Phi Beta Cons

DHS Funding Islamist Sympathizers?

This article (from the Tufts University Daily) raises some legitimate questions about Department of Homeland Security grants to universities. Here’s its most serious charge:

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.” . . . 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.

I could go either way on this. Yes, Lekovic was part of a publication that defended Osama bin Laden — that merits investigation. But there’s no indication that she wrote or could veto the piece, which ran in 1999 — almost a decade ago, and before 9/11. Few people would defend every belief they held in 1999, much less every idea in an entire publication from that year.

But the broader criticism of Pathways has merit, especially considering that the group receives “homeland security” funds:

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 the 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.”

Daniel Pipes has more.

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