If they take their money, they will echo their line and advance their agenda. “A $2-million gift that UWO might want to turn down,” by Barbara Kay in the National Post, May 13:
For various reasons, some good, many Western universities are keen to establish Islamic Studies programs. And for various other reasons, the same is true of Islamist organizations -which tend toward a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam. To this end, with a professed goal of fostering “understanding” of Islam, the latter offer hefty financial endowments to universities.
Some critics worry that such a scenario may be in progress at Huron University College, an affiliate of University of Western Ontario (UWO). Huron offers post-baccalaureate and professional degree programs in theology. The College recently accepted a $2-million endowment for a new Chair in Islamic Studies within the College’s historically Anglican Faculty of Theology. About half the money is to come via fundraising facilitated by the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC), and the other, matching half from the Virginia-based International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT). A cofounder of the latter group was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2007-2008 trial of Sami al-Arian, an Islamist academic linked to jihadism.
On April 5, 26 self-identified “alumni, friends and faculty” of the university signed on to a letter written by UWO associate professor of economics John Palmer, protesting acceptance of the endowment (Google “electecon, islamic chair” for the full text of the letter). In it, Palmer contends that although MAC and IIIT claim they are moderate and democratic organizations, their approach is influenced by Imam Hassan Al-Banna, founder and even decades after his death still ideological guru of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), who, according to the MAC website, “best exemplifies [a] balanced, comprehensive understanding of Islam.”
In Egypt and elsewhere, the Muslim Brotherhood often presents itself as tolerant in its outlook. Yet it has radical roots. A 1991 memorandum written by one member of the Muslim Brotherhood Shura Council proposed that Muslim settlement in Canada and the United States be viewed as a “‘Civilization-Jihadist Process,’ with all the word means. The Ikhwan [MB] must understand that their work in America is kind of a grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house.” To my knowledge, neither principals of MAC nor of IIIT have ever distanced themselves from or denounced this pernicious statement….