Monday, April 17, 2006

Update: A Jihadist Goes to Yale

Why do the administrations of elite American universities seem to have such a tough time facing the music when that intense media glare turns their way?

Duke University has utterly botched its response to an allegation that members of its lacrosse team raped a stripper at an off-campus team party in Durham, N.C., on March 13, thereby creating the impression that it didn't give a Blue Devil about a matter freighted with racial implications until the outcry surrounding it got so loud that it was forced to act.

Then there's Yale University, which has yet to address questions over its decision to admit Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, former ambassador-at-large for the Taliban, last fall in a non-degree program on the New Haven campus.

(That's Rahmtullah in the photo, apparently hard at work on a fundamentalist Islamic word processor, or something.)

This kerfuffle was bubbling beneath the national media radar until a New York Times Magazine cover story in February, and since then the unapologists in the Yale administration have been doing a pretty good job of running from a mess of their own making, which has included trying to supress public discussion of the controversy.

But the administration apparently has run out of wiggle room. As John Fund notes in a Wall Street Journal piece, Yale's Board of Governors may have to address the issue when it meets this week.

As I noted in a March 20 post, Rahmatullah told the Times that he started having serious doubts about the Taliban's harsh moral code all the way back in 1998, but acknowledged that he continued sucking at its insidious teat until fleeing Afghanistan for Pakistan after the 9/11 attacks out of fear of a U.S. bombing campaign.

But that's okay, because he now considers himself to be "the luckiest person in the world." Luckier certainly than the countless victims of the Taliban's lashings, rapes and executions.

I asked then and will ask again:
Is having second thoughts about one of the vilest political regimes in modern times sufficient reason to give a key operative for a terrorist group who once met with Osama bin Laden a U.S. visa and then admitting him to one of the most prestigious universities anywhere? No. In fact, the whole thing stinks to high heaven.

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