Qatar has run successful, well-financed influence operations in the West for years, including in academe, where it is now the largest foreign donor to American universities. Academics and administrators could refuse this largess, which always comes with the expectation that Qatar's Wahabbi interests will be represented. In the case of many Middle East studies professors, money isn't the only consideration (although it surely gets their attention). They already agree with the aims of Qatar's propaganda, which among other things advances the fiction that "Islamophobia" is rampant in the West. Counter-Islamist Grid Fellow Ahnaf Kalam reported on a recent instance of this mutual understanding at the New English Review's Iconoclast:
In February, the College of Islamic Studies at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) in Doha, Qatar, hosted a panel titled "Global Islamophobia: Understanding its Roots, Challenging its Impact." It was a fitting venue for a misinformation campaign based on the weaponized term "Islamophobia," coined not to advance debate but to end it. Emad El-Din Shahin, interim provost and dean of the host College, is a member of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood sentenced to death in absentia in Cairo.
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