Campus Watch has stopped an incident of extremism being forwarded by a North American university. At the behest of CW, the University of Michigan’s federally subsidized Center of Middle Eastern and North African Studies (CMENAS) in September removed its embedded web links to a Wahhabist site.
The site is vitriolic and extremist. Answering the question, whether Muslim Americans may serve in the U.S. armed forces in Iraq, it replies:
"This is one of the most evil of evil things. It is not permissible to give them anything that may give them [U.S. forces] the slightest help against the Muslims."
Because CMENAS receives federal funding via the Higher Education Act’s Title VI program, the American taxpayer was until recently funding the promotion of a militant Islamic website via a research center. In exchange for federal Title VI grants, these centers are expected to provide educational “Outreach” materials and K-12 teaching aids about their area of expertise to the public.
Here are some more of the eye-opening sentiments the University of Michigan promoted to the high school teachers or students for whom the CMENAS website is mainly intended:
· Waging jihad (sacred war) is incumbent on Muslims “to make the people worship Allah alone and to bring them forth from servitude to people to servitude to the Lord of people.”
· Not engaging in jihad “leads to doom in this world and in the Hereafter.”
· “Muslims are commanded” to kill non-Muslims when they “are at war with the Muslims and do not have a peace treaty with the Muslims or are not living under Muslim rule.” Thus, not only are Muslim U.S. soldiers forbidden to fight for their country against Islamic terrorists, Muslims in the U.S. are commanded to kill non-Muslim Americans.
· Destruction of Israel is the only solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. “A solution cannot be reached in this matter unless it is regarded as an Islamic issue and the Muslims cooperate to find a solution, and wage an Islamic jihad against the Jews....”
In addition, rank anti-Semitism pervades the site. One page indicates that Palestinians face an “unending Zionist arrogance and aggression, which pays no heed to human dignity or any covenant or treaty, or any law.” All of this derives from the notion that “their evil rabbis and warlords encourage them.”
Despite sponsoring this website, CMENAS has recently been awarded nearly $1 millon dollars in federal aid for the coming three years.
The past director of CMENAS, Michael Bonner, recently stated that the center is “carrying out programs according to the precise requirements” of the Department of Education. Stephen Schwartz, an expert on Wahhabism, takes issue with Bonner’s claim. He calls the website, as it was, “a scandal” and rhetorically asks whether the University of Michigan “would guide those studying Christianity to sites run by the Aryan Nation, polygamist Mormon cults, and similar primitive sects?”
When first informed of the site on Sept.9, Bonner disclaimed any knowledge of its connection to Wahhabist propaganda. On futher investigation, however, CMENAS ceded that Campus Watch’s concerns were validated and removed all connections to the Wahhabi site on Sept.11.
CMENAS program associate Micheal Fahy informed us that the embedded link was a clerical error resulting from “insufficient oversight” by the center. Fahy conceded that CW’s objections to the link “are well founded” and explained that the problem was compounded by the site’s design, which “could give the impression that CMENAS endorsed the interpretation of Islam offered in that website.” Fahy added, “We most certainly do not endorse those views.”
Campus Watch appreciates the frank and rapid response by CMENAS to its inquiry; it also believes that citing a clerical error cannot close the issue. Rather, we have asked the president of the University of Michigan, Mary Sue Coleman, to investigate what happened and what else might be awry in the CMENAS outreach program. After all, the objectionable website is only one of many efforts by CMENAS in their outreach program. What takes place in classrooms, conferences, brown-bag lunches and other activities?Further, we have asked the Department of Education to examine more closely where federal Title VI money is going, and how these tax dollars are spent.
 Email from Stephen Schwartz, August 12, 2003.
 Email from Michael A. Fahy, September 12, 2003.