NGOs and the challenge of global terrorism

Authored by: Omi Hodwitz

Routledge Handbook of NGOs and International Relations

Print publication date:  April  2019
Online publication date:  April  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138285507
eBook ISBN: 9781315268927
Adobe ISBN:


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The attacks on the United States on 11 September 2001 (9/11) changed the face of terrorism and counterterrorism. They reshaped narratives surrounding security and society, created a climate of fear and suspicion, vilified particular communities and their representatives, and generated a backlash effect that was felt in many sectors of civil society. This chapter focuses on non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the challenges they face in the age of global terrorism. The chapter begins with a brief introduction to contemporary terrorism. This is followed by a discussion of specific challenges, including those that (1) originate from terrorist organizations and (2) originate from counterterrorism measures. The former revolves around issues of NGO safety and security. NGOs are at increased risk of violence as terrorists seek to acquire NGO resources, question their neutrality, and view them as competitors for constituent support. Regarding counterterrorism measures, many of these have hindered NGO operations through the creation of legal hurdles, discriminatory practices, and administrative and donor uncertainty.

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