- Publisher: Cambridge University Press (2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0521857309
- ISBN-13: 978-0521857307
- Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 17 customer reviews
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Alms for Jihad Hardcover – 2006
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This book is a surprisingly enjoyable read although hardly a unified narrative -- it provides a very good basic background of terms, culture, and practices if you have limited knowledge of the field, and is grounded, not the least bit shrill or polemical. I am indeed, reading it cover to cover, and it's almost a 'page-burner.'
We follow numerous trails of money, law enforcement interventions, and the feuds and family ties forged between jihadi power families and political-economic-religious leaders within and sometimes across countries and regions. At times it feels like we are watching the development of a new version of The Godfather.
Very highly recommended if you are interested in the topic of terrorist funding.
It points out that most charities probably do provide money only for thier intended purpose of either humanitarian aid or community building. However many state one purpose and then use money to engage in a much more sinister one.
The book is fair to Islam and it's followers and does not accuse the religion as the problem. Instead is takes a look into the motivations behind the problem. My only problem with the book is that it might be too sensative to the Muslim community and not push the envelope enough. This book in fact does not make too many opinionated statements but rather tells the facts and let's you decide. Once you finish reading it you will not soon forget that this problem is still with us and will not go away soon. Terrorist organizations adapt and those who wish to stop it will have to adapt as well.
So stated a letter from Guy Houle of Cambridge University Press, enclosed with all advanced reader's copies of this book.
And the initial press releases, upon the book's publication, were indeed accurate. The book tracks much of the financial jihad that occurs in the U.S. --- fund raising for terrorist organizations and other activities to subvert the U.S. Constitution and ultimately impose U.S. (and global) shari'a rule, that is Islamic law. It is one of the finest pieces of scholarship ever produced on this subject.
As most readers undoubtedly know, a year or so after the book was published, Cambridge University Press buckled in the face of a threat to sue made by the world's largest libel tourist, Khalid bin Mahfouz. He did not even have to sue. He merely threatened to sue in the British courts. (Bin Mahfouz died in August 2009, at 59, after "a long illness" --- no doubt owing to his reputedly reckless alternative lifestyle.)
Interestingly, however, bin Mahfouz did not threaten the book's American authors, whose research and documentation are impeccable. That was thanks to author Rachel Ehrenfeld, who was sued in Britain, ignored the U.K. ruling and counter sued bin Mahfouz in a U.S. federal court.
Her U.S. case was ultimately dismissed (in effect) on technicalities and an overly narrow interpretation of New York business laws.
However, that happened only after Ehrenfeld's case prevented the Saudi businessman from threatening the U.S. authors of this volume. As I observed in "A Fly in the bin Mahfouz ointment," a Front Page Magazine article published Aug. 6, 2007, a new "U.S. legal precedent [was] established by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals on June 8, 2007."
On June 8, 2007, the Second Circuit justices unanimously found that Ehrenfeld's case merited hearing at the U.S. federal court level --- and that the case had implications for all U.S. authors and publishers, whose First Amendment rights, the justices ruled, are threatened by foreign libel rulings. The Second Circuit, moreover, on June 27, 2007 unanimously denying bin Mahfouz' request to reconsider their decision on the merit of Ehrenfeld's case for trial in the U.S.
Losing this book from the open market --- and hundreds of libraries, which pulled the volume off their shelves --- was a terrible blow to the U.S. guaranteed Constitutional rights to free speech and a free press.
However, the war over free speech is far from over. In March, 2008, both houses of New York state's legislature unanimously passed the Libel Terrorism Reform Act, aka Rachel's Law, which Governor Patterson signed into law May 1, 2008. Other states are considering similar measures, as is the U.S. Congress.
Furthermore, one hopes that J. Millard Burr can and will find a new U.S. publisher to reissue the book. Unfortunately, University of Southern California at Berkeley Prof. Robert O. Collins, died suddenly on Apr. 11, 2008.
--- Alyssa A. Lappen
A very important book; the free-speech-chilling precedent of its recall and pulping will forever be a mark of cowardice against the publisher, and a signal example of the laxity and excesses of UK libel laws. Can still, however, get a copy by downloading as .pdf from the US Library of Congress