Tag Archive for: UPenn

Elite University Hosting Biden Center Took Money From School That Settled With US Gov’t Over Alleged Hezbollah Ties

The University of Pennsylvania, which hosts the Penn Biden Center, took hundreds of thousands of dollars from the American University of Beirut (AUB) in 2022, roughly five years after AUB paid a settlement to the United States government in connection with its alleged ties to Hezbollah, a U.S.-designated terror organization.

UPenn received $474,947 from AUB in 2022, with the donations earmarked as “Education/Tuition/Scholarship,” according to a 2021-2022 foreign gift disclosure obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request. AUB settled a lawsuit with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan, paying $700,000 and promising to revise its policies, following a suit alleging the university assisted organizations linked to Hezbollah, Reuters reported.

Hezbollah is an Iranian-backed terror organization that has attacked U.S. and Israeli embassies, was implicated in the assignation of a Lebanese prime minister and has carried out suicide bombings, according to the Council on Foreign Relations. The United States designated Hamas as a foreign terrorist organization in 1997, according to the State Department.

Federal prosecutors said that AUB admitted to training members of al Nour Radio and al Manar TV, media outlets designated by the U.S. Treasury Department as branches of Hezbollah in 2006. “Al Manar and al Nour are the media arms of the Hizballah terrorist network and have facilitated Hizballah’s activities,” a press release from the Treasury Department reads.

“Hizballah” is an alternative way to transliterate “Hezbollah.”

The media organizations solicited donations for Hezbollah, aided in the terrorist group’s recruitment efforts and had their budgets managed and overseen by the secretary general of Hezbollah, according to the Treasury Department.

Prosecutors also said that AUB connected students to Jihad al-Binaa, a construction company the Treasury Department says was “formed and operated by Hizballah.”

AUB provided video production and blogging training to representatives of terrorist-linked groups alongside journalists, Reuters reported.

Some American universities have partnered with Israeli-designated terror organizations or had ties with Palestinian colleges that released pro-Hamas statements. Nonprofits financed by George Soros paid out millions to fund a partnership between Bard College and a Palestinian university that praised Hamas the day after the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks, law schools encouraged their students to work at organizations deemed to be terrorists by the Israeli government and Georgia State University cut ties with a college in the West Bank after the Daily Caller News Foundation reported on it praising deceased Hamas terrorists.

The University of Pennsylvania didn’t refer to Hamas as a terrorist group following the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks until after a prominent donor said his family would cut off financial support to the university.

UPenn received millions in donations from Chinese donors tied to Hunter Biden.

The Penn Biden Center, established on Feb. 8, 2018, in honor of now-President Joe Biden, exists to “convene world leaders, develop and advance smart policy, and strengthen the national debate for continued American global leadership in the 21st century,” according to its website.

While UPenn received money from Chinese donors linked to the president’s son and AUB, there is no way to know whether that money funded the Penn Biden Center.

The University of Pennsylvania and AUB did not respond to the DCNF’s requests for comment.




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UPenn Professor Rejects Islamic Supremacism by Andrew Harrod


Amel Mili

“We don’t only want to be Muslim and eradicate anything before or after,” stated the University of Pennsylvania’s Lauder Arabic Language and Culture Program Director Amel Mili about the historical Muslim conquest of her native Tunisia. She and a fellow Tunisian offered a refreshing rebuttal of the hackneyed Islamic supremacist dogmas dominating Middle East studies at a conference in Washington, DC earlier this month.

Mili addressed a small breakout panel at the Policy Studies Organization’s Middle East Dialogue 2017. Her lecture examining a 1982 Tunisian court decision denying a woman her inheritance on the basis of sharia law shed light on the difficulty of reinterpreting Islamic scriptures for the modern world.

During audience questioning, Mili focused on Tunisia’s uniquely cosmopolitan culture within the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. “In Tunisia, so far, we have this global approach of history. I am happy, even if it was through colonization, that I had the chance, for example, to master the French language and the French culture.” In post-panel communications, she added that in Tunisian history, “French language bears the ideas of equality, democracy, human rights, etc.”

Mili confirmed the sentiments of a Tunisian woman in the audience who described how in Tunisia’s cultural crossroads, “everyone met in that small country, and this is what made the rich aspect” of its “Mediterranean identity.” The “Arab or Islamic invasion” of North Africa beginning in the seventh century is merely one element of Tunisian heritage. Mili reinforced this view by noting that Islam “arrived around the seventh century, but before that we have a history, after that we have a history, and we want all this rich background.”

Tunisia’s historically authentic cultural blend contradicts its Islamic supremacist groups’ fixation on “just this time when the Arabs, they came as invaders like anyone else,” such as French imperialists, Mili pointed out. Tunisia had a “very ancient history before that and after” Islam, but the “big problem is that they don’t want to acknowledge the French history in Tunisia or what was before.” “Islam, yes, it is part of the culture, but it is an element of the culture.” She identified a wider cultural problem in MENA: “To have a different identity than the identity I have” often frightens people.

The aforementioned Tunisian audience member maintained that Tunisia benefited from the deterrent effect of the 2013 overthrow of Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi from the Muslim Brotherhood. “Our Islamists were very smart in evaluating the situation in Egypt specifically. What happened to Morsi, they said, oh gosh, next time is going to be us,” and correspondingly moderated their behavior. This certainly pleased secularists like Mili, who declared that “sharia law is the work of humans; it has nothing divine, even for a believer,” particularly considering that slavery, “in Islam, like any other old doctrine, it was part of it.”  “We need this separation between religion” and state.

Mili and her fellow Tunisian offered a refreshingly non-ideological, reasoned view of their homeland. Tunisians and others can take pride in the region’s complex history and culture, a pride that includes rejecting Islamic supremacism. Other scholars should follow their lead.


Andrew E. Harrod is a freelance researcher and writer who holds a Ph.D. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a J.D. from George Washington University Law School. He is a fellow with the Lawfare Project. Follow him on Twitter at @AEHarrod. This article was sponsored by  Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum.

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