Harvard has long been perceived as America’s premier university, the gold standard in the quest for truth in the market-place of ideas, where scholars of high academic integrity pursue cutting-edge research and assist eager students to develop the analytical skills and critical acumen needed for future leadership.
But that perception bears closer scrutiny, especially since Harvard graduates become a disproportionate percentage of our country’s leaders. Based on a Slate survey of 1,410 prominent Americans, Harvard grads make up 17% of college and university presidents, 12% of people in the executive branch of our federal government, 11% of our judiciary, 10% of our Senate, and 9% of our business leaders. Harvard grads shape the course of America’s future.
Unfortunately, such scrutiny reveals rather unpleasant realities. The present writer’s three previous analyses of Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies, its Middle East outreach center and its John F. Kennedy School of Government document a decade-long drift from academic integrity to the institutionalization of anti-Israel counter-factual and often deeply mendacious pro-Muslim indoctrination, characterized by egregious distortions of history and risible lies about Israel and Jews. But perhaps most astonishing is the Harvard Law School’s promotion of Sharia law as a system of jurisprudence that can, and according to some faculty should, operate alongside of our secular legal system.
The problems and perils of such an endeavor have been discussed in detail. To summarize briefly: Shariah is based upon a Muslim religious ideology that embraces the suppression of women (gender apartheid), the oppression of other religions (religious apartheid), cruel and unusual punishment, the denial of basic western freedoms (speech, thought, conscience, religion, and choice of life partner), and the maintenance of an eternal religious war against non-Muslims until Islam is the only, or at least the supreme, religion on earth. As such, Sharia is incompatible with the social and political values of Western civilization, and radically contrary to its jurisprudence.
None the less, Justice Elena Kagan, then Dean of Harvard Law School, successfully promoted Sharia finance there. Today Harvard boasts three separate programs, all funded by Saudi largesse, devoted to the study and application of Sharia law. Professor Kagan is now a Supreme Court justice.
Still left un-explored is the motivation for Harvard’s unconscionable compromises of its commitment to “veritas.” As the old adage has it: when things don’t make sense, look for the money.
In 2000, the Sheikh Zayed Foundation offered Harvard $2.5 million to create an endowed professorship in Islamic studies at the Harvard Divinity School.
Due to the noxious anti-Jewish, anti-Israel and anti-American nature of the Zayed foundation’s speakers, events, and the extremist causes that it supports, there arose much objection to the gift and to the Divinity School’s creating such a program with Zayed money: but no Harvard administrator or professor publicly criticized the gift. The endowed professorship was withdrawn only because one courageous student, Rachel Lea Fish, mobilized public support against it with an article in the Harvard Crimson.
Ms. Fish alerted the presumably snoozing Harvard community that sheikh Zayed is responsible for his nation’s abysmal human rights record (including, corporal punishment of dissidents, amputations for theft, lack of democracy, and child slave labor in the camel racing industry). She also drew attention to the travesty of an American institution lending credibility to the Zayed Centre, which sponsors events and publications that spew such obscenities as “The Jewish people must obtain human blood so that their clerics can prepare for holiday pastries,” and “The United States was involved in the attacks of September 11, 2001,” and “the truth is that the Jews are the enemies of all nations.” Zayed Centre speakers have also expressed support and encouragement for suicide bombings and other terrorism against Israel, and denied the Holocaust.
When her letter in the Crimson drew no response, she circulated a petition on line which quickly garnered c. 10,000 signatures. Students’ outrage and petition failed to move Harvard administrators, but so deeply embarrassed the Zayed foundation leaders that they decided to rescind the offer.
Then in 2005, during Larry Summers’ presidency, Saudi Prince al-Waleed bin Talal donated $20,000,000 to Harvard to establish the Prince al-Waleed bin Talal Islamic Studies program. Officially bin Talal gave the gift with no strings attached; but some observers worried about indirect influence, especially regarding how Islam and Arab history are taught in U.S. schools.
Their worries may have been well founded.
On September 10, 2006, the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, employer of Stephen Walt of Walt-Mearsheimer infamy, marked the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks by hosting Mohammed Khatami, a former president of Iran. His topic: “Ethics of Tolerance in the Age of Violence.”
His hosts at the Kennedy School surely knew that Khatami presided over the July 9, 1999, crackdown on Tehran University, where hundreds of students were arrested and tortured. Shortly before his invitation to Harvard, he described Hezbollah as “a shining sun which warms up all oppressed Muslims, especially those in Palestine and Lebanon.” His predecessor, the Ayatollah Ruhola Khoumeini, founded Hezbollah in 1983, and Khatami continued to fund and support it. They must have known as well that his country is run in accordance with Sharia law, women’s rights have been curtailed, homosexuals are hanged, and other human rights violations abound.
Then in 2008 Harvard banned men from its three major gyms for six hours every week so that modest Muslim women could use these facilities without male scrutiny. Critics, including Muslim students, condemned this decision as capitulation to radical Islam.
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