department. What exactly does that mean? It means there is no evidence of wrongdoing (or else, they would be indicted).

Inter Press Service has a very interesting article about Islamic charities and the creepy similarities between the McCarthyism of old and the current campaign against terrorist financing.

The U.S. government’s anti-terrorist financing programmes are based on the “guilt by association” tactics of the McCarthy era and have had a widespread negative impact on U.S. charities, critics say.

That is the view of Kay Guinane, director of the Nonprofit Speech Rights Programme for OMB (Office of Management and Budget) Watch, an independent not-for-profit government watchdog group. Guinane told IPS that government actions have resulted in programme cutbacks and increased fear of speaking out on important public issues.

The organisation accused Congress of continuing “an unfortunate pattern of insufficient congressional oversight of anti-terrorist financing programmes, neglecting to address the unnecessarily harsh impacts the programmes have on U.S. charities and philanthropy.”

As an example of insufficient congressional oversight of charities’ alleged support of terrorist organisations, OMB Watch cited a recent hearing before the Senate Finance Committee in which the only witness was a government official. The witness was the under-secretary of the treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, Stuart Levey, who plays a lead role in identifying charities that the Treasury Department claims are supporting terrorist causes.

read on…

For a more thorough understanding of Islamic charities and how Western misconceptions of Islamic economics have created the present climate under which Islamic charities operate, see Professor R.T. Naylor’s excellent article published in CounterPunch entitled Mall versus Mosque in the War on Terror. The article is an except from his excellent and thought provoking book, Satanic Purses: Money, Myth and Misinformation in the War on Terror. This book is BY FAR one of the best I have even read, not only in how much information Professor Naylor brings to light but because of the quality of the writing and the wit and sarcasm with which the argument is made. If you are really interesting, also consider Professor Ibrahim Ward’s The Price of Fear: The Truth Behind the Financial War on Terror. Why are these two books ideal? Well, one reason is because they are both printed by respected university presses. Word to the wise, non-fiction books that have not gone through a blind peer review process are usually junk.

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