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 2012 report on the launch of the Research Center for Islamic Legislation and Ethics at the Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies at the Education City, which was headed by Global Muslim Brotherhood figure Tariq Ramadan.
- 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).