Recently, two Muslim New Yorkers—Wesam (Khalid) El-Hanafi and Sabirhan (Tareq) Hasanoff were arrested in Dubai by federal authorities for swearing allegiance and providing technical and material support to Al Qaeda. Federal prosecutors accused El-Hanafi of trying to start his own "mini Al-Qaeda cell" and he was caught with seven Casio watches, which are the preferred bomb timers for Al Qaeda. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Southern District of New York, [Indictment: PDF] Hasanoff received $50,000 from Al Qaeda and advised an Al Qaeda member how to use his passport to avoid detection by authorities.
El-Hanafi was born in Brooklyn to an Egyptian family. Hasanoff came to New York from Australia (judging from his surname, he is either from north Caucasus or Central Asia). Like the alleged perpetrator of the Ft. Hood massacre, Nidal Hasan, and the alleged Time Square bomber, Faisal Shahzad, both El-Hanafi and Hasanoff were middle-class graduates of American universities.
El-Hanafi and Hasanoff both attended CUNY Baruch College, which happens to be my alma mater. !" [VDARE.COM note: Baruch is a public college, with no religious affiliation, part of CUNY. It is named for 1889 alumnus Bernard Baruch.] Baruch College prides itself on providing a low-cost, but high-quality education, primarily in the fields of finance, accounting, and management. The College's motto is: "The American Dream still works
El-Hanafi's and Hasanoff's understanding of the American Dream was apparently to earn enough money to help Al Qaeda kill Americans. After graduating in 1998, El-Hanafi worked for Lehman Bros. Hasanoff landed a job at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Main Stream Media outlets that reported the story were surprised that successful young professionals would abandon their careers and move to the Middle-East to help Al Qaeda. (For example, "The emergence of educated, well-paid professionals allegedly turning to homegrown terrorism may mark a shift from disenfranchised, low-income radicals to a new class of criminal." [Brooklyn men busted in Dubai may be new faces of terror: experts, By Alison Gendar and Samuel Goldsmith, New York Daily News, May 2, 2010])
But as someone who attended Baruch College, I was not surprised at all.
Compared to most other American universities, Baruch may seem like a bastion of conservatism because of its emphasis on business and because of the large number of Russian-speaking students. However, many of the classes I took were permeated with an atmosphere of anti-American feeling. This anti-Americanism emanated almost exclusively from students of Third World origin—both U.S. citizens and international students.
I remember the howls of outrage from my classmates that greeted my suggestion that Al Qaeda terrorists captured in Afghanistan did not deserve the full rights of American citizens, but should be treated like German and Japanese soldiers captured by the U.S. during World War II. Several of my foreign-born classmates yelled that my own U.S. citizenship should be revoked and I "should go back to Russia".
A Jamaican student then launched a tirade claiming that this country was "built on racism and oppression". She asserted that every white American (even a relatively recent arrival like me) is responsible for slavery and every form of oppression. She unashamedly stated that reverse discrimination in the form of racial quotas was required to atone for all the evil acts of white Americans.
The professor looked on approvingly during this pathetic outburst and then suggested that we read Howard Zinn's pseudo-scholarship in order to get a good understanding of American history.
In another class, a Pakistani-American student confided in me that neither Pakistanis nor Pakistani-Americans believe that "Osama" was responsible for September 11: "We all think the U.S. government did it". The same student lamented the fact that it is not acceptable to beat one's wife in America.
Both current U.S. immigration policy and the anti-Americanism of the academia are responsible for this emerging phenomenon of Islamic terrorists with American college degrees. Tens of thousands of people from countries with strong Islamist terror networks enter the U.S. through the F-1 student visa granted to international students in American colleges and universities. In 2008, 8038 "international students" entered America from Saudi Arabia; 2377 from Nigeria; 1783 from Malaysia; 1768 from Indonesia; 1107 from Pakistan; 819 from UAE and over 500 each from Egypt and Lebanon. Even if we assume that only half of one percent of these students are Al Qaeda members or active sympathizers, it still means there are about eighty of them. That is four times more than the nineteen hijackers of 9-11.
Undoubtedly, most Americans would be outraged if they knew that thousands of young Saudi men are entering this country every year. (Indeed, the F-1 statistics are—unsurprisingly—not posted on the State Department site. I encountered them by chance at an information website for immigrants.)
The alleged Time Square bomber, Faisal Shahzad entered this country on an F-1 visa. He studied at Southeastern University (which closed last year) and the University of Bridgeport. While attending the latter, Shahzad vented his fury at America and praised the 9-11 murderers in a rambling email. Interestingly, this militancy did not prevent him from going to New York City every weekend to drink and party.
Both of the schools Shahzad attended were cash-strapped and depended on an influx of international students to stay afloat. The potential dangers of these students to America were willfully ignored by the schools' administrators. If anything, these administrators gush over the fact that so many international students are entering their schools. After all, to the liberal American academia, diversity is our greatest strength—a panacea for all of this country's real and imagined problems.
At the same time, many American professors, especially those that teach social sciences, are consumed by a scathing dislike of their own country. I have heard professors berate America (especially Middle America) countless times and lament the fact that we are not "more like the Europeans, who figured things out a long time ago".
I also noticed that liberal professors are eager to insult and make fun of Christianity and Judaism but never criticize Islam or its adherents. Some of my professors railed against Christian "intolerance" and berated Orthodox Jews for "mistreating women". But at the same time, no mention of Islamic terrorism, oppression or intolerance was ever made.
In this kind of atmosphere, it is not at all surprising that a Muslim student would be radicalized. Even though Shahzad, Hasanoff, and El-Hanafi were business and science majors, they would have been required to take at least one social science course to graduate and the chances are they would be exposed to the anti-American rants of a leftist professor.
So both our immigration policy and the anti-American views of a large number of our professors make it possible for Islamic terrorists to obtain higher education in this country. But, obviously, it is extremely hard to prevent American academia from being so anti-American. This would require a total change in the attitudes of thousands of professors that could only come about through some radical change in society's mores.
However, we can impose a complete moratorium on F-1 visas for residents of countries with a substantial presence of Islamic terror groups.
If the Republicans succeed in taking back the Congress this November, an F-1 moratorium should be one of their key proposals.
All of the anti-terrorism measures of this and the last administrations amount to nothing if we still admit tens of thousands of prospective Al Qaeda members every year and provide schooling for them in our colleges and universities.
Eugene Girin [email him] immigrated legally from the Republic of Moldova in 1994 at the age of 10. He has been published by VDARE.COM, Front Page Magazine, and other websites.