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Is the Recession Affecting Terror Financing?

Howard Gumnitzky

The global economic recession continues to impact employment, production, and overall prosperity. Yet, as scholar Rachel Ehrenfeld writes, the financial crisis has provided Islamists with the opportunity to bail out cash-strapped Western institutions, thereby spreading Islamism’s influence amidst the chaos.

However, the economic downturn seems to have hit terror-friendly organizations too. Spokesmen for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) said on Saturday that the agency was reeling from its worse financial difficulties in 50 years. As analyst Asaf Romirowsky notes, UNRWA has granted financial and material support to Hamas, the terrorist organization that violently took control of Gaza in 2007.

Ultimately, however, the recession likely stands to benefit global terrorism. Indeed, an economically-weakened West may lack the strength to withstand Islamist donors’ influence, or the resolve to confront Islamism’s nonviolent gains.