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Jihad on the American Mind By: Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, March 11, 2005


The religious and philosophical justifications for promoting Jihad –which means holy war - around the world, is found in the Quran, says Dr. Hussein Shehata, a professor at al-Azhar University in Cairo. According to Dr. Shehata, the following terms in the Quran combine to justify the spreading of Jihad: in Arabic- Al-Jihad bi-al-Lisan – which means - Jihad of the Tongue, and al-Jihad bi-al-Qalam – Jihad of the Pen. Both combine for preaching and writing to promote Jihad.

This command is complemented by Al-Jihad bi-al-Mal - the Financial Jihad; namely, raising money for needy Muslims and supporting the Jihad warriors – known as the Mujahideen. These are the commands that form the justification to spread the Jihad.

On his website, on March 3, 2004, the same Dr. Shehata explained the uniqueness and the reason for the financial Jihad commandment as being, quote: "a trial of strength of Muslim faith" and "a means to purify the soul from stinginess".  It is through the financial Jihad, he says, that Allah gives the wealthy Muslims the opportunity to allocate some of their money for the Da'awa (literally - the call for Islam), which is the Islamic effort to teach or convert people to Islam.

In view of the fact that these commandments are interpreted as an integral part of Jihad, it is not surprising that Saudi Arabia, according to various Saudi official publications, have spent somewhere between $70-87 billion on the spread of Wahhabism around the world since the oil boom began in the mid- 1970’s. This money was not only spent in Muslim/Arab countries. Large amounts were and are still being spent in the West, including in the US.

The Saudis have established endowments for American universities, have set up centers for Islamic and Arab studies, and have distributed generous scholarships, which often include visits to Saudi universities in programs similar to the one attended by Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, who was indicted last week for joining Al-Qaeda and for plots to assassinate President Bush and King Abdullah of Jordan. Abu Ali, by the way, graduated from the Saudi Academy in Alexandria, Virginia, in the USA, which is sponsored by the Saudi embassy in Washington, and IN which many other young Americans are being indoctrinated in Wahhabi Islam.

I would like to add that he question we are facing here at Columbia, is whether what is being taught, is higher education, or indoctrination.

Among the first to enjoy the Saudi largess in 1976, to the tune of $1 million dollars, was the University of Southern California (USC). Announcing the endowment of the King Faisal Chair in Islamic Studies, the then-Saudi Minister of Finance and National Economy Mohammed Abalkhalil had no qualms stating that the Chair “shall be chosen by the university in consultation with the Saudi Minister of Higher Education” [emphasis added].

This marked the beginning of Saudi investment in the USC. A year later, in 1977, the Saudis established the Middle East Center, and, according to NBC reports at that time, funded it with money they “extorted from Americans doing business in Saudi Arabia.” The Middle East Center not only excluded Israel from its program, but its prospectus suggested that it would represent not only “the Saudi’s view of the Middle East,” but will also present the Jewish State “as an international outlaw.” Despite protests from the American Jewish Committee and others, the Middle East Center continued to operate as an autonomous center within USC, choosing its own curriculum and faculty.

In September 1978, the Saudis established an East Coast satellite to the USC program, at Duke University. The program in Islamic and Arabian Development Studies aimed to “provide for the Eastern part of the United States a balance, with the USC.” The money for this center came initially from the Saudi government and was supplemented by local foundations fronting for the Saudis.

Lee Kaplan, in his excellent article at FrontPage Magazine on The Saudi Fifth Column On Our Nation’s Campuses, in April 2004, listed some of the universities the Saudis have targeted to influence with their money. Among them are The Middle East Study Center at the University of Arkansas, which received $20 million dollars; Cornell, which received $11 million dollars; $8.1 million dollars went to Georgetown; $5 million dollars each to Rutgers, Columbia, and US Berkeley; $2.5 million dollars to Harvard; $1.5 million dollars to Texas A&M; and $1 million dollars to Princeton.

To further identify as many universities and colleges in the US that have received Saudi and Gulf-States funding, a major study is underway now. This is not an easy task, since lately the Saudis have taken to giving their gifts anonymously. In the meantime, however, we already know that they have given substantial sums also to UC-Santa Barbara, Johns Hopkins, Rice University, American University, University of Chicago, Syracuse University, UCLA, and Howard University, to name a few.

It is important to note that the many millions of dollars that the Saudis are spending here to establish Islamic centers to increase their influence are indeed subverting our academic institutions through indoctrination. Moreover, once established, these centers receive budgetary assistance from the US government under Title IV of the Education Act.  In 2004, Congress allocated $86.2 million of our tax money to support these programs.  

By giving our money to Islamic Centers and programs endowed by Islamist, we are helping the Saudis and their likes to acquire the foot soldiers to use the knives with which they intend to slit our throats.

Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld is a Frontpage columnist and author of Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed – And How to Stop It. She is also Director of the American Center for Democracy and member of the Committee on the  Present Danger.  This is the speech she gave at
the conference on "The Middle East and Academic Integrity on the American Campus," held at Columbia University on March 6, 2005.

Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld is director of the American Center for Democracy and author of Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed and How to Stop It and a member of The Committee on the Present Danger.


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