Tuesday 23 April 2024

FLASHBACK: Columbia President After 9/11 Said Terrorism Is ‘A Form Of Protesting’

 Just two months after the September 11 terrorist attack on the United States, Columbia University’s president Minouche Shafik remarked that terrorism was a “form of protesting against a system,” according to a video unearthed by The Daily Wire. 

Shafik, who was a vice president at the World Bank at the time, was asked about the economic roots of terrorism in developing countries during an event with the University of California-Berkeley’s Institute of International Studies. While she condemned “extreme views” held by terrorist groups, she said the reason they are popular is because terrorism is a “protest.”

You’ll always have individuals who will have extreme views,” Shafik said at the November 2001 event, “but what’s really troubling in the region is that there’s actually quite a broad base of society which has some sympathy for the terrorists, not so much because they approve of their methods, but it’s a form of protesting against a system which is not delivering for them on the economic or the political front.”

She also added that “economic stagnation and political authoritarianism” create “fertile ground on which terrorist seeds can flourish.” Video of the full event can be viewed here.

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), who has led calls for Shafik to resign as anti-Semitic demonstrations take over the Ivy League campus, told The Daily Wire that she believes this view of terrorism is informing her response to the chaotic anti-Israel protests taking place under her watch at Columbia.

This video of Columbia University President Dr. Minouche Shafik saying she can understand why people sympathize with terrorists right after 9/11, and calling it a form of protest, is just further evidence that placating the pro-Hamas unsanctioned mob currently taking over Columbia is part of her core beliefs,” Stefanik said.

“Shafik must either immediately resign or be fired by Columbia’s Board,” Stefanik said.

A Columbia spokesman told The Daily Wire that Shafik condemns terrorism.

“President Shafik condemns terrorism, full stop,” spokesman Ben Chang said. “To intimate otherwise is dangerous and a complete misrepresentation of what she said.”

Shafik’s 2001 comments echo the sentiment professed by defenders of the Hamas terrorist massacre on October 7 that left more than a thousand Israelis dead. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) a day after the attack, for example, said that Israel’s “blockade” and “occupation” of Gaza led to the terrorist attack.

“The path to that future must include lifting the blockade, ending the occupation, and dismantling the apartheid system that creates the suffocating, dehumanizing conditions that can lead to resistance,” Tlaib said. “The failure to recognize the violent reality of living under siege, occupation, and apartheid makes no one safer.”

House Republicans, including Stefanik, demanded Shafik resign in a Monday letter, citing the anarchy and anti-Semitism erupting on the New York City Ivy League school’s campus.

“Over the past few days, anarchy has engulfed the campus of Columbia University,” the lawmakers wrote. “As the leader of this institution, one of your chief objectives, morally and under law, is to ensure students have a safe learning environment. By every measure, you have failed this obligation.”

“The situation unfolding on campus right now is a direct product of your policies and misguided decisions,” they added. “As Representatives from the State of New York, many of our constituents are directly impacted by the unfolding chaos on Columbia’s campus. Based on these recent events and your testimony in front of Congress, we have no confidence in your leadership of this once esteemed institution.”

During her testimony last week — while the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” was just beginning — Shafik said anti-Semitism has “no place on our campus” and that she was “committed to do everything I can do to confront it directly.”

Since last week, the encampment on Columbia’s campus has been the scene of antisemitic chants, arrests by NYPD officers, and heightened tensions. Despite nearly 100 students initially being arrested and others suspended, the Columbia administration has decided to move classes virtually and let the encampment continue.

Columbia sent a campus-wide announcement on Sunday announcing new safety measures, including more security guards, improved ID checks, and more security for The Kraft Center for Jewish Student Life during Passover — which will begin Monday night. 

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