RealNews

Arab nations rethink aid to tsunami victims

The Saudi government tripled its tsunami relief offering from $10 million to $30 million yesterday. The United Arab Emirates increased its aid from $2 million to $20 million and began airlifts of relief supplies. And Kuwait, after being blasted for stinginess on the front page of a prominent Sunday newspaper, upped its pledge from $2 million to $10 million. A more esoteric discussion on Islamic Web sites and chat rooms focused on whether the aid effort qualified as an Islamic cause, even though the majority of those who died were Muslims. Analysts in the Persian Gulf said state-run media responded sluggishly to the disaster, and that some potential contributors were concerned they might unwittingly choose charities accused of funding terrorism. But the government has been leery of cash contributions, he said, ever since Saudi charities were shut down after the Sept. 11 attacks in an effort to stanch the flow of money to terrorists. “They’re very careful when it comes to cash moving out of the country,” he said. Full Story

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