Alms for Jihad
Cover of the first edition of Alms for Jihad
|Author||J. Millard Burr and Robert O. Collins|
|Publisher||Cambridge University Press|
|LC Class||HV435 .B87 2006|
Alms for Jihad: Charity and Terrorism in the Islamic World is a 2006 book co-written by American authors J. Millard Burr, a former USAID relief coordinator in Sudan, and historian Robert O. Collins which discusses the role of Islamic charities in financing terrorism.
- The third pillar of Islam: zakat;
- Saudi Arabia and its Islamic charities;
- The banks;
- Afghanistan beginnings;
- Islamic charities and the revolutionary Sudan;
- Islam at war in the Balkans;
- Russia and the Central Asian Crescent;
- From Afghanistan to Southeast Asia;
- The Holy Land;
- The Islamization of Europe;
- Islamic charities in North America;
In August 2007, the publisher, Cambridge University Press ("CUP"), attempted to have the work removed from circulation and pulped under pressure from a libel action lawsuit filed against them in the British legal system by wealthy Saudi businessman Khalid Salim A. Bin Mahfouz because the book accused him of funding al-Qaeda. Mahfouz had previously also forced the censorship of four other books:
- June 2006: "The Forbidden Truth" / "La Vérité Interdite" by Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquié
- April 2006: Funding Evil; How Terrorism is Financed and How to Stop It, by Rachel Ehrenfeld
- July 2004: "Terrorism financing: roots and trends of Saudi terrorism financing; prepared by JCB Consulting"
Within hours, Alms for Jihad became one of the hundred most sought-after titles on Amazon.com and eBay in the United States. CUP wrote to libraries asking them to remove copies from circulation. CUP subsequently sent out copies of an "errata" sheet. The American Library Association issued a recommendation to libraries still holding Alms for Jihad: "Given the intense interest in the book, and the desire of readers to learn about the controversy first hand, we recommend that U.S. libraries keep the book available for their users."
The authors of the book opposed the course of action which CUP chose; instead, they urged Cambridge to contest the lawsuit and themselves began to prepare a detailed rebuttal to the claims made by the Bin Mahfouz family. CUP was criticized by some who claimed that its action was incompatible with freedom of speech and with freedom of the press, and that it indicated that English libel laws were excessively strict. In The New York Times Book Review (7 October 2007), United States Congressman Frank R. Wolf described Cambridge's settlement as "basically a book burning." This episode of "Libel Tourism" was fought in the United States and ultimately led to the passing of the Libel Terrorism Protection Act (also known as "Rachel's Law") by New York State on April 29, 2008.
CUP pointed out that, at that time, it had already sold most of its copies of the book. Kevin Taylor, intellectual property director at Cambridge University Press, stated that the book cited sources, "whose falsity had been established to the satisfaction of the English courts" in previous cases. Nathan Vardi published an article in Forbes magazine titled "Sins of the Father?" on March 18, 2002, with the heading: "Khalid bin Mahfouz, a Saudi billionaire, spent the 1990s engaged in financial folly and funding what the U.S. government calls a front for Al-Qaeda. Now a new generation tries to escape the shadow."
On December 1, 2015, in his article, "Banned by Lawfare Jihad, A Book You MUST Read: Alms for Jihad", Christopher W. Holton asserted, "Alms for Jihad contains the most detailed, exhaustive investigation into the role that Islamic charities and NGOs have played in financing and supporting violent Jihad and terrorist organizations, including Al Qaeda."
References and sources
- "Cambridge contacts US libraries over Alms for Jihad", American Libraries Magazine: August 17, 2007. http://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/cambridge-contacts-u-s-libraries-over-alms-for-jihad/
- Bonus Books criticises CUP, The Bookseller, March 8, 2007
- A University Press Stands Up -- and Wins, Inside Higher Ed, August 16, 2007
- Rachel Donadio (2007-10-07). "Libel Without Borders". The New York Times.
- Kevin Taylor, Why CUP acted responsibly theBookseller.com: September 8, 2007.
- Nathan Vardi, Sins of the Father? Forbes: March 18, 2002.
- Christopher W. Holton, Banned by Lawfare Jihad, A Book You MUST Read: Alms for Jihad ShariahFinanceWatch.org: December 1, 2015.
- J. Millard Burr and Robert O. Collins (2006). Alms for Jihad: Charity and Terrorism in the Islamic World. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-85730-9.