What you need to know:
- Muslim World League, better known by its Arabic acronym Rabita, is one of the largest organisations in the world.
- For decades, the World Assembly of Muslim Youth has been working to address challenges facing young people from diverse faith background in various parts of the world.
An article in the DN of April 27 by Michael Mugwanga, titled ‘Be wary, your philanthropist neighbor may be a terrorist’, sought to portray a number of Muslim organisations covertly using charitable activities to finance terrorism. They included the Muslim World League, World Assembly of Muslim Youth and the International Islamic Relief Organisation.
While there is no doubt that extremist groups like Al-Qaeda have used charitable organisations as fronts to carry out their nefarious activities, this should not be used as a justification to falsely incriminate prominent and credible organisations, which are playing a central role in promoting development as well as fostering harmonious relations between Muslims and people of other faiths.
The organisations were said to have been named by the US Senate for terrorist funding and recommended economic sanctions against the NGOs and their leaders. These are ludicrous allegations deliberately meant to tarnish their reputation.
Muslim World League, better known by its Arabic acronym Rabita, is one of the largest organisations in the world. It enjoys observer status in the United Nations and is a member of Unesco and Unicef. It has played a key role in promoting interfaith dialogue, religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence in many countries including the United States.
For decades, the World Assembly of Muslim Youth has been working to address challenges facing young people from diverse faith background in various parts of the world. In Kenya, the organisations run various programmes focused on promoting education and social welfare among the youth.
The International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) enjoys consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council and has for many years worked closely with UN agencies and governments across the world to provide much needed support to vulnerable communities.
With such credentials, it is preposterous for someone to suggest that these organisations could in anyway be involved in terrorism.
Unfortunately in post-911, allegations related to terrorism financing have continuously been made against Muslim bodies. While many of these have turned out to be false, they have impacted negatively on the activities of such organisations.
Operations of Dahabshil, Africa’s largest money transfer company, were stifled for months in several countries around the world. The company was later given a clean bill of health after it became clear that it had no involvement whatsoever in supporting terrorist organisations or money laundering.
Closer home, human rights groups Haki Africa and Muslim for Human Rights also suffered the same fate after their activities were clamped for allegedly supporting terrorism.
While there is need for concerted efforts to create awareness about the insidious strategies of terrorist groups, at the same time it is imperative that legitimate and credible organisation should not be falsely accused as this harms their reputation and could potentially stifle their activities. This is counterproductive to the goals of fighting terrorism.
Mr Ayman is the head of media, Jamia Mosque Nairobi. firstname.lastname@example.org