TEL AVIV – A scholar and charity head appointed to President Obama’s White House Fellowships Commission served as a point man in granting $49.2 million in startup capital to an education-reform project founded by Weather Underground terrorist William Ayers and chaired by Obama.
Documentation shows the White House fellow, Vartan Gregorian, was central in Ayers’ recruitment of Obama to serve as the first chairman of the project, the Chicago Annenberg Challenge – a job in which Obama worked closely on a regular basis with Ayers.
Obama also later touted his job at the project as qualifying him to run for public office, as WND previously reported.
Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corp. charitable foundation, was appointed by Obama last year as a White House fellow. Born in Tabriz, Iran, Gregorian served for eight years as president of the New York Public Library and was also president of Brown University.
In his role as Brown president, Gregorian served on the selection committee of the Annenberg Foundation, which funded Ayers’ Chicago Annenberg Challenge with a $49.2 million, 2-to-1 matching challenge grant over five years. Ayers was one of five founding members of the Challenge who wrote to the Annenberg Foundation for the initial funding.
Steve Diamond, a political-science and law professor and a blogger who has posted on Obama, previously posted a letter from Nov. 18, 1994, in which Gregorian, serving as the point man on Annenberg’s selection committee, asked Ayers to “compose the governing board” of the Challenge’s collaborative project with “people who reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of Chicago.”
Ayers and other founding Challenge members then recruited Obama to serve as the project chairman.
WND was first to expose that Obama and Ayers used the project grant money to fund organizations run by radicals tied to Ayers, including Mike Klonsky, a former top communist activist who was a senior leader in the Students for a Democratic Society group, a major leftist student organization in the 1960s, from which the Weathermen terror group later splintered.
National Review Online writer Stanley Kurtz examined the project archives housed at the Richard J. Daley Library at the University of Illinois at Chicago, finding Obama and Ayers worked closely at the project.
The documents obtained by Kurtz showed Ayers served as an ex-officio member of the board that Obama chaired through the project’s first year. Ayers also served on the board’s governance committee with Obama and worked with him to craft project bylaws, according to the documents.
Ayers made presentations to board meetings chaired by Obama. Ayers also spoke for the Chicago School Reform Collaborative before Obama’s board, while Obama periodically spoke for the board at meetings of the collaborative, the project documents reviewed by Kurtz show.
WND reported Obama and Ayers also served together on the board of the Woods Fund, a liberal Chicago nonprofit that granted money to far-left causes.
One of the groups funded by the Woods Fund was the Midwest Academy, an activist organization modeled after Marxist community organizer Saul Alinsky and described as teaching tactics of direct action, confrontation and intimidation.
WND recently reported Jackie Kendall, executive director of the Midwest Academy, was on the team that developed and delivered the first Camp Obama training for volunteers aiding Obama’s campaign through the 2008 Iowa Caucuses.
Camp Obama was a two- to four-day intensive course run in conjunction with Obama’s campaign aimed at training volunteers to become activists to help Obama win the presidential election.
Obama scholar linked to ‘Ground Zero’ imam
Meanwhile, WND reported Gregorian is closely tied to the Muslim leaders behind a proposed controversial Islamic cultural center to be built near the site of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Gregorian also serves on the board of the Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum. The museum is reportedly working with the American Society for Muslim Advancement, whose leaders are behind the mosque, to ensure the future museum will represent the voices of American Muslims.
“[The Sept. 11 museum will represent the] voices of American Muslims in particular, and it will honor members of other communities who came together in support and collaboration with the Muslim community on September 11 and its aftermath,” stated Daisy Khan, executive director of the society.
The future Sept. 11 museum’s oral historian, Jenny Pachucki, is collaborating with the society to ensure the perspective of American Muslims is woven into the overall experience of the museum, according to the museum’s blog.
Khan’s husband, Feisal Abdul Rauf, is the founder of the society as well as chairman of Cordoba Initiative, which is behind the proposed mosque to be built about two blocks from the area referred to as Ground Zero.
With Gregorian at its helm, Carnegie Corp. is at the top of the list of society supporters on the Islamic group’s website.
Carnegie is also listed as a funder of both of the society’s partner organizations, Search for Common Ground and the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations. Gregorian was a participant in the U.N. body’s first forum, as was Rauf.
Rauf is vice chairman on the board of the Interfaith Center of New York, which honored Gregorian at an awards dinner in 2008.
Gregorian is the author of “Islam: A Mosaic, Not A Monolith.” According to a book review by the Middle East Forum, his book “establishes the Islamist goal of world domination.”
A chapter of the book, “Islamism: Liberation Politics,” quotes Ayatollah Khomeini: “Islam does not conquer. Islam wants all countries to become Muslim, of themselves.” Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, is quoted stating it “is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated, to impose its laws on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet.”
Gregorian himself recommends for Muslims a system he calls “theo-democracy,” which he defines as “a divine democratic government” that, according to the book review, “would have a limited popular sovereignty under the suzerainty of Allah.”
Rauf, meanwhile, has caused a stir with his proposed $100 million, 13-story Islamic cultural center and mosque near the corner of Park Place and West Broadway – about two blocks from Ground Zero.
With research by Brenda J. Elliott
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