The Overseeing of Charities

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Just after 9/11, the government discovered that charities were being used to funnel money to terrorists. The Holy Land Foundation (search) and other non-profit groups were closed down for alleged connections with terrorist groups.

The State Department then issued guidelines, based on an executive order, requiring Middle-Eastern partners of U.S. foundations to certify that none of their group's resources will be channeled into terrorist hands.

Of course, it all depends on what the meaning of terrorism is. That's what Ford Foundation recipient Renad Qubaj said when asked by the New York Sun why his group refused to sign such a certificate. "Who defines what is terror?" he asked a reporter from the Sun. "All funds received by [my organization] should be unconditional--no political conditions."

Now, the Ford Foundation gives away almost $700 million a year, and Mr. Qubaj's organization, the Palestinian NGO Network, receives just a small fraction of that. No evidence exists that suggests his group does or has supported terrorism. But there's no way to be sure. The Ford Foundation keeps all details of its grants secret for 10 years after they conclude.

And that's the Asman Observer.