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Department of Homeland Security's funds bring Islamist sympathizers to Tufts

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  • Beowulf
    Department of Homeland Security s funds bring Islamist sympathizers to Tufts By: Daniel Halper
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 31, 2008
      Department of Homeland Security's funds bring Islamist sympathizers to Tufts

      By: Daniel Halper


      Posted: 1/31/08

      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
      printing mistake.

      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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