Nav: Home

'Vague' anti-terror laws might lead to charities withdrawing from activities

September 13, 2017

Charities may withdraw from worthwhile activities because laws designed to stop terrorism are often too vague, experts have warned.

Many countries have introduced new counterterrorism legislation or reformed existing laws since September 11, 2001 due to concerns that charities might be particularly vulnerable to abuse by terrorists.

But laws could lead to organisations committing offences without realising because they are not clear enough.

An analysis of counterterrorism legislation and its long-term evolution in the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Ireland has found that these laws might motivate charities to change the ways they operate. Legal changes were made because of concerns that terrorist organisations may pose as charities to have a legitimate front for their activities, for example, to collect donations, for which they get tax relief, and to channel funding abroad. Funding from humanitarian groups could also be given to terrorist supporters abroad without these organisations being aware that their support has been exploited.

The research was carried out by Nicole Bolleyer, from the University of Exeter, and Anika Gauja, from the University of Sydney. They found legislative constraints on charities were broadest in the US. Canada, Australia and the UK take a middle position, while Ireland and New Zealand impose relatively fewer legislative constraints on their charitable organisations.

Problematically, the description of what constitutes terrorist activities tends to be vague. Consequently, what is meant by support for terrorism could be interpreted in different ways, which creates uncertainty in charities' everyday operations. Furthermore, in Australia, the UK, Canada and USA charities are monitored to assure they comply with counterterrorism legislation. In the US Anti-Terrorism Certification requires charities to vet staff and other organisations they work with in order to get government financial support.

Legislation in many of the countries is insufficiently clear about what constitutes membership of, and association with, terrorist organisations. As a consequence, in the US and Canada charities might commit an offence without knowing. The UK and Australia require charities to act 'without negligence'. Hence, legislation puts a burden of proof on charities to demonstrate to make reasonable efforts to know who they are dealing with. Only New Zealand and Ireland have sustained knowledge requirements and thus a relatively clear-cut threshold for when charities and their members are in danger of committing criminal offences.

Professor Bolleyer said: "It is understandable that lawmakers may want to place obligations on organisations to encourage vigilance and stop carelessness. But our analysis suggests that the day to day activities of charities risk being affected by vagueness in the law. This might generate unintended consequences and discourage worthwhile charitable activities."

"A counterbalance could be provided by more explicitly excluding legitimate and legal activities from broad concepts and provisions such as 'facilitating terrorist activity'. This is found in New Zealand and Ireland and would enable charities to more easily assess when they operate on legal grounds and when not."

Combating Terrorism by Constraining Charities? Charity and Counterterrorism Legislation Before and After 9/11 is published in the journal Public Administration.
-end-


University of Exeter

Related Terrorism Articles:

Are current efforts to combat terrorism actually increasing the risk of future attacks?
A public health perspective of the rise in terrorism and violent radicalization points to social determinants of health including discrimination, social isolation, and stigmatization of groups such as Muslims or Arab American as factors that can make people more vulnerable to extremist influences.
Weaponizing the internet for terrorism
Writing in the International Journal of Collaborative Intelligence, researchers from Nigeria suggest that botnets and cyber attacks could interfere with infrastructure, healthcare, transportation, and power supply to as devastating an effect as the detonation of explosives of the firing of guns.
Terrorism research must be driven by evidence, not political agendas
Despite concerted efforts by many people and institutions, fundamental aspects of terrorism -- identifying participants, understanding how they radicalize, and developing effective countermeasures -- remain unclear.
'Field research and a sharper focus on the young could help combat terrorism'
A new research paper in Science argues that the US government's national security systems have not adapted sufficiently to the threats posed by groups such as Al Qaeda and Islamic State, saying they continue to be structured around state to state interactions more suited to the Cold War.
9/11 merged US immigration and terrorism efforts at Latinos' expense, study finds
After Sept. 11, issues of immigration and terrorism merged, heightening surveillance and racializing Latino immigrants as a threat to national security, according to sociologists at The University of Texas at Austin.
Terrorism: Military tactics are not the only option
A University of Kent expert in International Conflict Analysis presents a new critique of the effectiveness of traditional counter terrorism measures, advising they are not the only option.
Terrorism may make liberals think more like conservatives
Liberals' attitudes toward Muslims and immigrants became more like those of conservatives following the July 7, 2005 bombings in London, new research shows.
From 9/11 to 7/7 and beyond: Islamist terrorism in the US and UK explained
Based on a sample of nearly 800 American and British jihadists, this book provides an extensive yet lucid analysis of one of the greatest security concerns facing the world today.
Terrorism is nothing new -- even Shakespeare was familiar with it
There was no word for terrorism in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but outbreaks of terrorist violence were frequent.
Fear of terrorism increases resting heart rate and risk of death
A new study of over 17,000 Israelis has found that long-term exposure to the threat of terrorism can elevate people's resting heart rates and increase their risk of dying.

Related Terrorism Reading:

Terrorism: A History (Themes in History)
by Randall D. Law (Author)

We live in an era dominated by terrorism but struggle to understand its meaning and the real nature of the threat. In this new edition of his widely acclaimed survey of the topic, Randall Law makes sense of the history of terrorism by examining it within its broad political, religious and social contexts and tracing its development from the ancient world to the 21st century. In Terrorism: A History, Law reveals how the very definition of the word has changed, how the tactics and strategies of terrorism have evolved, and how those who have used it adapted to revolutions in technology,... View Details


Inside Terrorism (Columbia Studies in Terrorism and Irregular Warfare)
by Bruce Hoffman (Author)

Bruce Hoffman's Inside Terrorism has remained the seminal work for understanding the historical evolution of terrorism and the terrorist mind-set. In this revised third edition of his classic text, Hoffman analyzes the latest developments in global terrorism, offering insight into new adversaries, motivations, strategies, and tactics. He focuses on the rise of ISIS and the resilience of al-Qaeda; terrorist exploitation of the Internet and embrace of social media; radicalization of foreign fighters; and potential future trends, including the repercussions of a post-caliphate... View Details


Inside Terrorism (Columbia Studies in Terrorism and Irregular Warfare)
by Bruce Hoffman (Author)

Bruce Hoffman's Inside Terrorism has remained a seminal work for understanding the historical evolution of terrorism and the terrorist mindset. In this revised edition of the classic text, Hoffman analyzes the new adversaries, motivations, and tactics of global terrorism that have emerged in recent years, focusing specifically on how al Qaeda has changed since 9/11; the reasons behind its resiliency, resonance, and longevity; and its successful use of the Internet and videotapes to build public support and gain new recruits. Hoffman broadens the discussion by evaluating the potential... View Details


The Great War of Our Time: The CIA's Fight Against Terrorism--From al Qa'ida to ISIS
by Michael Morell (Author), Bill Harlow (Contributor)

New York Times Bestseller
Like See No Evil and At the Center of the Storm, this is a vivid and gripping account of the Central Intelligence Agency, a life of secrets, and a war in the shadows.

Called the "Bob Gates of his generation" by Politico, Michael Morell was a top CIA officer who played a critical role in the most important counterterrorism events of the past two decades. Morell was by President Bush's side on 9/11/01 when terrorists struck America and in the White House Situation Room advising President Obama on 5/1/11 when America... View Details


The Islam in Islamic Terrorism: The Importance of Beliefs, Ideas, and Ideology
by Ibn Warraq (Author)

Ibn Warraq addresses several misconceptions regarding the cause of Islamic terrorism. Many scholars refuse to take into account the beliefs of the terrorists, and many seem to think that Islamic terrorism has emerged only in the last forty years or so. Many analysts believe that the United States was targeted because of its foreign policy, while others opine that we have to dig out the root causes which are essentially socioeconomic, with poverty as the favorite explanation. Ibn Warraq, on the other hand, argues that we must take the beliefs of the jihadists seriously. The acts of ISIS or... View Details


The Terrorism Lectures: A Comprehensive Collection for Students of Terrorism, Counterterrorism, and National Security, 2nd ed.
by James J. F. Forest (Author)

The Terrorism Lectures, 2nd Edition, is a collection of timely and engaging lessons directly from the classroom of terrorism expert James J. F. Forest. The book and accompanying online materials delve into the history of terrorism, its root causes, its many forms and organizations, as well as the frameworks that analysts use to determine the scope of terrorist threats. View Details


Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction
by Charles Townshend (Author)

Is one person's terrorist another's freedom fighter? Is terrorism crime or war? Can there be a 'War on Terror'?

For many, the terrorist attacks of September 2001 changed the face of the world, pushing terrorism to the top of many political agendas, and leading to a series of world events including the war in Iraq and the invasion of Afghanistan. Charting a clear path through the efforts to understand and explain modern terrorism, Charles Townshend unravels a series of complex questions, including 'Are terrorists criminals?', 'How far does media publicity sustain terrorism?', and 'What... View Details


Understanding Terrorism: Challenges, Perspectives, and Issues
by Gus Martin (Author)

Understanding Terrorism: Challenges, Perspectives, and Issues offers a multidisciplinary, comprehensive exploration of contemporary terrorism that helps readers develop the knowledge and skills they need to critically assess terrorism in general and terrorist incidents. The Fifth Edition has been comprehensively updated with new information on terrorist incidents, evolving terrorist environments, and emerging perspectives on counterterrorism and security. Author Gus Martin provides a fresh analysis of violent extremism throughout, with discussions of both... View Details


Terrorism and Counterterrorism
by Brigitte L Nacos (Author)

Focusing on the phenomenon of terrorism in the age of ISIS/ISIL, Terrorism and Counterterrorism investigates this form of political violence in an international and American context and in light of new and historical trends. In this comprehensive and highly readable text, renowned expert Brigitte Nacos clearly defines terrorism's diverse causes, actors, and strategies; outlines anti- and counter-terrorist responses; and highlights terrorism's relationship with the public and media. Terrorism and Counterterrorism introduces students to the field's main debates and helps them... View Details


Harpoon: Inside the Covert War Against Terrorism's Money Masters
by Nitsana Darshan-Leitner (Author), Samuel M. Katz (Author)

A revelatory account of the cloak-and-dagger Israeli campaign to target the finances fueling terror organizations--an effort that became the blueprint for U.S. efforts to combat threats like ISIS and drug cartels.

ISIS boasted $2.4 billion of revenue in 2015, yet for too long the global war on terror overlooked financial warfare as an offensive strategy. "Harpoon," the creation of Mossad legend Meir Dagan, directed spies, soldiers, and attorneys to disrupt and destroy money pipelines and financial institutions that paid for the bloodshed perpetrated by Hamas, Hezbollah, and... View Details

Best Science Podcasts 2017

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2017. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Simple Solutions
Sometimes, the best solutions to complex problems are simple. But simple doesn't always mean easy. This hour, TED speakers describe the innovation and hard work that goes into achieving simplicity. Guests include designer Mileha Soneji, chef Sam Kass, sleep researcher Wendy Troxel, public health advocate Myriam Sidibe, and engineer Amos Winter.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#448 Pavlov (Rebroadcast)
This week, we're learning about the life and work of a groundbreaking physiologist whose work on learning and instinct is familiar worldwide, and almost universally misunderstood. We'll spend the hour with Daniel Todes, Ph.D, Professor of History of Medicine at The Johns Hopkins University, discussing his book "Ivan Pavlov: A Russian Life in Science."