Washington, DC – Senator Susan Collins is the cosponsor of legislation aimed at stopping Saudi support for institutions that that fund, train, incite, encourage, or in any other way aid and abet terrorism. The Collins-backed legislation, which was introduced by Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, also seeks to secure full cooperation from the government of Saudi Arabia in the investigation and prevention of terrorist attacks.

“Although Saudi Arabia has initiated some reforms, recent studies have found that the country remains a breeding ground for terrorism. A January 2005 report by Freedom House’s Center for Religious Freedom found that Saudi Arabia is the state most responsible for the propagation of material promoting hatred, intolerance, and violence within American mosques and Islamic centers and that the material is often an official publications of a Saudi ministry or distributed by the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington, DC. That is troubling,” said Senator Collins. “In order to be a full partner in the war on terrorism, Saudi Arabia needs to take greater steps to stem the spread of religious extremism that promote terrorism.”

The Saudi Arabia Accountability Act expresses the “Sense of Congress” that the Government of Saudi Arabia should immediately and unconditionally provide complete and unrestricted cooperation with the United States in the investigation of terrorism and terrorism financing; permanently close all charities, schools, and other organizations that fund, train, incite, or aid terrorism; and block all funding from private Saudi citizens and entities to any Saudi-based terror organization. If these actions are not taken, the bill directs the President to enforce sanctions blocking the export of defense articles, services, and items listed under the Commerce Control List to Saudi Arabia, and enforce travel restrictions of Saudi diplomats assigned to DC, New York, Houston, or Los Angeles to a 25 mile radius. The President may waive these sanctions if it is determined that it is in the national security of the U.S. and a report is submitted to the appropriate congressional committees.

As Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Senator Collins
last year requested a Government Accountability Office examination of the U.S. government’s efforts to identify, monitor and counter the spread and financing of Saudi religious intolerance in order determine whether current U.S. efforts are adequate. Senator Collins’ Committee has been investigating some of the Islamic charities in the United States that have allegedly supported terrorism.