He Endorsed Hamas, Hezbollah, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Then He Landed a Professorship at Columbia University.

Mohamed Abdou said he was 'with Hamas' just days before joining Ivy League school

Mohamed Abdou (
February 27, 2024

During a Jan. 5 interview with socialist podcast Revolutionary Left Radio, Islamic scholar Mohamed Abdou declared his support for Hamas and "the resistance." The terror group's "dedicated few," he said admiringly, worked in "stealth mode" on Oct. 7 to defeat a "larger enemy" in Israel.

Just days later, on Jan. 16, Columbia University's Middle East Institute extended a "warm welcome" to Abdou, the Ivy League school's latest visiting professor in modern Arab studies.

As part of that role, Abdou teaches a weekly class on "Decolonial-Queerness & Abolition," where his students discuss "transnational feminist discourses" and "queer of color critiques." The self-described "Muslim anarchist" has also emerged as a friend to Columbia's anti-Israel community. In a Feb. 11 social media post, Abdou revealed that he organized a protest in which Columbia students interrupted a panel featuring Hillary Clinton. One demonstrator called the former secretary of state a "war criminal" who "will burn" before chanting, "Free, free Palestine."

"Really proud of these students & deeply honoured to have been a part of organising this," Abdou wrote.

Columbia's embrace of Abdou reflects what some Jewish students have described as a "severe and pervasive antisemitic hostile educational environment" seen on the school's campus in the wake of Oct. 7.

At Columbia Law School, for example, administrators stood by in November as anti-Israel protesters took over the school's lobby in an unauthorized protest that disrupted classes for hours. Roughly one month later, a Columbia student group announced an event honoring the "significance of the Oct. 7 Palestinian counteroffensive." Similar demonstrations have plagued the school's ongoing spring semester—last month, students chanted for an "intifada" against Jews during a campus rally.

Those incidents and others sparked a congressional investigation into Columbia's handling of campus anti-Semitism. The school's decision to bring Abdou to campus, however, suggests that Columbia administrators are in no hurry to change course.

Abdou, a former Cornell University research fellow whose website identifies him as an "interdisciplinary scholar of Indigenous, Black, critical race, and Islamic studies," has a long history of praising Hamas and its Oct. 7 attack.

During a November interview on "Islam and Anarchism," Abdou praised Hamas terrorists for being "really … organized" on Oct. 7, calling on anti-Israel activists around the world to adopt their tactics.

"The warriors, the resistance fighters that were in Hamas, numbered less than 1,500 and look how they flipped the table—not only on an entire settler colonial state with no definable borders, but rather on the whole world," he said. "You don't need mass movements to change the world. You need a dedicated thousand, 1,500, a few thousand, that really are organized and know what it is that they're doing, what they're fighting for."

Abdou echoed that rhetoric days later during a "round table conversation" titled "Palestine 1492: Settler-Colonialism, Solidarity, & Resistance."

"Look what 1,500 warriors were able to do, to whatever extent that we agree or disagree or partially accept, or whatever, Hamas or not," he said. "But ultimately, I support the resistance."

Abdou offered a more explicit endorsement of Hamas four days after the terrorist group's attack on Israel. "Yes, I'm with the muqawamah (the resistance) be it Hamas and Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad," he wrote in an Oct. 11 Facebook post, which also lamented "false reports accusing Arabs and Muslims of decapitating the heads of children and being rapists." Months later, Abdou's assessment remained the same.

"I might be with Hamas and support the resistance, absolutely," the Columbia professor told Revolutionary Left Radio in January. "Look what 1,500 did … they were organized and they worked in stealth mode and they divested."

"And nobody expected that this was the direction that Hamas and the Hamas leadership, or at least the political leadership, was going to take," Abdou continued. "But look what the dedicated few [did] … how much a small group have defeated a larger enemy."

Neither Columbia nor Abdou responded to requests for comment. Abdou's role as a visiting professor will keep the Islamic scholar on Columbia's campus through the spring 2024 semester. Abdou on his website acknowledges that the campus sits "on the ancestral and traditional homelands of the Lenni-Lenape and Wappinger peoples."

While Abdou has already worked to organize anti-Israel protests at Columbia, he encourages those who oppose the Jewish state to go further.

"DON'T just go to Pro-Palestinian rallies DON'T just post on social media," he wrote in November. "ORGANIZE revolutionary alternatives to capitalism & the state ON THE LAND you live alongside BIPOC kin who share similar anti-imperialist & anti-settler-colonial ETHICAL-POLITICAL commitments as YOU."