APT Obtained Documents Revealing Carnegie Mellon Accepted $1.2M from Former Prime Minister of Qatar with Hamas Ties

A foundation run by a controversial former Qatari prime minister who has faced accusations of financing terrorism and fueling antisemitism donated more than a million dollars to Carnegie Mellon University to fund a computer science center, according to newly revealed documents.

Since 2018, the Jassim and Hamad Bin Jassim Charitable Foundation — co-founded by former Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani — has contributed at least $1.2 million to the Pittsburgh university to fund the Hamad bin Jassim Center for K-12 Computer Science Education on a Carnegie Mellon satellite campus in Qatar. Conservative watchdog group Americans for Public Trust tipped PI off to the documents, which were received via a Pennsylvania public records request.

Al Thani, his foundation and several other prominent Qataris and entities were sued in 2021 in London for allegedly funneling money to al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front in Syria; representatives for Al Thani called the allegations “completely baseless” and the Qatari defendants all issued “categorical denials,” according to The Times of London.

He also made an antisemitic remark when he told a Kuwaiti newspaper, in a 2022 interview that the Middle East Media Research Institute translated, “Imagine oil [was sold] by some Jews … what would be the price of a barrel of oil? It would be the most expensive thing in the world.”

Qatar’s influence in the U.S. has drawn an increasing amount of attention in Washington, with the Justice Department adding new allegations that Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) took bribes in exchange for helping Qatar. (Menendez denied the allegations forcefully on the Senate floor today.) DOJ also hit two Trump-aligned Republican operatives with charges for seeking to cover up influence activities on Qatar’s behalf.

Questions about the money that Middle Eastern governments provide American universities also recently surfaced during a December congressional hearing on antisemitism that helped lead to the ouster of two Ivy league presidents.

In all, Carnegie Mellon has received $893 million from the Qatari government or Qatari entities in contracts or gifts since 2004, according to data from the Department of Education. Spokespeople for Carnegie Mellon did not respond to requests for comment.