US Muslims Involved in Lebanon Relief Efforts Contend with Ongoing Challenge of Identifying "Safe" Charities

August 29, 2006

Source: Chicago Tribune,1,2375121.story?coll=chi-newslocal-hed

On August 29, 2006 the Chicago Tribune reported, "After Sept. 11, 2001, the government issued general guidelines meant to help charities maintain transparency and prevent money from being diverted to groups or individuals that the government has designated as terrorists. It also created a list of some 400 individuals and organizations, including 43 charities, that it accuses of funding terrorism, Treasury officials said. Muslim charity workers have asked the department to create a second list of charities it considers 'safe' to donate to, but so far it has refused on the grounds that terrorists might then try to infiltrate those agencies, officials said... Guidance from the Treasury Department has been slow regarding Lebanon, aid workers complain. So far, the government has not issued specific guidelines for operating in the country and instead have encouraged charities to practice 'due diligence' to ensure that their assets are used for charity and not diverted to finance terrorism, [Treasury spokeswoman, Molly Millerwise] said. Government officials quietly acknowledge the difficulty in distributing aid in areas like Lebanon without coming into contact with Hezbollah. As long as a charity maintains transparency, it will likely remain safe from government seizure, they said."