US: Scholarships didn't fund jihadists

Report: Palestinian colleges, including one under Hamas control, given money.

gunman hamas 88 298 (photo credit: AP [file])
gunman hamas 88 298
(photo credit: AP [file])
The State Department said Monday there was no truth to a report that the United States had provided millions of dollars in financial support to two Palestinian universities, including one controlled by Hamas. The Washington Times had reported that the institutions had participated in the "advocacy, support or glorification of terrorism." The Times report also said the funding - principally in scholarships to individual students - was being scrutinized by several members of Congress and their aides, who said it may violate US law. The paper also noted that since Congress changed the 2004 law restricting aid to entities or individuals "involved in or advocating terrorist activity," the US Agency for International Development (USAID) had provided more than $140,000 in assistance to the Hamas-controlled Islamic University in Gaza alone and had given scholarships to 49 of its students. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said US officials concluded after a review that neither institution - the Islamic University of Gaza and al-Quds University - engages in terrorist activities. A similar clearance process has been used for students who are candidates for US-supported scholarships, he said. McCormack acknowledged that some US scholarship money had gone to Palestinian university students but only to those confirmed not to have links to terrorism.