Department of Homeland Security's funds bring Islamist sympathizers to Tufts
- Department of Homeland Security's funds bring Islamist sympathizers to Tufts
By: Daniel Halper
Regardless of how noble the ends might be, government-funded programs often
fail to achieve their stated objective. One such example has resulted in
federally funded support of jihadists at Tufts University.
In 2006, Tufts' Hillel received part of a $1.6-million Department of
Homeland Security (DHS) grant to promote "inter-faith and intercultural
dialogue." The program's intentions are noble and its goals laudable, since
it is best to resolve conflict through dialogue.
But this past fall, Tufts' Interfaith Initiative, "Pathways," used its
federal money to sponsor a dinner and dialogue by Edina Lekovic on "Women,
Faith, and Women."
The problem is that Lekovic is a radical Islamist sympathizer who has gone
so far as to defend Osama bin Laden.
A former managing editor of "Al-Talib, a Muslim publication at UCLA, Lekovic
was on the masthead when it published an editorial - signed by the Al-Talib
staff - praising and defending Osama bin Laden.
The editorial stated, "When we hear someone refer to the great Mujahid,
Osama bin Laden, as a 'terrorist,' we should defend our brother and refer to
him as a freedom fighter; someone who has forsaken wealth and power to fight
in Allah's cause and speak out against oppressors. We take these stances
only to please Allah."
When confronted on national television about it, Lekovic initially denied
any participation in the publication. Yet recently, she has admitted her
involvement - claiming, however, that her position was insignificant, though
it was listed as second highest on the masthead. She furthermore remained on
the publication for the next three years and attributed the editorial to a
It is no excuse to say that, at the time, she might not have known that bin
Laden advocated terrorism. In July 1999, when the piece was published, bin
Laden had already issued a fatwa urging his followers to "kill the Americans
and their allies - civilians and military" and proclaimed such murderous
acts to be "an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country
in which it is possible to do it."
Hence, even if one believed Lekovic's story - which seems at best dubious -
clearly the DHS should not be funding her to speak on America's college
When the Pathways program is not advancing radical Islamists, it busies
itself by objecting to those who encourage moderate Islam. When director of
the Middle East Forum Daniel Pipes spoke at Tufts, he urged Muslims to
"redeem their religion and to put it back on a proper footing" from
extremists who hijack Islam to promote their political cause. And what was
Pathways' response? A protest.
In truth, it should not be too surprising that Pathways has gone so astray.
One of the facilitators of Pathways, Najiba Akbar, was quoted in he New York
Times as saying, "I am Muslim first, not even American Muslim. Because so
much of the American culture is directly in conflict with my values as a
Muslim, I can't identify solely as an American, or even as an American
Muslim." Akbar has given no indication that she has since changed her views.
And she was hired to promote interfaith dialogue by a DHS-funded initiative?
The Tufts case, unfortunately, seems to be only an example of what is
happening around the country. Government funds at other universities are
supporting Islamist sympathizers elsewhere.
When Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke at Columbia University
earlier this year, one of America's most prestigious universities implied
that his views have academic merit. Additionally, Hezbollah supporter and
Holocaust denier Norman Finkelstein maintained a certain amount of undue
credibility thanks to the support he received from DePaul University. And
New Black Panther leader Malik Shabazz recently spewed anti-Semitic vitriol
at Carnegie Mellon University.
Each of these universities - Tufts included - receives government funds in
some capacity. Is it too much to suggest that such universities be more
mindful of who speaks on campus? And to propose that government monies fund
- either directly or indirectly - moderates instead of extremist,
These individuals are uncompromising extremists who are not really
interested in dialogue. By inviting such extremists to speak at Tufts, the
Pathways program gives them stature and publicity; moreover, such dialogue
leads Muslims away from accepting American values like human rights and
freedom for all. Moderation and dialogue are laudable goals, but the
Pathways program works against them.
Indeed, it is by talking with the wrong people that we raise their elevation
in their own communities - thus promoting a particular form of extremism at
home, instead of the much needed moderation that those like Pipes aim to
Daniel Halper is a junior majoring in political science. (F)AIR USE NOTICE:
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