Bahrain King’s Professorship in Rome Worth $2M Funded Through Group Run By Scottish Expatriate
This weekend a contentious delegation from Bahrain were sent to Israel, purportedly to “send a message of peace” from the Royal family. This occurred just after US President Donald Trump’s controversial unilateral decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. An investigation by Bahrain Watch shows that central to the delegation was a right wing advisor to Donald Trump, who has helped “This is Bahrain” build ties with anti-Palestine individuals and organisations over the past year.
Rev. Johnny Moore, a member of President Trump’s Evangelical Executive Advisory Board, travelled with the delegation to Jerusalem. He owns a public relations firm catering especially to leaders who want to promote their public image to “faith-based” audiences. Moore visited Bahrain in April 2017, holding meetings with senior members of the government, then helped “This is Bahrain” to develop a document of ‘religious tolerance’ launched in the King’s name at the right-wing Simon Wiesenthal Centre.
“This is Bahrain” is a pro-government PR roadshow, fronted by Scottish born Betsy Mathieson, who is often seen in the company of the King. It grew out of her supposed NGO, the Bahrain Federation of Expatriate Associations (BFEA), which she founded and used to defend Bahrain’s ruling family and security forces amidst the crushing repression they had inflicted. Mathieson launched ‘This is Bahrain’, touring it to cities across the globe including London, Berlin, Brussels, Paris and now Jerusalem
Neither BFEA or ‘This is Bahrain’ disclose their funding, although their close proximity to the ruling family is clear. Our investigation reveals that a full time professorship, titled the “King Hamad Chair for Interfaith Dialogue and Peaceful Coexistence”, is extensively funded through BFEA. The position, established at the Sapienza University of Rome by the King’s son Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, was created in 2016 and will be funded for 15 years at a cost of over $2 million.
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