�Gavin Finch and Edward Robinson
money. But the bank couldn’t get comfortable with the charity sending money into Syria. Moreover, Christian Aid planned to rely on hawala, a centuries- old system of moving cash around the Muslim world that operates outside formal banking channels. Under hawala, someone in London who wants to send money to a relative in Syria visits a local broker, hands over the cash, and, in return, receives a code. The relative uses this code to collect the funds at the other end, and the two brokers settle at some later date.
Charities use hawala because it’s often the only way of getting cash into a country that doesn’t have a functioning banking system. But since Sept. 11, U.S. authorities have targeted some hawala networks for helping terrorists move money. “They are not prepared to take any risk inside Syria,” says Guy, who had to ditch the field-kitchen project. “That’s their right. It’s just disappointing.”
The bottom line Charities such as Oxfam working in war zones are having trouble transferring money: Banks don’t want to fund terrorists accidentally. Crude oil production at month’s end, barrels per day Saudi Arabia $119 U.S. Record high