Author and National Review Online blogger Mark Steyn's sharp rejoinder to McCain then applies to Obama now: "There's plenty of evidence out there that the most extreme 'extremists' are those who've been most exposed to the west -- and western education: from Osama bin Laden (summer school at Oxford, punting on the Thames) and Mohammed Atta (Hamburg University urban planning student) to the London School of Economics graduate responsible for the beheading of Daniel Pearl. The idea that handing out college scholarships to young Saudi males and getting them hooked on Starbucks and car-chase movies will make this stuff go away is ridiculous -- and unworthy of a serious presidential candidate."
Ayman al-Zawahiri didn't need more education or wealth to steer him away from Islamic imperialism and working toward a worldwide caliphate. He has a medical degree. So does former Hamas biggie Abdel al-Rantissi. Seven upper-middle-class jihadi doctors were implicated in the 2007 London/Glasgow bombings. Suspected al-Qaida scientist Aafia Siddiqui, still wanted by the FBI for questioning, is a Pakistani who studied microbiology at MIT and did graduate work in neurology at Brandeis.
And as I've reported before and must reiterate for the hard of hearing in Washington, lowering academic standards at American colleges helped al-Qaida mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed further the jihadi cause. In the early 1980s, he enrolled at tiny Chowan College in Murfreesboro, N.C., which had dropped its English requirements to attract -- ahem -- wealthy Middle Easterners.
At Chowan, Mohammed bonded with other Arab Muslim foreign students known as the "Mullahs" for their religious zeal. Mohammed then transferred to North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, where he earned his degree in mechanical engineering along with 30 other Muslims.
Mohammed applied his Western learning to oversee the 1993 World Trade Center bombing plot (six Americans dead), the U.S.S. Cole attack (17 American soldiers dead) and the 9/11 attacks (3,000 dead). He has also been linked to the 1998 African embassy bombings (212 dead, including 12 Americans), the plot to kill the pope, the murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl and the Bali nightclub blast that killed nearly 200 tourists, including two more Americans.
Perhaps bleeding-heart Obama thinks a master's degree in social work would have convinced poverty-stricken, helpless, ignorant, despairing Mohammed to change his mind?
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