Georgetown University was set to receive $325,000 from the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), via a scheme that would have used the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) as a middleman, according to Patrick Poole at Pajamas Media. The intended purpose of the money was to promote a conference on Islamophobia, a form of racism that the OIC wants to see criminalized throughout the world.
The significance of the plan comes from the OIC's stated desire to criminalize free speech about Islam, by banning insults to Islam, the Quran, and its prophet. By funding American academic programs that present its views, Islamist voices at the OIC are trying to dictate the debate on American college campuses.
The plot was apparently initiated in 2006 by discussions between the OIC, CAIR, and Georgetown's Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (CMCU). An email from Nov. 20, 2006, shows that the OIC United Nations representative pushed CAIR leader Nihad Awad and Hadia Mubarak, who is both a CAIR board member and a CMCU senior researcher, to move ahead on plans for the Islamophobia conference. The email also noted that funds would be transferred to the CMCU as soon as the director of the senter, Professor John Esposito, sent a letter confirming the plans to the OIC.
Esposito and CAIR's Nihad Awad followed up with a Jan. 11, 2007 letter to set the plan in motion and to begin the transfer of the funds to CAIR and later to the CMCU. A July 19, 2007 letter shows the plan went sour, with the OIC asking for the transfer of only $62,100 to the university for a speech on Islamophobia, but asking CAIR to return the remainder of the money. The OIC and CAIR later exchanged letters, with CAIR pleading that the money should remain with them and the OIC demanding its return for auditing concerns. The OIC was also concerned with CAIR's negative media and legal issues at the time.
Despite the setback, the OIC, the CMCU, and CAIR still support promotion of anti-Islamophobia education. Esposito and CAIR's Ahmed Rehab were scheduled to speak at an OIC conference held last September, on the campus of Chicago's American Islamic College.