A new report delineates how Qatar, the largest foreign donor to U.S. universities, uses its enormous financial resources to influence what the report calls the “organizations, institutions and mechanisms that are being used by the Qatari paymaster to manipulate Western democracies.”
“Islamism developed in Qatar between the 1960s and 1980s, and it was influenced by the writings of significant Muslim Brotherhood (MB) scholars/ideologues such as Sayyid Qutb,” states the report from the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy titled, “Networks of Hate: Qatari Paymasters, Soft Power and the Manipulation of Democracy.” “A group of Muslim Brotherhood members gradually re-developed strategies, and started thinking in terms of ‘human rights’ and ‘civil society’ for its proselytizing (da’wah) system.”
“Qatar supported the activist, political and ‘civilian’ structures of Arab and Islamist non-state actors—especially those affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, some of which were designated terrorists by the United States for their ties to Hamas and other terror groups around the world,” the report continues.
The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), established in 2005, has estimated total assets of between $500 billion and $1 trillion. It has invested in the Empire State Building, Plaza Hotel, and St. Regis Hotel in New York City, and, according to a 2022 publication by the US-Qatar Business Council, plans to invest $45 billion into the United States market.
The Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (Qatar Foundation, “QF”) was a non-profit organization established in 1995 but later changed its status to a “private institution for public benefit,” the report states. “This shift signifies that the QF could now identify itself as a private organization without any restrictions tied to a governmental entity, while the Emir of Qatar retains ownership. Therefore, Qatar was given the ability to mask state funding as private sector giving,” the report explains.
“At the time of writing, the State of Qatar contributes more funds to universities in the United States than any other country in the world … as ISGAP has exposed on numerous occasions, billions of USD are being donated to higher education without being declared as funding from Qatar by universities,” the report alleges.
“Collaboration on joint projects between different U.S. universities utilizing foreign companies—including Spain—to transfer money from Qatar into various universities,” the report continues. “Notably, evidence indicates that the Spanish energy company, Iberdrola, and its American subsidiary, Avangrid, were utilized as conduits to indirectly channel Qatari money into partnerships with U.S. universities without proper disclosure.”
“It is important to note that when Hamas was created, it designated itself as “one of the wings of Moslem Brotherhood in Palestine (sic),” the report states. “Qatar has provided a safe haven for Hamas’ political leadership since 2012. In January 2015, then-Qatari Foreign Minister referred to then-Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshaal as the country’s “dear guest.”
“ISGAP’s research has found that universities continuously fail to adequately report significant financial sums that are granted to universities. In fact, millions of Qatari funds were omitted from mandatory disclosures,” the report states. “This violates Section 117 of the HEA, and is symptomatic a Qatari pattern to resist calls for transparency around university funding.”
“Another method in which Qatar can transfer funds without reporting is by utilizing foreign companies to transfer money from Qatar into various universities,” the report says. “For example, funds were transferred to Yale University through Iberdrola and its subsidiary Avangrid. Additionally, Santander Bank was involved in channeling funds to different faculties to support collaborative study programs with QF.”
“Qatar gains faculty advocacy for pro-Qatari perspectives on campus. Indeed, academics are ultimately incentivized to incorporate pro-Qatari advocacy into their syllabi,” the report adds. “Thus, Qatar is seemingly able to normalize its ideological imprint on American classrooms. This would seem to constitute inappropriate foreign pedagogical interference, masked by superficial academic engagement. “
The report suggests that Congressional hearings “should be convened to fully understand the impact of Qatar’s aggressive investment strategies and assess their influence on Western democratic values and potential security implications,” and an investigation should be launched into universities that take funds from Qatar and an assessment should be made to “assess the impact on education and curriculum, scholarship, and discourse.”
“Is this a cause of the explosion of antisemitism in higher education that has placed Jewish students and faculty in difficulties?” the report asks.