July 11, 2003 Special Reports No. 18

The Think Tank of the Arab League: The Zayed International Centre for Coordination and Follow-Up - Part II

July 11, 2003 | By Steven Stalinsky*
The Gulf | Special Reports No. 18

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Activities at the Zayed Centre

  1. Introduction: The State Department Protests The Zayed Centre's Antisemitic and Anti-U.S. Lectures
  2. The Zayed Centre Issues a New Disclaimer
  3. More Zayed Conspiracy Theories:
    1. The SARS Virus – A U.S. Creation?
    2. Saudi Professors Blame the Jews for the War in Iraq
  4. The Zayed Centre Praises Antisemitic German Leader for His "Impressive Stances Regarding the Jewish Antisemitism Claims"
  5. Holocaust Denier David Irving on the Zayed Centre
  6. Examining a Fabrication on the Holocaust by the Zayed Centre
  7. Lyndon Larouche's Website: "The Similarities in Outlook Between Sheikh Zayed's Vision and that Presented by Larouche are Striking"
  8. Professors from the World Continue to Lecture at the Zayed Centre

Chapter 2: The Zayed Centre's Reaction to MEMRI's Report

  1. The Zayed Centre's Response to MEMRI's Report
  2. Sheikh Zayed's Interview in a Saudi Weekly on "The Zionist Smear Campaign"
  3. The Arab Media on the Zayed Centre: "Under Attack by MEMRI"
  4. Arab Government Officials Praise the Zayed Centre for Its Stance Against "Zionist Allegations"
  5. The Leading French Daily Le Monde and the Zayed Centre


  1. The Zayed Centre's Letter to German Politician Jurgen Mollemann
  2. The Zayed Centre's Response to MEMRI's Report
  3. Official Letters to the Zayed Centre
  4. The Zayed Centre on the Front Page of Le Monde




Chapter 1: Activities at the Zayed Centre




I: Introduction: The State Department Protests The Zayed Centre's Antisemitism and Anti-U.S. Lectures

Over the past month, there has been much controversy regarding Shiekh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, the namesake of the Zayed Centre, and donations he made to U.S. universities and schools. Most recently, a controversy emerged following Prince Zayed's donation to an elementary school in California, which had some members of the community concerned because of anti-American and antisemitic activity at the Centre.

Congressman Chris Cox , who represents the district where the school is located, wrote a letter to the school district's superintendent addressing the issue of Zayed's donation: "As you requested, the following is the result of my inquiries in your behalf to the State Department , concerning Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and his background. All of the information is from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Desk at the State Department ."

"'Sheikh Zayed, 85, has been President of the United Arab Emirates since 1977. While Sheikh Zayed is the official head of the nation, his eldest son Crown Prince Sheikh Khalifah—manages the day to day administration of the nation. Sheikh Zayed has expressed strong support for the U.S. in the war against international terrorism. During Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, the UAE hosted over 1,200 U.S. troops. Sheikh Zayed's second oldest son, Sultan bir Zayed, the UAE's Deputy Prime Minister, is the primary sponsor of the Zayed International Centre for Coordination and Follow up (ZCCF).'" [1]

"'Despite protests from U.S. Ambassador Marcelle Wahba, the ZCCF reportedly continues to sponsor and distribute antisemitic and anti-American literature. Because the ZCCF has not stopped these activities, Crown Prince Sheikh Khalifah along with two other brothers, the UAE's Foreign and Defense Ministers have privately stated that the ZCCF is a major problem for their government, and that it does not represent Sheikh Zayed's views or vision. Crown Prince Sheikh Khalifah is believed to be working to end the center's objectionable activities. However, because this matter implicates family and tribal relationships, decisive action and resolution may take some time. While most of the egregious writings on the ZCCF's website have been removed, the State Department notes that the website still contains repulsive material. Consequently, the State Department believes that Crown Prince Sheikh Khalifah is moving more aggressively to end the center's activities.' Separately from this report from the State Department, I want to let you know about Harvard University President Lawrence H. Summers' decision to delay accepting a $2.5 million donation from Sheikh Zayed, pending a background investigation. Mr. Summers is expected to announce his final decision in two weeks. I hope this information is useful. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I may be of further assistance.” [2]

The following report focuses on the continuing activities of the Zayed Centre, followed by a summary of the Centre's reaction to Part I of this report:

II: The Zayed Centre Issues a New Disclaimer

In what appears to be a response to criticism of controversial events and publications, the Zayed Centre recently added a disclaimer to its website, stating under the summary of each lecture that: "The views expressed in this presentation, as in all lectures delivered at the Zayed Centre for Coordination and Follow-Up, are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Centre, the position of the League of Arab States, or the official policies of the government of the United Arab Emirates."

III: More Conspiracy Theories

A) The SARS Virus - A U.S. Creation?

Conspiracy theories involving the U.S. and Jews are commonly discussed at the Zayed Centre, including recently developed theories regarding the SARS virus. On May 16, 2003, the Centre released a report titled "SARS Virus: The Terror Coming from the East." According to the Zayed Centre's website, "The study aims at acquainting Arab readers with the war being fought against this disease… The study gives answers, from a scientific perspective, about the suspicions regarding the possibility that [the] SARS virus could constitute a biological war launched against China in an attempt to weaken it economically, or it could be a product of an American war against the world…" [3] On May 20th, Rami Tahbob, who was identified as being responsible for the Al Quds' (Jerusalem) File on Arab Affairs for the PLO, stated in a Zayed Centre lecture "that he did not rule out that [the] SARS epidemic has been used to damage China, the main competitor to the USA." [4] On May 1, 2003, Dr. Yussuf Abdulla Al-Zamel, a Saudi economic expert and professor at King Saud University, stated in a lecture at the Zayed Centre that "the announcement of the disease [SARS] could possibly coincide with the war on Iraq… it could possibly be the result of military experiments aimed at specific ambiguous purposes.” [5]

B) Saudi Professors Blame U.S. War in Iraq on "the Jews"

As part I of MEMRI's earlier report detailed, Dr. Umayma Al-Jalahma, professor of Islamic Studies at Saudi Arabia's King Faysal University, blamed the U.S. war in Iraq on the Jews in a lecture at the Centre on April 9, 2003: "the American war on Iraq started in March to concur with [the] Purim feast, often celebrated in this month, which symbolizes the Jewish victory over Haman in Babylon [sic].” [6] On May 1, 2003, Saudi economic expert and professor at King Saud University Dr. Yussuf Abdula Al-Zamel spoke at the Zayed Centre on the U.S. war in Iraq being perpetrated by the Jews and Christian supporters of Israel. He stated that "suspicion that the Americans are interfering in the internal affairs of the nations in the region and trying to influence the educational, cultural, moral, and political aspects is increasing.” [7] He added that: "…It rather aims at achieving visions and comprehensive plans in the area according to the objectives of certain radical Zionist and right wing Christian powers planning behind the scenes to push the American government towards destructive wars.” [8]

IV: The Zayed Centre Praises Antisemitic German Leader for His 'Impressive Stances Regarding the Jewish Antisemitism Claims'

A controversial German politician, Jurgen Molleman, [9] as a parliamentarian for the Free Democrat party, as well as the president of the Deutsch-Arabische-Gesselschaft (German-Arab Society), has on several occasions compared Israel to Nazi Germany, and has implied that he supports Palestinian terrorist attacks, saying that he would "resist violently" [10] if he was in a similar situation. Mollemann is best known for his support of German pride and nationalism and has blamed Jews and Israel for harming the German self-image by perpetuating the memory of the Holocaust.

On July 6, 2002, the Executive Director of the Zayed Centre sent a letter to Mollemann inviting him to speak at the Zayed Centre. The letter stated that the Centre "[appreciates] your impressive stances regarding the Jewish antisemitism claims… Accordingly, we have the pleasure to invite you to give a lecture at the Zayed Centre on one of the topics related to the controversy on Semitism." [11] (See Appendix A)

According to the Zayed Centre's website, that conference was held on August 28, 2002, "to expose the fallacious claims and concocted legends of the Zionists and to counter their nefarious propaganda against Arabs and Muslims after September 11 events in particular, [and to do so] the ZCCF organized a seminar on 'Semitism' in which a number of top Arab scholars participated. In his opening speech Muhammad Khalifa Al Murrar, the Executive Director of the Zayed Centre for Coordination and Follow-Up, repudiated Israeli claims [that they are] 'the real Semites. [12] Paradoxically, they accuse Arabs who are Semites themselves, of antisemitism. They know the hollowness of their claims. They know very well that the descendants of Japheth have nothing to do with Semitism or Palestine. Yet, they churn out lies after lies till they make people believe that they are Semites and are being persecuted by others…' Expressing their true face, Al Murrar said, 'Jews claim to be God's most preferred people but the truth is they are the enemies of all nations. Most philosophers like Zimmer consider Jews [to be] cheaters whose greed knows no bounds. Today, after having controlled print and electronic media, they distort facts to suit their objectives.'"

V: Holocaust Denier David Irving on the Zayed Center

Holocaust Denier David Irving, whose website includes many antisemitic diatribes such as a June 1, 2003 entry quoting a letter that he wrote to London's Sunday Times: "You report that President Bush visited Auschwitz and bowed his head at the Wall of Death. Lucky he did not study the World War II aerial photos of Auschwitz first—that particular wall did not exist then. But then, he must be getting quite used to this kind of fakery.” [13]

Irving also wrote about the Zayed Centre a few days later on June 5, stating: "There is an article in the Harvard Crimson of May 23 regarding the controversy surrounding a donation from Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates. By Rachel Lea Fish , the article states: 'Not only does the Zayed Centre promote intolerance and hatred towards America, Jews and Israel, but it also attempts to deny the atrocities of the Holocaust and allows individuals such as notorious Holocaust deniers David Irving and Roger Garaudy, a forum to promulgate their propaganda.'" Irving then goes on to write the following response: "As those familiar with my books know (and there were forty-seven of them in the Widener Library [at Harvard University] last time I checked) I have never written about the Holocaust (I find it boring, along millions of others); and I have never set foot or eye on the Zayed Centre forum.” [14]

However, the Zayed Centre issued a report in Arabic titled "Those Who Challenged Israel" on September 2, 2001, which stated: "This study is a historical document for all readers, in particular Arab readers. It sheds light on all the figures from around the world who have challenged Israel – Charles de Gaulle who imposed an arms ban on Israel; Kurt Waldheim who admitted the PLO to the United Nations; David Irving, the premier WWII historian, who denies the holocaust; Jorg Haider, the leader of the right-wing, Austrian Freedom Party; and finally, prominent writer and thinker, Roger Garaudy who has written well known books against Israel and global Zionism.” [15]

VI: Examining a Fabrication on the Holocaust by the Zayed Centre

Part I of MEMRI's report included a section on a book released by the Zayed Centre titled "Zionist Literature and Holocaust Industry," by "Ami Finegold." According to the Zayed Centre, this book stated that Jews use the Holocaust to spread guilt and gain sympathy, and defends the rights of those who deny the Holocaust, such as Roger Garaudy. Having learned of his name and book being used by the Zayed Centre, Professor Ben-Ami Feingold of Tel Aviv University stated that the excerpts were fabricated, the true meaning of his work distorted, and that he never gave permission for its use.

On March 1, 2002, the UAE daily Al-Bayan reported on "a new Zayed Centre publication about the Holocaust industry" - a translation of a book by Professor Feingold.

Feingold did publish a book titled 'The Holocaust in Hebrew Drama' (Hakibbutz Hameuhad Press, 1989), and an article titled "Teaching Holocaust Literature: Basic Problems." In translating Feingold's book, the Zayed Centre changed its title to "Zionist Literature and the Holocaust Industry," and added an introduction by the translator setting out the motives and means of the "Zionist Holocaust industry." The following are excerpts from the Al-Bayan article:

"A new publication [put out] by the Zayed Centre for Coordination and Follow-Up explains that the aim of the Holocaust industry is to sow a guilt complex [for what was committed] against the Jews in all the countries of the world…"

"The translator reviews means by which the Zionists succeeded in imposing the Holocaust and transforming it into the crime of the century, carried out by the Nazis against the Jews alone, even though the Nazis' policy of annihilation and torture was also directed at other nationalities such as the Gypsies, the Slavs, the Poles, and the Russians – but the Zionists were the only ones to create the Holocaust…"

"The Zionists fight forcefully against all who try to doubt the Holocaust or reduce its scope, and have succeeded in imposing laws in many countries, particularly in Europe, to punish anyone who tries to doubt the Holocaust The most recent example of this was the trial of French Muslim author Roger Garaudy. The Zionists also tried to give the Holocaust a cultural importance and a central place in the history of Europe and the world, with Holocaust literature imposed on many school curricula and research programs in universities and institutions in Europe and the U.S.…"

"The Zayed Centre's attempt to publish this translation from Israeli Hebrew literature into Arabic is courageous in and of itself, as it is a translation in a sensitive and vital area that arouses questions and extensive argument, and as it is a translation of the language and thought of the enemy. This area has for the past 50 years been a taboo, and very limited in Arabic translation, to the point where during the first 30 years of the Arab-Israeli conflict even thinking of translating a book from Israeli literature into Arabic would arouse doubts regarding the translator and lead to accusations against him. At the same time, Israel and its translators never stopped translating Arabic literature in various areas of culture and sciences into Hebrew. The translated Arabic book is found in Israeli libraries, and the Jews and Israelis know a great deal about us, Arabs, while we are very ignorant regarding them. Our libraries definitely require translations from the Hebrew; [it is] as if we have prohibited our minds from becoming familiar with our enemy."

"The book by the Israeli Ben-Ami Feingold presents one of the most important means of the Holocaust industry – the media and the arts in general and Israeli and Zionist theater in particular, both in Israel and abroad. This efficient means has turned the Israeli tale, lies, and false claims into phony facts that influence minds by means of dramatic segments that the viewer and reader live with and are influenced by to the point where they become enslaved by the ideas that latently appear in them. The book clarifies how the Holocaust became a fact and a reality, even a principle of faith believed by millions in Israel and even outside it, particularly in the West and the U.S. It explains how the theater played a central role in this area."

"The publication by the Zayed Centre raises important questions: Where are we the Arabs, possessors of spiritual and literary civilization, and possessors of a phenomenal quantity of books and essays? Where are our great authors, who write about drama and theater, and where are our enormous material resources about which the whole world speaks? Where is all this in comparison with what Zionism is doing, which revives and disseminates its various lies and tales? Why do we not turn these energies and resources to serve our just and genuine causes and to present them to the entire world so as to compete with and disprove the lies of Zionism?"

"These are many important questions raised by this important, excellent, and courageous publication that exposes to us some of the methods used by our enemy to impose its lies and use them to serve its unjust causes, in the face of our just causes."

VII: Lyndon Larouche's Website: 'The Similarities in Outlook between Sheikh Zayed's Vision and that Presented by Larouche are Striking'

Lyndon Larouche's website posted a complete transcript of his June 2, 2002 speech at the Zayed Centre, of which only a summary was available on the Zayed Centre's site. In his speech, Larouche claims that the U.S. government, along with a few other governments, is leading civilization into "a global dark age comparable to that which struck Europe about seven-hundred-fifty years ago." [16]

Larouche's website also featured an article about his visit to the Zayed Centre from Executive Intelligence Review, a news service run by him and his supporters. The article states: "The keynote of the June 2-3 conference in the United Arab Emirates on 'The Role of Oil and Gas in World Politics' was given, not by an Arab, but by Lyndon Larouche, candidate for the 2004 Democratic nomination for U.S. [president]. In the UAE's capital, Abu Dhabi, leading personalities from Arab oil-producing nations gathered at the Zayed Centre for Coordination and Follow-Up of the Arab League; they heard Larouche speak on 'The Mideast as a Strategic Crossroad.' His participation underscored the growing influence of his ideas in the Arab and Islamic world, especially since the dramatic events of Sept.11... The similarities in outlook between Sheikh Zayed's vision, and that presented by Larouche, are striking." [17]

Larouche's website also features a speech given at the Zayed Centre by a "prominent Syrian Islamic scholar," Sheikh Mohammed Sa'id Ramadhan Al-Bouti, who referred to Larouche several times in his speech. [18] The Larouche website reports that "Sheikh Mohammed Sa'id Ramadhan Al-Bouti, a prominent Islamic scholar from Syria gave a lecture in the Zayed Centre for Coordination and Follow-Up in Abu Dhabi, recently on the current situation in Palestine and the world situation since Sept. 11. Although the discussion was dominated by his defense of the Palestinian suicide 'martyrs' as a legitimate resistance against military occupation.” [19]

"Al-Bouti stated that 'terrorism, in the sense the Western mass media describes it, has always been and is still being cooked and fermented by certain Western circles, then it is exported to the Arab world and the Islamic world to be implemented there.' He emphasized that after the fall of the Soviet Union 'much attention has recently been given to how to plan, prepare and then export this terrorism to us. These Western circles chose Islam as the next enemy...'"

"Al-Bouti said that Larouche's idea of the land-bridge has set off `discreet hysteria among international Zionist circles.' The new factor, which is only a little more than one year old, is the discreet hysteria which is spreading in the international Zionist circles in reaction to the project about which some news has come recently. This is the attempt by Asian and European countries to build what they call the Eurasian Land-Bridge between the two. It is well known that Russia is playing a key role in this project, which could lead to the establishment of complete networks of magnetically levitated trains, extending from Rotterdam to Shanghai. The objective of this project is to establish a Eurasian economic system, replacing the current collapsing financial system, which is threatening the world, and on top of it the United States. This [project] could eliminate the hegemony of international Zionism on the world economy and the monetary system. Therefore, they must launch a religious war into which Europe would be drawn, and thus this project would vanish amidst the flames of this raging war..."

"As best we know, Al-Bouti's lecture was covered in Al-Arab International and Al-Quds Al-Arabi on April 26, both London-based major Arabic dailies. The Zayed Centre for Cooperation and Follow-Up, a think-tank sponsored by the government of the United Arab Emirates, sent the lecture to international Arabic media as a press release. The Centre is also considered an organ of the Organization of the Arab League. The lecture is posted prominently on the Zayed Centre's website and Al-Bouti's own website."

VIII: Professors from the World Still Lecture at the Zayed Centre

Several ministers of education from Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Kuwait, and Bahrain have written to the Zayed Centre to praise its work and university professors from around the world have visited the Centre to lecture and participate in conferences.

Since MEMRI's previous report on the Zayed Centre was released, a number of university professors have continued to frequent the Centre. As recently as June 20, 2003, Adnan Hussain, a professor of international relations at Lebanon University , spoke at the Centre. According to the Zayed Centre's website summary of the lecture, Hussain claimed that "The establishment of a Hebrew state, based on religion, is incompatible with democracy and people's rights… [it] would threaten the region in the Middle East, and endanger the future of the Palestinians who bear the Israeli nationality which is incompatible with the international rules." [20]

Farooq Shoosha, a member of the Arabic Language Academy in Cairo, and the former chairman of the Egyptian Federation for Men of Letters, spoke at the Zayed Centre on June 18, 2003. He, according to the Zayed Centre's website, claimed that "campaigns waged against Arab institutions and intellectual and research centres [are] part of intentional calumny campaigns that aim at hindering any project seeking to put the Arab nation on the right track." [21]

On January 13, 2003, the Zayed Centre hosted a conference on "Terrorism and Reason." Participants included several American professors. One of the participants, Kiki Kennedy-Day of Rutgers University, stated that "The actions of the U.S. are increasing terrorism. The November assassination of al-Harethi [an Al-Qa'ida operative killed by an American missile in Yemen] has already led to retaliation and execution of Americans overseas, just because they are Americans… The real crisis in American society is the threat to civil liberties as law enforcement agencies invade our privacy and limit our freedom in the name of preventing further terrorist attacks." [22] The Zayed Centre also recently held a symposium on the subject of "rationality," featuring American professors such as Professor Bill Cooke of the University of Buffalo and Professor David Steiner of Boston University.

Chapter 2: The Zayed Centre's Response to MEMRI's Report

I: The Zayed Centre's Response to MEMRI's Report

Several days after MEMRI issued Part I of its report, the Zayed Centre responded with a press release consisting of fabricated quotes attributed to MEMRI regarding the Zayed Centre (see Appendix B). The release stated that MEMRI "described the Zayed Centre as 'the stray black stone in the Islamic galaxy," and described those who lectured there, including Jimmy Carter, Al Gore, Jacques Chirac, and Kurt Waldheim, as "donkeys and idiots." The press release also stated that MEMRI's report "has no space on the Internet… [and] no space within human civilization."

This follows a pattern noted in Part I which included fabricated quotes by the Zayed Centre attributed to Agence France Presse (AFP) about MEMRI. These quotes appeared in three Arabic newspapers: Al-Dustour (Jordan), Al-Liwa (Lebanon), and Al-Safeer (Lebanon), which published articles in defense of the Zayed Centre and critical of MEMRI. According to Barry Parker, the chief of Agence France Presse's bureau in Dubai, no such reports were released by AFP, and the quotes attributed to the AFP are fabricated. The AFP fabrication is but one of many by the Centre.

II: Sheikh Zayed's Interview in a Saudi Weekly on 'the Zionist Smear Campaign'

Sheikh Zayed recently gave an interview to the Saudi weekly Al-Majalla. The article commented on the controversy regarding his donation to the Harvard University Divinity School. [23] The controversy, according to the article, is the result of accusations by "Zionist organizations" that the Zayed Centre for Coordination and Follow-Up is antisemitic and anti-Western. The following are excerpts from the interview.

"The Executive Director of the Zayed Centre [Dr. Khalifa Al-Murrar] and other intellectuals in [the] UAE agree unanimously that Zionist organizations are behind the campaign against the Institute, in an effort to tarnish its reputation and influence its activities... The Centre is accused of bankrolling lectures and hosting presenters who are considered antisemitic and anti-Western, such as Lyndon Larouche and Roger Garaudy, who has been described by Zionist circles as an expert in denying the Holocaust…"

"The [Boston] Globe described the activities and the lectures organized by the Centre on this subject [the Holocaust] as a fundamental denial of history. The Middle East Media Research Institute… dedicated a full report to the Saudi writer Umayma Al-Jalahama in which it was said that [she claimed that] the Jews use human blood in baking cookies for the 'Festival of Purim.' The report said that the Zayed Centre hosted her for that purpose…"

"The Executive Director of [the] Zayed Centre considered the antisemitic accusations ridiculous and asked: 'Did the accusers forget that we are Semites?" He added, "the campaign against [the] Centre is not new... however, what is new this time is taking advantage of the name and reputation of Harvard University and waving the scepter of antisemitism in the face of its administration… But those who attack the Centre because it hosted two or three peoples with whom they do not agree, forget several truths: 1) [The] Zayed Centre is a free stage for all ideas and opinions… 2) The lectures and symposia at the Centre are presented by international[ly] renowned personalities in politics, media, and science, and that their ideas do not represent the Centre's point of view. 3) About 400 people [have] lectured at the Centre, among them heads of states, prime ministers, scientists, and intellectuals who represented all opinions, ideologies, ethnicities, and continents, while the smear campaign revolved around three or four names only…” [24]

III: The Arab Media on the Zayed Centre: 'Under Attack by MEMRI'

On July 2, 2003, the London Arabic daily Al-Hayatissued an article quoting the Zayed Centre's Executive Director, who accused MEMRI of waging "a vicious campaign" against it. This follws a series of reports that appeared in the Arab media on the same subject. The July 2, 2003, edition of the Palestinian Authority daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reported that the Secretary General of the Islamic World Association, Abdallah Al-Turki, sent a letter to the director of the Zayed Centre, Muhammad Khalifa Al Marar, condemning the "crude Zionist attack on the Centre that was aimed at harming Islamic institutions, thwarting its activities, and diverting attention from the Centre's positive activities." Al-Hayat Al-Jadida also reported in an earlier edition that the Zayed Centre's Director said that the Centre was "under attack by MEMRI.” [25]

The July 2, 2003, edition of the Bahraini daily Al-Ayam added: "The Islamic World Federation condemned the fierce Zionist propaganda campaign against the Zayed Centre… in an attempt to curtail its activities… The Federation's Director General… said that the campaign tends 'to harm our Islamic institutions, to curtail their activities and to draw attention away from their positive efforts.' On April 14th, an official at the Centre told the French News Agency that the Centre was targeted by the Middle East Media Research Institute and Jewish institutions around the world because it hosted people considered antisemitic. The official, who wanted to remain anonymous, said that the Centre received a letter from MEMRI and Jewish institutions criticizing in particular the appearance of Dr. Umayma Al-Jalahma, professor of Islamic Studies at King Al-Faisal University in Riyadh. Umayma Al-Jalahma's lecture at the Centre on April 9 was about the conditions of Jewish women in Israel. The Qatari newspaper Al-Raya also reported in its July 2, 2003, issue: "The official added that Al-Jalahma was attacked in the past because of an article published in a Saudi newspaper, she was accused of antisemitism, and her article was sent to American officials."

IV: Arab Government Officials Praise the Zayed Centre for Its Stance Against 'Zionist Allegations'

Over the past month, several Arab government ministers have sent letters of support to the Zayed Centre regarding the "aggressive campaign" of "Zionist allegations" against it (see Appendix C).

On June 5, 2003, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher wrote to the Zayed Centre to thank them for the "symposium organized by Zayed International Centre on the Jews in the Arab World, which dealt with the Zionist allegations and claims that Jews have been exposed to inhuman treatment in the Arab and Islamic countries… I wish your Centre more success and achievements in serving the issues of our Arab and Islamic nations.” [26] On the same date, Ahmed Maher sent another letter to the Zayed Centre, again thanking them for their work..

Mohammed Khalifa Al-Murrarmet with Amr Moussa, the Secretary General of the Arab League, on June 14, 2003. According to the Zayed Centre's website, " The Secretary General… commended the important role played by [the] Zayed International Centre under the umbrella of the Arab League, either in terms of the distinctive intellectual and scientific contribution at both Arab and world levels, or its effective communication with other international organizations and institutions, in addition to hosting prominent intellectual and political figures of diverse orientations to exchange ideas with them at such a critical time witnessing many political, economic, social and intellectual transformations at both the Arab and international levels. In answer to a question on the League's attitude regarding the accusations directed [at the] Zayed International Centre, the Secretary General reiterated the fact that the Arab League supports the Centre and its intellectual activity in defense of democracy and human rights… and its commitment by the freedom of expression either of its own or of others, for the welfare of all Arab nations and humanity at large. The Secretary General stated that the Centre's cultural and intellectual activities have always been highly appreciated by Arab and world elite thinkers and politicians, thus affirming the Centre's credibility and professionalism." [27]

Dr. Abdulla Bin Abdul Muhsin Al-Turki, the Secretary General of the Muslim World League, also sent a letter to the Zayed Centre, offering sympathy and support for "the aggressive media attacks waged by Zionist newspapers." [28]

V: The Leading French Daily Le Monde and the Zayed Centre

On July 2, the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat reported about a controversy following the Zayed Centre placing a front page ad in the leading French daily Le Monde (see Appendix D). According to Al-Sharq Al-Awsat: "The French newspaper Le Monde, which has a large circulation, was subjected to a propaganda campaign [on] a large number of Internet sites because it published a report on the Zayed Centre for International Coordination and Follow-Up, which had become a target for many pro-Israeli institutions and groups… These pro-Israeli, Jewish, and Western groups accused the Centre of organizing antisemitic lectures and seminars and encouraging hatred [of] the Jews… The director of the Centre, Muhammad Khalifa Al-Marar said that the pro-Israeli groups selectively isolated some of the Centre's activities that served their preconceived positions towards it, ignoring its ongoing contributions and efforts to close inter-faith gaps and to encourage inter-cultural dialogues…” [29] Many of the French groups which have come out against the Zayed Centre have cited MEMRI's report. [30]

The Zayed Centre has recently begun publishing in French, and, in honor of the publication by the Zayed Centre of a study about French President Jacques Chirac, on June 15, 2003, the Gulf News reported on a meeting between Chirac and Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces , as well as a Zayed Centre official. [31] The Gulf News reported that " Sheikh Khalifa described the relations between the UAE and France as 'strategic, strong and deep-rooted…' French presidential palace spokeswoman Catherine Colonna said the two sides discussed bilateral ties, describing them as distinguished, strong, and exemplary in a framework of a strategic partnership… [and] said that Chirac had noted the EU's stance which saw President Yasser Arafat as the legitimate elected president of the Palestinian people…" [32]

*Steven Stalinsky is Executive Director of MEMRI



A. The Zayed Centre's Letter to Jurgen Molleman


July 06, 2002

Mr. Jurgen MollemanChairman of the Free Democrat Liberal Party
North-Rhine Westphalia
By e-mail:

Dear Mr. Molleman,

We, at the Zayed Centre for Coordination and Follow-Up, Abu Dhabi, UAE highly appreciate your impressive stances regarding the Jewish anti-Semitism claims. We also underscore your sincere efforts in promoting ties between the Arabs and Germans in your capacity as the President of German-Arab Society. Thus we seek to get closer to your thoughts and ideas and acquaint our audience with them.

Accordingly, we have the pleasure to invite you to give a lecture at Zayed Centre on one of the topics related to the controversy of Semitism, preferably during the month of October, 2002. The Centre will bear all expenses related to ticket and accommodation.

It is worth mentioning that ZAyed Centre for Coordination and Follow-Up is an independent political entity operating in AbuDhabi, UAE, under the umbrella of the League of Arab States. It aims primarily at promoting solidarity among all nations and

advocating cultural and human dialogue for furthering human fraternity and co-existence.

Our e-mail address is : and our Web site is:

Thank you in advance for your kind response, and looking forward to your early reply, please accept, sir, the assurances of my highest consideration.

Yours sincerely,

Mohammed Khalifa Al-Murrar
Executive Director

B. The Zayed Centre's Response to MEMRI's Report







C. Official Letters to the Zayed Centre








Home > News Releases Arabic | French




Jun 09, 2003

Letter from Yemen Foreign Ministry

26th May 2003

Republic of Yemen
Foreign Ministry


Mr. Mohammed Khalifa Al Murar
The Executive Director of Zayed
International Centre for Coordination and Follow-up

Dear Mr. Al Murar,

I have received your letter No. 1917/2003 dated 19/05/2003 on the aggressive campaign waged against your esteemed Centre by Zionist newspapers.

We seize this opportunity to appreciate the efforts made by your Centre. We also express our solidarity with you against these attacks and stand firmly to your side against any campaigns that seek to distort the Islamic values and try to damage Arabism and Islam.

Please, accept our high regard

Dr. Abu Bakr Abdullah Al Qarby
(For) The Foreign Minister

Copyright ©2000-2003. Zayed International Centre for Coordination and Follow-Up.
For quotations, please mention Zayed International Centre Website.







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Jun 30, 2003

Letter from Secretary General of Muslim World League

Muslim World League
Secretariat General
Makkah al-Mukarramah

Date : 30 june 2003

HE Mohammad Khalifa Al Murrar
Executive Director
Zayed International Centre for Coordination and Follow-Up

With reference to your letter No 1903/2003 dated 19/5/2003 on the aggressive media attacks waged by Zionist newspapers all over the world against Zayed International Center for Coordination and Follow-Up, I hereby denounce such efforts which primarily aim at degrading our Islamic institutions. This includes hindering their activities and keeping attention away from their commendable efforts.

In appreciation of the distinguished activity of Zayed International Centre in tackling various intellectual issues , the Muslim World League has the pleasure to cooperate with you. We also would like to seek your opinion on holding a joint symposium by the League and the Centre to discuss Samuel Huntington's theory on the clash of civilizations and its negative effects on the international community, together with shedding light on the tolerance of Islam and its call for peaceful co-existence across history.

May Allah Almighty guide us to the right path.

Dr. Abdulla Bin Abdul Muhsin Al-Turki
Secretary General of Muslim World League

Copyright ©2000-2003. Zayed International Centre for Coordination and Follow-Up.
For quotations, please mention Zayed International Centre Website.







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Sep 07, 2002

Syrian Information Minister Praises the role of ZCCF in advancing the Arab Cause

In a letter sent to ZCCF, the Syrian minister of information Mr. Adnan Omran lauded the role of ZCCF in promoting the Arab cause.

“In a very short time, it has managed to become the cultural bacon of the Arab World. It is considered one of the most remarkable achievements of HH Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. It is playing a pioneering role in publishing facts that confute Jewish claims and counters hostile media campaign against Arabs launched by western Jewish forums.”

HE Mr. Omran added, “Zayed Centre is the leading research and media centre in the Arab world. Its efforts are commendable as it has published scores of books and organized numerous seminars, symposiums and conferences dealing with various international and regional issues and in particular, the Arab-Israeli conflict. It has exposed the true Israeli picture by spotlighting the atrocities and flagrant violations of human rights perpetrated by Israeli forces against unarmed civilians in the occupied territories of Palestine.

HH the minister said, “the Zayed Centre enjoys great respect and appreciation in the eyes of the Arabs as well as foreign intelligentsia and academicians as it has served as a platform for exchange of views. The views presented are contributing to help decision-makers in the Arab world.

Copyright ©2000-2003. Zayed International Centre for Coordination and Follow-Up.
For quotations, please mention Zayed International Centre Website.




D. The Zayed Centre on the Front Page of Le Monde








[1] On May 24, 2003, the Zayed Centre issued a press release noting that its official name would be changed from “The Zayed Centre for Coordination and Follow-Up” to “The Zayed International Centre for Coordination and Follow-Up,”





[6] See MEMRI Special Report No. 16, “The Think Tank of the Arab League: The Zayed Centre for Coordination and Follow-Up (ZCCF),” The Think Tank of the Arab League: The Zayed Centre for Coordination and Follow-Up (ZCCF)

[7] Emirates News Agency (United Arab Emirates), May 5, 2003.


[9] Jurgen Molleman was also the Minister of Economy and Vice-Chancellor of Germany.


[11] On June 5, 2003, while under investigation for tax evasion, Mollemann died during a skydiving trip in which his parachute did not deploy. It is believed that his death was a suicide.



[14] Ibid.



[17] Muriel Mirak-Weissbach, Executive Intelligence Review, June 14, 2002,


[19] Many lectures and publications at the Zayed Centre praise suicide bombings. For example, on June 19, 2002, Father Atallah Hanna, the spokesman of the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem, spoke at the Zayed Centre, ( ). According to the Zayed Centre's summary of the lecture, Father Hanna stated that "the conduct of the Zionist movement is characterized by its racist nature, and that it is completely in contradiction with the Muslim and Christian values… He also denounced the Judaization process carried out by the Israeli government for the city of Jerusalem. In this regard, he mentioned the measures taken by Israel to empty the city of Muslims and Christian and replace them [with] Jewish settlers. As an eye witness of [the] Jenin massacre, he said that it had been the most horrible tragedy ever perpetrated against humanity… Answering a question on the Orthodox Church’s stance as regards suicide bombings, he said that Palestinian martyrdom is part [of] the Intifada which has to remain kindled until a resolution is achieved for the Palestinian cause… Introducing the speaker, prior to the lecture, Mr. Mohammed Khalifa Al-Murar, Executive Director of ZCCF, said that Father Atallah has an honorable record in his struggle against the Israeli occupation." A report about Father Atallah Hanna's speech appeared in the Gulf News the following day. The report quotes Father Hanna as saying that "political parties in Palestine agree to the continuation of the Intifada, which includes different approaches of struggle. Some freedom fighters adopt martyrdom or suicide bombing, while others opt for other measures. But all these struggles serve the continued Intifada for freedom. Therefore, we support all these causes… We are part of the Intifada, so you don't expect us to keep distance and watch. We are in the struggle, whether it's martyrdom or any other means, we are part of it." Shortly after his appearance at the Zayed Centre, Father Hanna was dismissed from his position as spokesman for the Church. In response, Father Hanna said "The decision to fire [me] is illegal, illegitimate, and baseless… I will not comply with the decision and I will carry out my daily duties as spokesman for the community without considering [this] decision." In fact, Father Hanna has continued to present himself as spokesman of the Church, and continued to publicly support suicide bombings.




[23] The controversy over a $2.5 million donation from Sheikh Zayed to Harvard University's Divinity School has received much attention.

On May 19, 2003, CBS Evening News ran a story about the controversy as faculty and students of the university are requesting that the donation be returned, given the controversial activities of the Zayed Centre. Speaking in defense of the Zayed Centre on CBS Evening News was James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, who stated that Harvard University's concern about the Zayed Centre "smacks of a witch hunt." Zogby added that "there is no relationship between Sheik Zayed and the Centre" (

According to the Zayed Centre's website, Zogby lectured at the Centre on July 9, 2001, but failed to disclose this in his interview ( ). In addition to supporting the Harvard Divinity School, Sheikh Zayed has also donated to other leading American universities, such as Georgetown's Centre for Contemporary Arab Studies, in which he has been described as "the oldest and most generous supporter of the centre."

According to its website, the Georgetown Centre is "the only academic institution in the United States devoted solely to the study of the modern Arab world. It was established in 1975 as an integral part of Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service…"

Former acting director of the Centre Dr. Michael Hudson, also the former president of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), is currently the Saif Ghobash Chair at Georgetown, which has been endowed by Sheikh Zayed. The Georgetown’s Center Board of Advisors includes Saudi Prince Turki Al-Faisal, who was formerly in charge of Saudi Arabia's intelligence service. Prince Turki has been named as a defendant in a lawsuit by families of victims of the September 11th attacks, which alleges that he has given material support to Osama bin Laden and Al-Qa'ida ( He has since been appointed as Saudi Arabia's ambassador to London. Other board members include Jihad Al-Khazen, the anti-American editor of the Arabic daily Al-Hayat and former U.S. assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs Robert Pelletrier.

[24] Al-Majalla, June 21, 2003.

[25] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (Palestinian Authority), April 14, 2003.




[29] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), July 2, 2003.

[30] ACMEDIAS website (Auditeurs Critiques des MEDIAS),


[32] Gulf News (United Arab Emirates), June 15, 2003,

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