Johns Hopkins University is demonstrating a disturbing pattern of awarding fellowships to Islamists with an avowedly anti-Western agenda. Mustafa El Khalfi, the Moroccan Islamist who was recently awarded a fellowship at the university’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), is not the first. In March of 2005, SAIS granted a visiting fellowship to Anwar Ibrahim, a terror-supporting Malaysian Islamist whose Virginia-based organization apparently committed tax fraud in his benefit.
On March 30, 2005, SAIS announced that Ibrahim, the former deputy prime minister of Malaysia, was joining the university’s Foreign Policy Institute, as a visiting scholar. Ibrahim was to “present seminars on contemporary Southeast Asian politics, economic reform, Islam and democracy…[and] join in SAIS activities.” The announcement by SAIS said that Ibrahim would also be working on “a project examining democratization in the Muslim world.” While SAIS described him “as a strong advocate for civil society, economic liberalization, moderate Islam and democratic governance,” publicly available evidence shows the opposite. A quick glance at his website reveals a prominently featured photo of Ibrahim together with Yusuf Qaradawi, a leading Islamist scholar who is associated with the Muslim Brotherhood and supports HAMAS, and who recently issued a fatwa calling for the Islamic conquest of Europe.
Anwar Ibrahim is a founder and director of the Muslim Brotherhood affiliated International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), a think tank in Virginia that has alleged links to terrorism. IIIT’s 2003 tax-exempt IRS filing lists a $720 donation to the al-Haramain Islamic Foundation of Ashland, Oregon, which was designated as a terrorist funding organization by the U.S. government in 2004. Among the Treasury Department’s findings were that the Oregon branch of al-Haramain engaged in tax fraud, money laundering, supporting Chechen mujahideen affiliated with al Qaeda, and had “direct links between the U.S. branch and Usama bin Laden.” In fact, many of al – Haramain’s offices around the world were closed for supporting terrorism.
There is more evidence of IIIT’s links to terrorism. A few examples: according to court documents, in the early 1990s IIIT donated at least $50,000 to a think tank run by Sami al-Arian, the World Islamic and Study Enterprise (WISE), that served as a front group for Palestinian Islamic Jihad. IIIT is also named as a defendant in two class-action lawsuits brought by victims of the 9/11 attacks. One alleges that IIIT received the bulk of its operating expenses from the SAAR network, whose component groups are accused in another class-action suit of being “fronts for the sponsor of al Qaeda and international terror.” The same suit lists IIIT as well as every officer of IIIT besides Anwar Ibrahim as a supporter of the SAAR network. This public information was available to SAIS, yet the school extended a fellowship to Ibrahim.
Ibrahim, along with three other IIIT directors, is also a trustee of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY). According to congressional testimony of testimony of Jonathan Winer, former Deputy Secretary of State for International Law Enforcement, in October 2002 WAMY made Hamas leader Khalid Mishal an “honored guest” at a conference held in Riyadh. A Saudi opposition group reports that WAMY disseminates literature encouraging “religious hatred and violence against Jews, Christians, Shi’a and Ashaari Muslims.” Evidently, as a trustee of this group, Anwar Ibrahim is far from advocating moderate Islam.
Ibrahim and his family were also the beneficiaries of an apparent tax fraud perpetrated by IIIT. The same tax filings showing a donation to the al-Haramian foundation show $92,200 in contributions to Ibrahim’s daughter, Nurul Izzah. IIIT violated U.S. law when it wrote “none” under “Donee’s relationship” when listing donations to Ibrahim’s daughter. The group would have lost its tax-exempt status had it been known that it was sending money to the family member of a director. Ibrahim never disavowed this act when given the chance and even stated explicitly that these contributions were made for the education of his six children.
Moreover, the International Free Anwar Campaign (IFAC), which was established when Ibrahim was in a Malaysian prison, has some apparent links to al Qaeda. Rahim Ghouse, who was an IFAC leader based out of Melbourne, Australia, had business dealings with Yassin al-Qadi, who is on the Treasury Department’s list of Specially Designated Terrorists for funding al Qaeda. While this alone is not conclusive, it should have raised a red flag. Instead, SAIS assigned Ibrahim to “counsel students who wish to learn more about Southeast Asia and the Muslim world.”
Perhaps most importantly, Ibrahim never disavowed IIIT’s support of terrorism. On the contrary: in an October 25, 2003 response to the broadcasting of terror-supporting charges against IIIT on Australian television, he effusively praised the organization and said that charges against it were politically motivated.
SAIS also recently announced a fellowship, funded by W.W. Norton & Company, for students with the “firm intention to pursue a career that promotes international understanding between the United States and other countries and works toward the goal of preventing terrorism.” In light of fellowships granted to Mustafa El Khalfi and Anwar Ibrahim, it seems that SAIS, is doing the exact opposite.
SAIS, however, recently lost Ibrahim to the newly renamed Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, at Georgetown University, where he lectures “on several topics. “ It is ironic that this trustee of WAMY, which supports HAMAS and has been implicated in funding al Qaeda and other Islamist organizations, has been assigned to teach Georgetown students “modernity in Islam, [and] interfaith understanding.”
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