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US Says Universities Failed To Disclose Qatari Funding; Qatar Foundation Part Of Larger Problem

December 10th, 2020 15:57

The US Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion has report­ed on sev­er­al cam­pus­es of US uni­ver­si­ties in Qatar which failed to report Qatari fund­ing and notes that two of these cam­pus­es part­nered with the Qatar Foun­da­tion, which, accord­ing to the report, has been known to silence view­points opposed by Qatar:

Two of these cam­pus­es part­nered with the Qatar Foun­da­tion, which has been known to silence view­points Qatar oppos­es. In Feb­ru­ary 2020, the Qatar Foun­da­tion, North­west­ern Uni­ver­si­ty Qatar’s part­ner orga­ni­za­tion, pre­vent­ed a Lebanese band with an open­ly gay lead singer from speak­ing on Northwestern’s Qatar cam­pus. The Qatar Foun­da­tion com­ment­ed, “We also place the very high­est val­ue on aca­d­e­m­ic free­dom and the open exchange of knowl­edge, ideas and points of view in the con­text of Qatari laws as well as the country’s cul­tur­al and social cus­toms. This par­tic­u­lar event was can­celed due to the fact that it patent­ly did not cor­re­late with this con­text.” The event had to be relo­cat­ed to Northwestern’s U. S. cam­pus, accord­ing to the arti­cle, which illus­trates the pow­er of for­eign agents to cen­sor or silence speech and quell aca­d­e­m­ic freedom.

Read the report here.

A Newsweek arti­cle by the head of the Insti­tute for the Study of Glob­al Anti­semitism and Pol­i­cy (ISGAP) pro­vides a fuller pic­ture regard­ing Qatari fund­ing of US aca­d­e­m­ic insti­tu­tions and con­nects it to the rise of anti-Israel and anti-Semit­ic sen­ti­ments in the acad­e­my. The arti­cle refers to the find­ings of com­pre­hen­sive research by ISGAP, said to have part­ly spurred the Depart­ment of Education’s investigation:

The bulk of Mid­dle East­ern dona­tions com­ing into the Unit­ed States emanates from Qatari donors (75 per­cent), while the Qatar Foun­da­tion accounts for vir­tu­al­ly all of the dona­tions from Qatar. These funds have a sig­nif­i­cant impact on uni­ver­si­ties, espe­cial­ly with regard to atti­tudes toward Israel. ISGAP’s research iden­ti­fied a direct cor­re­la­tion between the fund­ing of uni­ver­si­ties by Qatar and the Gulf States and the active pres­ence at those uni­ver­si­ties of groups such as Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine (SJP), which fos­ter an aggres­sive anti-Semit­ic atmos­phere on cam­pus. In addi­tion, the ISGAP project assess­ment found a cor­re­la­tion between fund­ing and the ide­o­log­i­cal bent of schol­ar­ship, includ­ing anti-Israel and anti-Zion­ist sen­ti­ment, at depart­ments and insti­tutes at some of Amer­i­ca’s lead­ing uni­ver­si­ties, pub­lish­ing hous­es and aca­d­e­m­ic pro­fes­sion­al asso­ci­a­tions. There is also a dis­turb­ing con­nec­tion between this fund­ing and the silenc­ing of insti­tutes and pub­li­ca­tions by schol­ars that are crit­i­cal of the pre­vail­ing ideology.

The Qatar Foun­da­tion was estab­lished in 1995 by the for­mer Qatari Emir and his wife, moth­er of the cur­rent Emir who serves as its Chair­per­son. Its flag­ship ini­tia­tive is the Qatar Edu­ca­tion City, which also hosts the Doha cam­pus­es of Ivy League US uni­ver­si­ties. Pre­vi­ous report­ing by the Glob­al Mus­lim Broth­er­hood Dai­ly Watch on Qatar Foun­da­tion has included:

  • A 2010 report that Wash­ing­ton DC pub­lic school stu­dents are being instruct­ed in Ara­bic and par­tic­i­pat­ing in a cul­tur­al exchange pro­gram that is being spon­sored by the Qatar Foundation
  • A 2008 report on the launch of the El Qaradawi Cen­tre for Research in Mod­er­ate Thought at the Edu­ca­tion City, named after Youssef Qaradawi, the most impor­tant leader of the Glob­al Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, a transna­tion­al Islamist net­work cov­ered by the Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR).