9-11 Commission Monograph Hails TransparencySeeks More Effective Law Enforcement and Improved Public Diplomacy, August 26, 2004
Washington, DC—The Friends of Charities Association (FOCA), a trade association of leading faith-based charities, commends the Monograph on Terrorist Financing released by National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. Following the 9-11 Commission’s historic report, this Monograph opens the door to establishing new standards in enforcing terror finance laws while protecting civil liberties of charities, officials and donors.
“The latest report reflects a common sense approach to balancing concerns over national security with the desire of charities, donors and recipients to continue their legitimate work,” stated Wendell Belew, spokesman for FOCA.
FOCA members have joined numerous faith-based charities that are committed to engaging in a dialogue with law enforcement, elected officials, the media and opinion leaders to root out sources of terror finance. “We have taken the message to charities that working with law enforcement and skilled professionals will eradicate any terror ties to their operations,” stated Asim Ghafoor, one of the attorneys representing FOCA.
The Monograph further demonstrates the need for success metrics in rooting out terror finance. Having reviewed all classified information used to designate the Global Relief Foundation and Benevolence International Foundation, the staff concluded that there was “little compelling evidence that either of these charities actually provided financial support to al Qaeda.” It continues, “[a]lthough the OFAC action shut down BIF and GRF, that victory came at considerable cost of negative public opinion in the Muslim and Arab communities, who contend that the government’s destruction of these charities reflects bias and injustice with no measurable gain to national security.” It also noted that “despite unprecedented access to the U.S. and foreign records of these organizations, one of the world's most experienced and best terrorist prosecutors has not been able to make any criminal case against GRF and resolved the investigation of BIF without a conviction for support of terrorism.”
FOCA commends the family members of the tragic attacks of 9-11 for their persistence in ensuring the Commission was empowered to view all relevant documentation. In the coming months and years, conscientious Americans will join them in the drive to implement the Commission’s recommendations. As this process gets underway, FOCA stands ready to engage in the debate.
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