The official story is that fear of Muslim violence drove Yale University Press (YUP) to censor the Danish Muhammad Cartoons and other imagery of Muhammad from an upcoming book about, well, the Danish Muhammad Cartoons. That's what Yale, its administration and press, says publicly, matter-of-factly, and, it seems, without shame.
But it is a shameful thing. Yale's decision to censor pictures of Muhammad from an academic text about them is one of those watershed moments that history will record as institutional capitulation to sharia (Islamic law) at one of the storied centers of Western learning, American branch. It also happens to be my alma mater.
Yale is hardly unique in academia in bending to Islamic law. Harvard, for instance, is a cheerleader for sharia-compliant finance, operates a gym on Islamic rules separating the sexes, and permits a Harvard chaplain to condone the Islamic penalty of death for leaving Islam without sanction. Such deference to Islam is the embodiment of what historian Bat Ye'or calls "dhimmitude," the stunted cultural existence of non-Muslims living in thrall to sharia. If Yale is not unique in this, censoring its press according to Islamic restrictions on Muhammad imagery makes Yale a leading contender for All-Ivy dhimmi.
But is fear of violence alone driving Yale's dhimmitude? I don't think so, and not just because the book in question, "The Cartoons that Shook the World" by Jytte Klausen, promises a pro-Muslim essence ("I am not Geert Wilders," Klausen recently told a Dutch newspaper). The university was muscularly involved in this sharia-affirming publishing decision. For example, Yale Vice President and Secretary Linda Lorimer helped YUP break the censorship news to author Klausen. The university is also muscularly involved in pursuing sharia-affirming donors. If Yale suddenly feared the contents of a book -- turned in three years ago and due out in three months -- I think the fear was not over violence that might break out, but over money that might dry up -- Islamic money. Or that such money might never come Yale's way.
Linda Lorimer figures prominently in Yale's "Middle East outreach," which so far hasn't much paid off. Sure, Lorimer in April declared herself and Yale to be "inspired" by the work of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation after this new United Arab Emirates fund announced a preliminary agreement with several business schools including Yale's. But before Lorimer further rhapsodizes about "partnering with the foundation for years to come," I suggest she examine the Al Maktoum family's history of supporting jihad causes, including the Taliban, Hamas-linked CAIR and Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi. I suggest concerned alumni do the same.
Still, Yale -- whose endowment, like those of other institutions, is off this year (30 percent) -- has yet to receive a massive infusion of cash from the typical Muslim sources. Georgetown and Harvard, for example, both accepted $20 million apiece in 2005 from Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, who has likewise reportedly contributed millions to families of Palestinian "martyrs," and whose part-owned Iqra TV incites jihad. That's the same Saudi prince, by the way, to whom then-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani defiantly returned $10 million after Talal blamed U.S. Middle East policy for 9/11.
Yale has also failed to "partner" with the new, multi-billion-dollar King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), whose founding trustees include Princeton President Shirley Tilghman and Cornell President Emeritus Frank H.T. Rhodes. According to a publication of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, KAUST largesse includes $36 million to UC Berkeley, $60 million to Stanford, and miscellaneous millions ($8 million to $25 million) to other institutions. Nothing, as far as I can tell, directly to Yale. To date, the Middle East looks like just one big dry well for Old Eli: Yale's long-term negotiations with Abu Dhabi to franchise a Yale arts institute ended in failure last year.
Imagine the frustration. What's Yale gotta do for its share of Sharia bucks? Censor those Sharia-defying Danish Muhammad Cartoons? Hmm. Not a bad idea. And here's more "outreach" for you: As one of its 2009 "world fellows," Yale selected Muna Abu Sulayman, general secretary of the charitable foundation of -- what a coincidence -- Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal.
Pita bread on Gulf waters, Yale may think. But how does that old line go? "... God have mercy on such as we, baa, baa, baa-aa."