Kristina Saad (Tallinn University, Estonia) “Alms Money as a Means of Financing Terrorism”


Although there is no universally accepted definition for terrorism, academics agree on certain characteristics that the movements classified as terrorist have. One of these characteristics is of an ideological kind. So although terrorism is a means of making a statement, there still remains the need for some minimum level of resources for the organisation to survive and conduct operations. The main sources for Islamic terrorist organisations to acquire funds are from sponsoring states, criminal activity, legal businesses working to support terrorists and charities. In my research I will mainly focus on how the charity sector is being used to finance terrorist activities, as an important source for this comes from donations from charities and wealthy individuals. An important keyword here is zakāt, one of the pillars of Islam, which is the compulsory giving of a set proportion of one’s wealth to charity. In some cases zakāt has been used to finance terrorism. While most of the charities in the Muslim world exist to help the poor and spread the message of Islam, their funds have also been used to finance terrorism. Exploring this is the main focus of my thesis.