Sheik Bakr Mohammed bin Laden, Osama bin Laden’s brother, made two gifts to the University in 1993 and 1994 to fund fellowships for advanced study in Islamic culture. One such fellowship, at the Harvard Law School, provides funds for “research on the history of legal institutions in Islamic states past and present, particularly insofar as they uphold or apply the Islamic shari’a.” Another, at the Harvard Design School, provides money for “advanced studies in Islamic architecture...and appropriate building technologies as they pertain to Islamic built environments.”
Yesterday, University officials quickly distanced themselves from Osama bin Laden, saying the gifts are “in no way connected” to the terrorist.
“The bin Laden family is very large, with dozens of siblings and half siblings who bear the bin Laden name,” read a statement released by the University.
Harvard’s ties to bin Laden money have come into question before. In 1998, after Osama bin Laden was accused of the embassy bombings in Africa, then-University spokespeson Alex S. Huppé said, “It’s clear the Saudi bin Laden money is being put to good use here.”