For the deaths of thousands of innocent Americans and other victims of Islamist terrorism around the world, we can partly thank money-grubbing, diversity-seeking college officials right here in the U.S.A.
Lower academic standards at an American college helped newly captured al Qaeda mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed acquire the tools of the terrorist trade. In the early 1980s, he enrolled at tiny Chowan College in Murfreesburo, N.C. Why there? Because, as the Los Angeles Times reported in a recent Mohammed profile: “Chowan did not require the standardized English proficiency exam then widely mandated for international students. Foreign enrollees often spent a semester or two at Chowan, improved their English and transferred to four-year universities. By 1984, Chowan had a sizable contingent of Middle Easterners.”
Chowan College’s website now says that international students must score a minimum 500 (out of 677) on the standardized written Test of English as a Foreign Language. But it is still typical at many colleges and universities that accept large numbers of full-tuition-paying foreign students to waive the minimum English-proficiency requirement if students agree to take English as a Second Language courses on campus or an approved institutions (another nice boondoggle).
At Chowan, Mohammed bonded with other Arab Muslim foreign students known as “The Mullahs” for their religious zeal. Alumni say “The Mullahs” kept to themselves and shunned their American counterparts. So much for the vaunted diversity benefits of cultural exchange (“We take great pride in the wonderful relationships developed with our international students,” crows Chowan’s Office of Enrollment Services.)
Mohammed then transferred to North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, where he earned his degree in mechanical engineering along with 30 other Muslims. Also studying engineering at North Carolina A&T at the time was Mazen Al-Najjar, the brother-in-law of indicted University of South Florida professor and suspected Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist fundraiser Sami Al-Arian.
While in North Carolina, Khalid Mohammed may have had contact with Ali A. Mohamed, another key bin Laden operative who enrolled at an officer-training course for green berets at Fort Bragg in 1981 and gathered intelligence for al Qaeda as a U.S. Army sergeant before being convicted of participating in the African-embassy bombing plot.
According to intelligence officials, Mohammed applied his American education to organize the 1993 World Trade Center bombing plot (six Americans dead), the U.S.S. Cole attack (17 American soldiers dead), and the September 11 attacks (3,000 dead). He has also been linked to the 1998 African-embassy bombings (212 dead, including 12 Americans), the plot to kill the pope, the murder last year of American journalist Daniel Pearl, and the Bali nightclub bomb blast last fall that killed nearly 200 tourists last fall, including two more Americans.
Elite U.S. colleges and universities continue to help train students from America’s most hostile enemy countries. Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Sudan — all official state sponsors of terrorism — sent nearly 10,000 students to the U.S. on academic visas between 1991 and 1996 alone. In the 2000-2001 school year, Mohammed’s native Kuwait sent a total of 3,045 undergraduate, graduate, post-graduate, and other students to the U.S. His adopted homeland, Pakistan, sent nearly 7,000 students here. Osama bin Laden’s native Saudi Arabia sent more than 5,000 students. Mohamed Atta’s native Egypt sent nearly 2,300.
Between 1989 and 1995, nearly 100 Middle Easterners paid bribes to community-college teachers and administrators in San Diego — the home base for at least two September 11 hijackers — in exchange for counterfeit admission papers and grades, which allowed them to get student visas. The mastermind of the scheme, Iranian-American businessman Sam Koutchesfahani, pled guilty to visa fraud in 1998, along with officials from six colleges. The whereabouts of his “students,” who poured a total of $350,000 into the plot, remain unknown.
Last spring, federal prosecutors cracked down on a student-visa fraud ring involving 130 foreigners accused of paying substitutes to take English-language proficiency exams to meet their visa requirements. Nearly 60 Middle Eastern men and women in 13 states were arrested, including Saudi national Saleh Ali Almari, who was found in possession of flight-training manuals, a bioterrorism textbook, videotapes titled “Incredible Air Disasters” and “Incredible Water Disasters,” and a fake passport issued by Qatar. He came here on a student visa and enrolled at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia, in the fall of 2000, but never took classes. He and eight other students pled guilty to fraud last summer. Most of the rest of the fraud suspects, it was reported this week, have been released on bond.
How many more Khalid Mohammeds have America’s colleges and universities coddled in the name of multiculturalism and profit?
— Michelle Malkin, a syndicated columnist, is author of the recently released Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists, Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores.