Local and International Implications of the Criminalization of Islamic Charities, The Case of Zakat Committees in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip


Islamic charities have been the target of various international counter-terrorism measures for more than a decade. Based on a detailed account of the recent history of Palestinian zakat committees, our panelists suggest that legal evidence against these institutions is generally weak. Rather, allegations of 'political affiliation' tend to serve as justification for political interventions in the Islamic charitable sector - with destructive results. In the West Bank and Gaza today, that sector continues to go through a contested process of institutional transformation with an uncertain future. A similar dilemma arises at the international level. Our panelists describe how the criminalization of zakat institutions has created legal risks for humanitarian organizations working with Islamic charities, casting a shadow of fear over relief work in conflict affected areas.

Emanuel Schaeublin, DPhil Programme in Anthropology at the University of Oxford (UK)
Kay Guinane, Program Manager, Charity and Security Network, Washington DC
Benoit Challand, Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near East Studies, New York University


Free and Open to the Public. RSVP Required: RBInstitute@gc.cuny.edu.

Wednesday, 30 January ~ 6 - 8PM
City University of New York
Room C201, The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Ave. (at 34th Street)