Now Nihad Awad is preparing a prestigious lecture for Harvard University students on how "to inspire a deeper engagement with critical social issues on campus and in the wider community." He is scheduled to be honored the first weekend of November with the Phillips Brooks House Association's Robert Coles "Call of Service" Lecture and Award. Past recipients of the honor include former Vice President Al Gore and Children's Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman.
A Harvard release describes Awad as "a leading advocate for justice and mutual understanding, promoting dialogue and empowering American Muslims."
That's extraordinarily generous, as Awad's words and deeds foster mutual enmity, not understanding; deception, not dialogue.
He was a member of a Muslim Brotherhood-created network of organizations operating in the United States with a mission to help Hamas politically and financially. Awad appears on the "Palestine Committee's" telephone list. Internal records seized by the FBI also show that the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which Awad co-founded in 1994 and has served as its only executive director ever since, was a Palestine Committee branch.
Before creating CAIR, Awad ran a second Palestine Committee entity, called the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP). The IAP served as a Hamas propaganda arm, publishing the terrorist group's communiques and articles advocating on its behalf. The FBI described his partner at both IAP and CAIR, Omar Ahmed, as a "leader within the Palestine Committee."
Again, all of this is drawn from internal Muslim Brotherhood/Palestine Committee records seized by the FBI. They were entered into evidence in a federal terror financing trial involving the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development. The foundation, another Palestine Committee entity, and five former officials all were convicted of illegally routing $12 million to Hamas through a network of charities.
All of this information is in the public domain.
So what prompted a Harvard student group – by definition smart, educated young people – to identify Nihad Awad as an inspirational paragon of service?
It turns out that the Phillips Brooks House Association's programming chair, Anwar Omeish, is the daughter of another advocate for Palestinian violence, former Muslim American-Society President Esam Omeish.
Awad was in Omeish's home for a 2010 political fundraiser where U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., accused Israel of controlling U.S. foreign policy.
We are First Amendment supporters, and the Phillips Brooks House Association is free to invite whomever it pleases. Whitewashing Nihad Awad's decades of work on behalf of terrorists and radicals, however, doesn't seem to be in the best interests of a group seeking inspiration on public service.