Natana-J.-DeLong-Bas

December 3, 2013

Georgetown’s Interfaith Sham

Georgetown University’s Saudi-funded interfaith center is in hot water. A speaking engagement with an Egyptian Nazi was cancelled but Islamists need not worry: Muslim Brotherhood supporters and 9/11 Truthers are still welcome, as is a senior Obama Administration official allied with the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.

The Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding is led by Dr. John Esposito, arguably the strongest non-Muslim defender of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood network. It receives significant Saudi funding, such as a $20 million donation in 2005.

On November 21, it held its 20th annual conference themed, “Muslim-Christian Relations in the 21stCentury: Challenges and Opportunities.” The chairman of the first panel was Natana DeLong-Bas, a known 9/11 Truther.

She said in 2006, “I do not find any evidence that would make me agree that Osama Bin Laden was behind the attack on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.” She is also a defender of Wahhabism, one of the most tyrannical practices of Islam, and disagrees that it bears responsibility for inspiring the 9/11 attacks.

DeLong-Bas also says that the Hamas terrorist group is a better promoter of democracy and human rights in the Middle East than the U.S. government. She says American efforts do “not rise to the level of what Hamas has achieved,” complimenting their work in health care and education.

One of the speakers on her panel was Dalia Mogahed, a former senior advisor to President Obama. She is the Executive Director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies.

She has been described as possibly “the most influential figure guiding the Obama Administration’s Middle East oureach.” One of the reasons she supports the Syrian rebels is because Bashar Assad “cannot deliver…resistance to Israel.”

She and Esposito authored the 2007 paper that downplayed the extent of extremist beliefs in the Muslim world. She spoke at the 34th annual convention of the Islamic Circle of North America and was booked as a speaker for 15th annual fundraiser for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

She said in 2008 that the criticism of groups like CAIR is part of a “concerted effort to silence, you know, institution-building among Muslims. And the way to do it is [to] malign these groups. And it’s kind of a witch hunt.” She also believes that “[Islamophobia] presents a grave danger to America as a whole.”

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim congressman, was invited to speak on the panel but did not attend. He is a close friend of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood network. His pilgrimage to Mecca was sponsored by the Muslim American Society.

The Center also scheduled an event on December 5 named “Egypt and the Struggle for Democracy.” It isdelayed to January 30 because of delays in getting visas for some Egyptian speakers.

Balance isn’t the event’s objective. None of the speakers are opponents of the Muslim Brotherhood. Mogahed and Rep. Ellison are both scheduled to speak.

The Washington Free Beacon pointed out that most of the other speakers are known supporters of the Brotherhood. For example, Dr. AbdulMawgoud Dardery is a former member of Egypt’s parliament for the Brotherhood. Wael Haddara used to be a top aide to Mohammed Morsi and Mohamed Abbas is a Brotherhood backer.

The speaker representing Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority was Ramy Jan, a member of the country’s Nazi Party. He is a Brotherhood supporter that leads Christians Against the Coup. No segment of Egyptian society is more anti-Islamist than the Christians, but that’s not the impression you’d get from the event.

He was disinvited after attention was brought to his background. Esposito pleads ignorance.

Georgetown University has a history of affiliations with Islamists.

It was discovered two years ago that in 2006-2007, the Organization of the Islamic Conference plotted to fund the Center with $325,000 to put on an event about “Islamophobia.” The international organization is pushing hard for laws that restrict freedom of speech to stop alleged anti-Muslim sentiment. The money was to be routed through CAIR, specifically its executive director, Nihad Awad.

The Muslim chaplain of Georgetown University is Imam Yahya Hendi. In 2003, he testified on behalf of Sami al-Arian, who was convicted for being a leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group. He stated that suicide bombings are permissible under Islam during his questioning.

The Center’s conferences often bring together Islamists from around the world. It has also jointly sponsored events with the International Institute for Islamic Thought, a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity.

One of the Center’s Common Word Fellows is Louay Safi, the Executive Director of IIIT from 1995 to 1997 and the IIIT Director of Research from 1999 to 2003. He was also the President of the Associaiton of Muslim Social Scientists from 1999 to 2003, another U.S. Muslim Brotherhood front that shares an address with IIIT.

Safi was also the Director of Leadership Development for the Islamic Society of North America. He was designated an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial of Sami Al-Arian. He is also intimately involved with Syrian Islamists.

In 1988, the FBI had a spy inside the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood network that explicitly warned about the IIIT’s plans to infiltrate the U.S. government and universities to “institute the Islamic Revolution in America.” A Clarion Project research report shows that IIIT has had success in this endeavor.

The recent reporting on Georgetown University’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding shows that the Muslim Brotherhood never quit its plan to influence American academia.

This article was originally published at FrontPageMag.com


  • John

    I was at Georgetown when it accepted the gift in 2005, and I was unhappy that we accepted money rejected by other American institutions who were, I believe, more thoughtful about its implications. But while you raise some issues that deserve concern–Natana DeLong-Bas and the disinvited speaker Ramy Jan have said enough objectionable things that their invitations were unwise–most of this article is also unwise. No one reading this article closely will come away fearing the thoughts of John Esposito, Dalia Mogahed, or Rep. Ellison. Many, many papers in 2007, and since, have downplayed the extent of extremism in the Muslim world. Islamophobia is a real, and a harmful thing. (Though the point is allowed that it’s safer to be Muslim in America than Christian in, say, Egypt.) And it is plainly obvious that no one has had success in the endeavor of instituting Islamic Revolution in America. This article is painting with too broad a brush to be useful. But more relevantly to juicyecumenism, it is pastorally unwise. I, like many, am very open to the possibility that the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding is willing to overlook problematic issues in Islamism, but a) there is nothing wrong with talking politics (or religion) with Islamists, and b) it is best to give your opponents the same intellectual care that you would want to receive from them. Not to do so leaves Christians open to charges of hypocrisy.