London School of Extremism?

The LSE is turning into a breeding ground for anti-Western, anti-democratic zealots and jihadists

by Julia Lenarz on 20 November 2012 11:11

Fair to say – I was warned! Having spent, or rather survived, a year at the London School of Economics, allegedly a centre of academic excellence and impartiality, it is time to admit that the calls for caution were justified.

Last year, the LSE got caught up in a scandal involving significant donations from Gaddafi’s Libya and Saif al- Islam’s controversially obtained PhD.

It was not the first time the LSE had received money from dubious channels. The United Arab Emirates Foundation donated £9million to the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies, and £5.7million was given to the school by the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences in 2007.

The recent Libyan affair, however, was too big to ignore and an independent, external inquiry was set up which looked into the school’s relationship with the Gaddafi regime. Lord Woolf concluded that the LSE's reputation had been “seriously damaged” by the association and Judith Rees, Director at the time, promised to “move on from this unhappy chapter” and to learn lessons from this “grave error of judgement”.

Unfortunately, no lessons have been learned. Over the last year, the LSE played host to the daughter of yet another Middle Eastern dictator: The Emir of Qatar. Leave aside the personal encounters I had with the Sheika – to which my friends cheekily referred to as ‘the clash of civilisation’ – Sheikh Hamad just recently announced a $400 million donation to the Hamas government in Gaza.

The very same terrorist group is attacking Israel right now. Over the last ten days, some sources have claimed that over 1,000 rockets have rained down on Israeli cities and civilians.

Considering such background, it is not hard to understand why anti-Western and anti-Israel feelings are running high in certain circles at the LSE. The backward philosophy of Orientalism has become the dominate narrative. Said and Khalidi fanboyism has become the norm. We are the aggressors; they are the victims. They are freedom fighters; we are occupiers. Their cause is just; ours is not.

It comes as no surprise then that one of my former fellow students yesterday declared a jihad against Israel on his public Facebook wall, followed by one of his friend calling for a second Holocaust.

The LSE has become a place where anti-Semitic hate preachers, such as Palestinian Abdel Bari Atwan, are free to spill their poisonous ideology, while Douglas Murray gets disinvited for “security reasons”. It has become an institution where Professors tell their students that the West “misunderstands jihad” and that the “Bush administration is the most radicalised government” one can possibly think of.

A core value of each and every university must be the discouragement and attachment to every kind of intellectual and ideological bias or dogma. The LSE, however, is turning into a breeding ground for anti-Western, anti-Israeli, anti-democratic zealots and jihadists. 

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