Middle East studies in the News
Georgetown U. Received $325,000 Funneled Through Terror Front Group
Georgetown University has some explaining to do based on documents obtained exclusively by PJM from a confidential law enforcement source. The documents reveal a scheme to pass $325,000 through the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which has been identified by the FBI as a front for the Hamas terrorist organization. The money was paid to Georgetown by the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to promote its "Islamophobia" agenda, which includes its stated international objective of criminalizing any criticism of Islam.
Even more troubling: evidence that Georgetown is not the only American university to cooperate with CAIR and the OIC in their joint plan to subvert the First Amendment right to free speech.
The plot was apparently initiated in 2006 by discussions between the OIC, CAIR, and Georgetown's Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (CMCU). An email dated November 20, 2006, sent from OIC permanent observer to the UN Abdul Wahab to Nihad Awad and Hadia Mubarak — a CAIR board memberand Georgetown CMCU "senior researcher" — urged them to expedite arrangements. The email also promised that funds would be transferred to Georgetown as soon as the OIC received a letter from John Esposito, director of Georgetown's CMCU.
Abdul Wahab's email was followed up with a January 11, 2007, joint letter from CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad and John Esposito, which is referenced in a January 15, 2007, letter of reply from OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu (the letter is misdated as 2006). The letter offered $325,000 in cash from the OIC to finance an "Islamophobia" symposium to be convened at Georgetown University.
The OIC is the second largest intergovernmental body in the world behind the United Nations. It comprises every Islamic country in the world at the head of state level. OIC Secretary General Ihsanoglu said last year that the OIC functions as the Islamic global caliphate and embodies the "Islamic solidarity" of the ummah. Included as an agenda item in the OIC's 10 year plan — stated in English on their own website — is to push for the international criminalization of Islamophobia (1.VII), in defiance of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights protections of freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
Georgetown's CMCU was endowed in December 2005 by a $20 million grant from Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, one of the richest men in the world, who also gave another $20 million for a similar center at Harvard. Back in February 2008, I wrote about the extremist Wahhabi agenda that the center actively promotes. Congressman Frank Wolf has also written to Georgetown President John DeGioia expressing concerns about the potential Saudi influence of U.S. government foreign service personnel trained at the university. Wolf also queried whether the CMCU had ever written anything critical of the Saudis' abysmal record on human rights, religious freedom, freedom of expression, women's rights, minority rights, protection of foreign workers, due process, and the rule of law. Needless to say, they haven't.
John Esposito, the CMCU's director, described Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Sami Al-Arian at an August 2007 CAIR fundraiser in Dallas as "a good friend of mine," even hiring Al-Arian's son Abdullah as a researcher for the center. Esposito's protégé, Hadia Mubarak, who now operates as a researcher at the Gallup Poll's Muslim World project, is a virulent bigot who has gone so far as accusing other Muslims as having "a deep hatred of Islam" for daring to criticize American Islamic organizations and institutions that are Saudi-financed and promote their extremist Wahhabi agenda — such as the Georgetown CMCU.
During the period when this scheme came together, CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case — the largest terrorism financing trial in American history. Not coincidentally, Esposito served as a defense witness in that trial. His testimony was apparently unpersuasive, as the defendants were convicted on all 108 charges and sentenced to lengthy prison terms. During that trial, FBI Special Agent Lara Burns testified that CAIR was a front for the terrorist group Hamas. Admittedly mirroring the agenda of the OIC, and presumably its aim to criminalize the defamation of Islam, CAIR has established an observatory for "Islamophobia." CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad spoke last year at an OIC conference on Islamophobia held in Brazil. Nihad Awad was personally named an unindicted co-conspirator, along with his organization, in the Holy Land Foundation trial and is identified in federal wiretaps of a top-level Hamas meeting held in Philadelphia in 1993.
This symbiotic relationship between the OIC, Georgetown, and CAIR is expressed in their unity to promote the OIC's "Islamophobia" agenda. But the attempts to pull off the Georgetown conference to that end experienced some setbacks, according to additional documents obtained from our law enforcement source.
A letter dated July 19, 2007, from OIC official Sukru Tujan to Nihad Awad and then-CAIR chairman Parvez Ahmed directed them to transfer $62,100 to Georgetown for costs associated with a scheduled September 20, 2007, workshop and speech at the university by OIC Secretary General Ihsanoglu (his speech can be found on Georgetown's website). The letter also asked for the prompt return of the remainder of the $325,000 to the OIC, as the conference could not be organized in 2007. The letter notes this arrangement had previously been discussed, probably at the meeting between Awad and Ihsanoglu in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, at OIC headquarters two weeks before where they discussed joint OIC-CAIR projects.
But CAIR chairman Ahmed replied with a letter to Ihsangolu dated July 27, 2007, complaining that returning the remainder of the $325,000 to the OIC would hinder their efforts to organize a joint symposium at a later date. He also noted that they already incurred $19,700 in expenses for the event. A faxed reply from Ihsangolu dated July 20, 2007, cited auditing requirements for the return of the money and concerns that another partner may need to be found, possibly due to CAIR's legal and media troubles at the time.
Notwithstanding that dispute and the delay in organizing the proposed "Islamophobia" symposium, the three organizations continue to jointly push their shared agenda. Both John Esposito and CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab were scheduled to speak at an OIC conference held at the American Islamic College in Chicago last September.
And other American universities have lined up to promote the OIC "Islamophobia" agenda, most recently the University of California, Berkeley, which hosted the "Islamophobia Production and Redefining the Global 'Security' Agenda for the 21st Century" just this past April. That UC Berkeley conference was co-sponsored by the OIC's Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (IESCO) and CAIR, and featured IESCO representative Papa Toumane Ndiaey and CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad as speakers.
The documents we are presenting here for the first time put the lie to CAIR's repeated claims that they have never received foreign funding, and their denials that they promote the extremist agenda of hostile foreign nations. This, however, is hardly breaking news.
That some of America's top universities are actively colluding with the Islamic foreign governments — most of whom have refused to sign the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights — is troubling enough. But signing onto and openly promoting the OIC's stated agenda of criminalizing "Islamophobia" puts them in direct opposition to the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment protections, and raises serious questions about their eligibility for public funding.
This is clearly an issue for Congress to investigate immediately.
Patrick Poole is a regular contributor to Pajamas Media, and an anti-terrorism consultant to law enforcement and the military.Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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