The Laws on Providing Material Support to Terrorist Organizations: The Erosion of Constitutional Rights or a Legitimate Tool for Preventing Terrorism?

By Aziz, Sahar | Texas Journal on Civil Liberties & Civil Rights, Winter 2003 | Go to article overview

The Laws on Providing Material Support to Terrorist Organizations: The Erosion of Constitutional Rights or a Legitimate Tool for Preventing Terrorism?


Aziz, Sahar, Texas Journal on Civil Liberties & Civil Rights


Introduction

On December 4, 2001, federal agents raided the offices of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, arrested the organization's officers, and froze $5 million worth of assets.1 Ten days later on December 14, 2001, the Global Relief Fund suffered the same fate when its assets were seized, and its co-founder Rabih Haddad was arrested.2 That same day Benevolence International's assets were also frozen, and its U.S. citizen president, Enaam Arnaout, was arrested and taken into custody on charges of providing material support to terrorism.3 Prior to their effective closure, the three organizations were the largest Islamic charities in the United States.4 Although each charitable organization had been operating for more than a decade,5 all three were systematically raided and shut down soon after the federal government's post-9/11 official declaration of its war on terrorism-a war that includes prosecuting anyone who provides material support to designated terrorist organizations.6 By February 2003, the Department of justice proudly announced its completion of 70 similar investigations into terrorism financing, designating 36 entities as terrorist organizations, and freezing over $113 million in financial assets of 62 organizations allegedly supporting terrorism.7 The fact that almost every criminal terrorism case filed after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks has included a charge of providing material support to a terrorist organization reveals the significance of material support laws as the linchpin of the ongoing war on terrorism.8

To many unsuspecting Americans, these events represent success stories on the part of the United States government with respect to the legitimate goal of terrorism prevention. To others, they raise red flags concerning fundamental constitutional rights.9 Although critics of antiterrorism laws generally accept the objective of terrorism prevention, the means currently utilized by the federal government in pursuing these legitimate ends are highly questionable from a legal as well as a normative perspective. For example, are these laws imposing guilt by association on individuals that support legitimate humanitarian aid projects? Do these laws provide adequate opportunity for defendants to face their accusers, the United States government in this case, and provide evidence in defense of their proclaimed innocence? Are these laws being used as a smoke screen to persecute politically unpopular individuals and groups affiliated with Islam and/or the Middle East rather than to eliminate bona fide criminal activity?

This Article attempts to answer these questions by illustrating how the current laws on designating foreign terrorist organizations and providing material support to terrorist organizations may violate organizations' and individuals' constitutional Due Process and First Amendment rights. Two specific fact patterns are the focus of this Article with respect to the constitutional analysis.

First, individuals in the United States who have knowingly donated large sums of money to the three Islamic charities previously mentioned are finding themselves under investigation for providing material support to terrorist organization. These investigations are taking place despite the individuals' original intent for their money to be spent on humanitarian projects in the Middle East or Central Asia. These donors not only lacked any specific intent to support terrorism, but they may have considered their donations to be a form of political expression and association.10 The donations, for instance, may have represented their belief in the rights of the children in war-torn areas, such as the West Bank and Gaza, to have food, shelter, and clothing despite the prevalent acts of violence committed against their communities as well as by members of their communities.11 In the context of pre-war, Saddam-run Iraq, U.S. donors may have given their money to Global Relief Fund to sponsor an Iraqi orphan as a form of political protest against the United States' sanctions on Iraq12 and against Saddam's starvation of his people through the misallocation of state funds. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Laws on Providing Material Support to Terrorist Organizations: The Erosion of Constitutional Rights or a Legitimate Tool for Preventing Terrorism?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.