Cinnamon Stillwell

I’m the West Coast Representative for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum that focuses on Middle East studies. I was a political columnist for SFGate.com (San Francisco Chronicle online) from 2004-2008. I've written for the American Thinker, Frontpage Magazine, Family Security Matters, Accuracy In Media, Newsbusters, Israel National News, The Jewish Policy Center, J-The Jewish News Weekly of N. CA, Intellectual Conservative and many others. More info at CinnamonStillwell.com.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Why Saudi Prince Bin Talal Funds Middle East Studies in America

Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal--million dollar benefactor of Middle East studies programs at Harvard University, Georgetown University, and beyond--spoke at Harvard this past Wednesday. The prince touts himself as a model of liberalism in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia--in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, he advocated for reform among Middle Eastern monarchies in response to the demands of the "Arab Spring"--and he has always claimed that his funding for Middle East studies in the U.S. springs from nothing more than a desire to promote cross-cultural understanding.
Yet, as the following excerpt from this Harvard Crimson article reveals, the underlying reason for his largesse likely has more to do with promoting a positive image of Islam in the West. Hence the whitewashing of Islamic history that routinely occurs in the programs he funds and via the professors, such as Georgetown's John Esposito and Harvard's Ali Asani (both are quoted in the article) whom he has tapped to direct them:
For Alwaleed, the donations were intended to promote an international dialogue between Islamic nations and the West, according to Asani. The initiative began as an effort to combat Islamophobia after September 11.

'The whole idea behind these centers is to bridge gaps and bring people closer together. In the end, it’s about breaking misconceptions,' said Nadia H. Bakhurji, secretary general of the Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundation. 'Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how much publicity we do, in the end, there is such an anti-campaign against Islam in general in the world.'
Cross-posted from the Campus Watch blog and Facebook page.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Harvard's Middle East Outreach Center: Propaganda for Teachers

In an article written for Campus Watch and appearing at American Thinker, journalist Stephen Schwartz takes a detailed look at Harvard University's Center for Middle Eastern Studies Outreach Center, which provides incredibly biased and shoddy teaching materials for K-12 teachers, and its relationship to Georgetown University's Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding:

In 2005, Saudi prince Alwaleed Bin Talal donated $20 million dollars each to Harvard and Georgetown Universities. In the years since, Georgetown has earned considerably more press for its use of the prince's largesse, through which it renamed an extant center founded in 1993 as the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU). This is due in no small part to the efforts of the center's director, John Louis Esposito, America's foremost apologist for ultra-fundamentalist Wahhabi Islam. The result of the Saudi-Esposito lash-up has been the emergence of ACMCU as an academic institution that promotes vigorously the "Palestinian narrative" and hostility to Israel.

Harvard's Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program has developed at a much slower pace, and as a result, it has received considerably less media attention. . . . Harvard also runs a Center for Middle East Studies (CMES), which includes an Outreach Center directed by one Paul Beran. The Outreach Center has been "awarded National Resource Center status by the US Department of Education's Title VI program and serves educators, students and the general public on topics related to the Middle East region."

To read the entire article, please click here.

Cross-posted from the Campus Watch blog.