Federal prosecutors have moved to seize the assets of a Manhattan-based Islamic charity that, they say, has been an illegal front for the government of Iran for decades.
Besides considerable real-estate holdings around the country — including a 36-story Fifth Avenue office tower — the Alavi Foundation's "assets" appear to include major departments at a couple of prestigious local universities.
As The Post's Isabel Vincent reported last month, the foundation, whose holdings top $100 million, donated $100,000 to Columbia University shortly before it agreed to host a controversial appearance by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and another $50,000 after.
Between 2005 and 2005, the foundation also contributed $351,600 to the Persian-language program at Rutgers.
Both schools, it should be noted, employ professors well-known for anti-Israeli views, as well as sympathies for the Iranian regime and for terrorist groups.
Professors like Hooshang Amirahmadi, director of Rutgers' Center for Middle Eastern Studies, who claims that "Iran has not been involved in any terrorist organization" and that "neither Hezbollah nor Hamas are terrorist organizations."
Or Hamid Dabashi, a professor of Iranian studies at Columbia, who has written that "the Iraqi resistance, the Palestinians [and Hezbollah]" are resisting "the American empire." He has also written that Israel "must be dismantled."
Little wonder that the Iranian government willingly spends thousands to bolster such academics.
None of this should surprise: Columbia has long been accused (rightly, in our view) of widespread anti-Israeli bias, outright bullying of pro-Israeli students and academic dishonesty and intimidation.
As Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute noted, "This is all about Iran laundering its policies through academe."
Too bad prosecutors can't seize the Iran-funded departments. But if the universities value their self-respect, they should return the tainted money.