hamas rally 298 88 ap.
(photo credit: AP)
Risks facing charitable organizations not only include contributions being diverted to bankroll terror activities but also the use of charities' services to build grass-roots support for a terrorist organization, the Treasury Department said Friday.
The Bush administration examines these possibilities when it considers whether or not a charity should be put on a US list that requires banks to freeze its assets and forbids Americans from doing business with it.
Charities should be on the lookout for such risks as well, the department suggested as it released updated best practices for charitable organizations to consider as they try to protect themselves from abuse from terrorist financiers. The best practices are voluntary.
"The risk of terrorist abuse facing charitable organizations is ongoing and significant and cannot be measured from the important but relatively narrow perspective of terrorist diversion of charitable funds," the department said. "Rather, terrorist abuse also includes the exploitation of charitable services and activities to radicalize vulnerable populations and cultivate support for terrorist organizations and activities."
As cases in point, the department, citing media reports, mentioned the role of Hamas-associated charities in building popular support in the Palestinian territories for the Hamas terror organization, and Hizbullah's control of charitable distribution networks in southern Lebanon.
The department also mentioned "exploitation" involving the Pakistani-based charity Jamaat-ud-Dawa, which is believed to be a front for Lashkar e Tayyiba, an Islamic militant group. The department did not elaborate. There have been media reports, however, that money raised for victims of last year's earthquake in South Asia was channeled through the charity to schemers of a foiled plot to blow up US-bound passenger planes.
The United States since the 2001 terror attacks on New York and Washington has designated 43 charities worldwide and 29 people associated with them for providing support to terrorists, the department said.