New York – New troubling facts have been discovered concerning the background of controversial Brandeis University academic Khalil Shikaki. Shikaki is a Senior Fellow at the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis. He is also Director of the Palestine Center for Policy and Survey Research.
It has now come to our attention that he was a founding Director of the Florida-based World and Islam Studies Enterprise (WISE), which was founded by another controversial academic Sami-al-Arian, who has stood trial for his alleged involvement with the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad. WISE was shut down by Federal authorities because of its ties to Islamic Jihad. Other directors of WISE include al-Arian’s brother-in-law Mazen al-Najjar and Ramadan Abdullah. Ramadon became head of Islamic Jihad in the early 90s. Khalil Shikaki is the brother of Fathi Shikaki, the founder of Palestine Islamic Jihad.
Shikaki’s World Islam Study Enterprise regularly invited radical Islamic speakers such as Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, later convicted in connection with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing; exiled Tunisian Rashid-el-Ghanoushi, considered a terrorist by the US and was refused a visa by the State Department; and Hassan Turabi, who is generally considered the real leader of the terrorist Sudan government. Oliver “Buck” Revell, the FBI’s former top counterterrorist official said that “anybody who brings in Hassan Turabi is supporting terrorists.”
ZOA President Morton A. Klein said, “Based on this additional information of Shikaki’s direct ties to the World and Islamic Studies Enterprise group which hosted lectures for these radical Islamic figures, along with the Shikaki wiretaps presented as evidence in the Al-Arian trial, which indicate that Shikaki may have distributed funds to Islamic Jihad, it is incumbent upon Brandeis to do a thorough investigation of Shikaki.
“This is even more of an imperative given that the top terrorism expert in the US, Steve Emerson, said, “The pattern of evidence from the wiretaps introduced at the trial and other material clearly show that Shikaki was intimately not just aware of, but participated in the operations of Islamic Jihad until January 1995, contrary to all of his public denials … He was a pivotal player in the creation of these institutions — the transfer point between the different parties in the Islamic Jihad, and their transfers of monies. Steven Flatow, father of the murdered Alisa Flatow, said, How ironic is it that if he is tainted by Islamic Jihad, that he be teaching at a university where one of the students was killed by Islamic Jihad? … You have to wonder what [the Crown Center at Brandeis] were thinking.
“Brandeis University was named after Supreme Justice Louis Brandeis, who ZOA also proudly claims as one of our past presidents. Justice Brandeis made famous the quote ‘light is the best disinfectant.’ We agree, and urge Brandeis University and its president Jehuda Reinharz to shed light on Shikaki’s record with a new thorough review of the available information to determine if it is appropriate for a man with his background to be teaching there.
“President Reinharz states that since Shikaki has not been convicted of a crime the case is closed. But is the standard for going to prison the same as the standard for teaching at Brandeis University. Anyone teaching at Brandeis should be unequivocally above reproach when it comes to issues of Islamic terrorism. Would Brandeis hire O.J. Simpson or Sami-al-Arian even though they haven’t been convicted of a crime? Does Shikaki meet this standard?
“If one’s daughter was dating a man who was involved with a bad group of men, would a parent be comfortable with this relationship simply because he had never been arrested or convicted of a crime. Hardly. We want our daughters’ boyfriends to be above reproach. This example reminds me of the great line from the Broadway musical Guys & Dolls when one of the gangsters said, “I am proud of my perfectly clean record. I’ve been arrested 30 times and never went to prison.” The same should apply to a distinguished Jewish university of Brandeis’ stature.
We at ZOA are proud of all of Brandeis University’s great accomplishments, outstanding faculty and student body, and 1st-rate departments. We are glad that the Jewish community saw fit to generously endow Brandeis with funds facilitating its climb to the top of the academic ladder. We hope that Brandeis’ great record of achievement continues and we believe a fair and vigorous assessment of the facts relating to the aforementioned concern is in keeping with the traditions of this exemplary university of which all Jews are justifiably proud.”