Qatar is ‘waging influence operations’ across US education system: Legal organization

A man walks at an empty campus green at Georgetown University in Washington, US, April 3, 2020. (Reuters)

Qatar has spent at least $1.5 billion on universities in the United States since 2012 in the form of “monetary gifts and contracts,” in order to “exert influence” across the American education system to promote political Islam, said the Lawfare Project, a non-profit American legal group, in a memorandum sent to the US State Department.

“For years, the government of Qatar has been financing an extensive influence operation in America. By funding think tanks, activist organizations, mosques – and now American universities and education programs – the influence operation has engaged in political activities that benefit Qatar while inculcating virulent anti-Semitism that continues to spread in American society,” the group said in the memorandum.

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It stated that Qatar has given approximately $1.5 billion to 28 universities in the US through the Qatar National Research Fund and its parent organization the Qatar Foundation (QF) which also spent almost $405 million a year to cover the expenses of six American universities which opened campuses in Qatar.

The US-based subsidiary of QF, Qatar Foundation International (QFI), has also spent more than $30 million in funding for public schools’ programs.

The group said: “This infiltration, funded and organized through QF and QFI, has turned American universities and primary and secondary school teachers into de facto agents of the Qatari government, conveying its political (and anti-Semitic) views to students and the general population without any acknowledgment of the origins of these views."

The legal group claimed that Qatar was violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), which requires any person or entity in the US receiving funding from a “foreign principal” to register with the office of the US Attorney General.

The act is meant to “ensure that the US government and the people of the United States are informed of the source of information (propaganda) and the identity of persons attempting to influence US public opinion, policy, and laws.”

The group said: “Qatar is a top supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood (including its Palestinian wing) and terrorist groups like Hamas and al-Qaeda affiliates, among others. Al-Jazeera, one of the most influential Islamist extremist propaganda outlets in the world, is essentially an arm of the Qatari government.”

The Lawfare Project is concerned that Qatar has control and influence over American education.

The memorandum, obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, concluded that QFI, the American universities which received Qatari funding, and professors and teachers who use QFI-approved curricula must register as foreign agents under FARA.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:54 - GMT 06:54
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