Feds probe whether Northwestern University teams with terror-linked Qatari orgs to educate students

Since 2012, the prestigious university has accepted $340 million from the Qatar Foundation

Updated: July 29, 2020 - 9:39am

The Education Department is investigating Northwestern University's financial ties to the Qatari government and a regime-backed foundation linked to acts of terrorism.

Since 2012, the university has accepted close to $340 million in funding from the Qatar Foundation, a nonprofit organization with terrorist ties.

The U.S. government technically requires institutions of higher learning to disclose foreign donations exceeding $250,000, though they rarely abide by that rule. Beginning in late July, the Education Department will require universities to disclose all foreign gifts via a new online portal system. 

In 2008, Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism partnered with controversial media outlet Al Jazeera, which has previously been accused of sympathizing with terror organizations including al Qaeda and Hamas, in addition to the Muslim Brotherhood and the Iranian regime. 

A branch of Northwestern's well-respected journalism school was erected in Doha, Qatar, at the behest of the Qatar Foundation. Through its partnership with Al Jazeera, the university abroad has formed a joint education and research program. 

The Doha campus is located in close proximity to a notoriously radical Qatar Foundation-backed mosque, where preachers have joked about subjects including the 9/11 attacks and massacre at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris. 

The campus also employs associate professor of journalism and strategic communication Justin Martin, who was previously paid $1.4 million by the Qatari government to produce a study on "Media Use in the Middle East," that minimized the impact of terrorism in the West. He is also an adamant supporter of the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which Northwestern University has publicly denounced. 

The influence of foreign money on U.S. institutions of higher learning is an issue to which the Department of Education is paying heightened attention. Outsized donations from middle eastern countries including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates have flooded college campuses in recent years, in addition to funds from Russia, China, and Turkey. None of these countries share similar values with the United States when it comes to education and western ideas, so the funding, according to the Department of Education, is worthy of some note and inspection.