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Wednesday, 26 September, 2001, 11:22 GMT 12:22 UK
Bin Laden family's Harvard donations
Harvard has promised $1m for victims of terrorism
Harvard University received millions of dollars in donations from the family of Osama Bin Laden in the 1990s.

And there are now calls for the university to give similar sums to charities supporting the victims of attacks on the United States.

Harvard's local city council in Cambridge has voted for a proposal suggesting that the university should donate $5m to support victims' families.

This resolution replaced a previous proposal by a councillor identifying $5m as the amount donated by the Bin Laden family - and suggesting that an equal amount should be handed over to charity.

Osama Bin Laden
Osama Bin Laden has been disowned by his family

But the university says that it has already promised $1m in support for scholarships for victims' families.

And it says that the Bin Laden family, which has disowned terror suspect Osama Bin Laden, had only given $2m to the university.

The university also made clear that the money, which was donated in 1993 and which stems from the family's construction business, had no connection with any kind of terrorist activity.

The money helped to fund visiting fellows in Islamic architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and visiting professors in Islamic law at the Harvard law school.


Harvard's donation of $1m to victims' families, announced by the university's president Lawrence Summers, will provide "scholarship assistance for the children and spouses of victims".

"These scholarships will be based on need and may be used to attend colleges and universities across the country."

The president also urged tolerance towards all communities - a message that follows earlier reassurances sent to the university's Muslim students.

Although large by the standards of gifts to universities in the United Kingdom, the $2m received by Harvard is only a small proportion of its income from donations.

A five-year fund raising campaign in the 1990s brought in $2.3bn - contributing to an endowment fund which last year had exceeded $19bn.

See also:

12 Nov 00 | Education
Gates gives $25m to Harvard
18 Sep 01 | South Asia
Who is Osama Bin Laden?
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