Linda Chavez

I thought I'd lost the ability to be shocked by anything that happened on an American university campus -- that is until I read the New York Times magazine this weekend.

In an article entitled, simply, "The Freshman," author Chip Brown describes a charming tale of a young man come to study at one of the premier institutions of higher learning in the country. He might more aptly have titled his piece "God, Country, and Yale." Only in this telling, God is the vengeful Allah of Islamist fanatics, and the country to which this student once pledged his allegiance is the Taliban's Afghanistan, for the first-year Yalie profiled is none other than the former "ambassador-at-large" of the Taliban regime, Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi.

Yes, Yale has decided to welcome into its fold a man whose previous visit to the New Haven, Conn., campus in March 2001 was as an official apologist for the misogynistic government that had just blown up the famous Buddhas of Bamiyan, the giant 1,500-year-old statues long considered among the most important ancient sculptures in the world.

This might be just another tale of multiculturalism run amok on campus were it not for the 3,000 dead Americans buried in the rubble of the World Trade Center and Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, and the more than 200 Americans who died fighting to liberate Afghanistan from Rahmatullah's former paymasters. As it is, this story raises serious questions not just about what's happening on America's campuses but whether the student visa program that gave us Mohammed Atta and his murderous accomplices continues to pose threats to American security.

Rahmatullah's journey from the Taliban to the Ivy League is a strange one told in more than 8,600 words by Brown. Rahmatullah grew up in what appears to have been a lower-middle-class family in Afghanistan, the sixth of seven children, the son of a former policeman who fled with his family to Pakistan after the Soviet invasion. According to Brown, the boy dropped out of school when he was 10 to help in his father's shoe store, but later returned to an English-language training school for Afghan refugees run by an American charity, the International Rescue Committee.


Linda Chavez

Linda Chavez is chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics .

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