Twenty years after 9/11, policies to control and disrupt the financial sources of terrorist organizations are considered a key aspect of combatting terrorist organizations. To prevent and deter support for terrorist activities, countries are obliged by international law to monitor financial transactions and to prosecute those who engage in financing terrorist organizations and/or individuals. Financing terrorism as defined under international law, however, is a broad offence, criminalizing a range of activities (fundraising, donating, transferring). How are banks able to distinguish a mundane financial transaction from funding terrorist organizations? And how do courts assess whether individuals conduct such transactions with a terrorist intent? In this lecture, Dr. Tasniem will discuss how counter-terrorism financing is done in practice, focusing specifically on the use of financial technology and intelligence. Departing from a critical perspective, the discussion will pay attention to how countering terrorism financing practices are heavily influenced by racist and Islamophobic assumptions on financiers. Based on research in the context of European states countering terrorism financing, Tasniem shows how these practices impact the Muslim community and civil society organizations more broadly.
Dr. Tasniem Anwar is Assistant Professor at the Department of Criminology at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. She conducted her PhD on the prosecution of terrorism financing at the department of political science at the University of Amsterdam. The findings are published in academic journals including Security Dialogue and the Journal of Law and Society. Her current research interests include: counter-terrorism financing, terrorism trials, and emerging security technologies for countering terrorism. She is co-convenor of the webinar series ‘Decolonising Europe’ and the Doing IPS seminar series in the Netherlands.