NYC Terrorism Class Has Students “Hypothetically Plan a Terrorist Attack”

Posted by on Oct 29, 2012 at 9:30 am

We wonder what they have to do for extra credit.

It’s Terrorism 101.

A New York University class on transnational terrorism is requiring students to “hypothetically plan a terrorist attack” — and shocked cops say the outrageous lesson plan is an insult to the officers killed on Sept. 11.

The controversial course, taught by former Navy criminal investigator Marie-Helen Maras, asks the pupils to “step into [a terrorist’s] shoes” and write a 10- to 15-page paper on their battle plan.

“Some of the most notorious terrorists, including Anwar al-Awlaki, got their start on American campuses. It looks like after the CIA killed al-Awlaki, NYU is helping to produce successors,” said an outraged law-enforcement expert on terrorism.

Awlaki was the al Qaeda propagandist who studied at Colorado State University and later mentored three 9/11 hijackers, Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan and “underwear bomber” Umar Farouk Adbulmutallab.

He was blasted to hell in Yemen last year in a CIA drone strike.

For the assignment, Maras — who has a Ph.D. from Oxford and is also an associate professor at SUNY Farmingdale — instructs her pupils to consider all aspects of the attack.

“In your paper, you must describe your hypothetical attack and what will happen in the aftermath of the attack,” Maras wrote in the syllabus obtained by The Post.

They must factor in the methods of execution, sources of funding, number of operatives needed and the target government’s reaction, according to the paper’s outline.

At the same time, students must realistically stay within their chosen terror group’s “goals, capabilities, tactical profile, targeting pattern and operational area,” the syllabus states.

Given the detail required — and possibly concerned that the how-to terror manuals could land in the wrong hands — Maras warns that each page of a student’s paper must bear the disclaimer: “This is a hypothetical scenario for a university course on transnational terrorism.”


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One Response to “NYC Terrorism Class Has Students “Hypothetically Plan a Terrorist Attack””

  1. jd on 29/29/12 at 10:04 am

    i kinda don’t have a problem with this. i think it would be very instructive to try such an exercise to at least build some awareness as to potential threats.

    still, if the teacher gave the students the latitude to choose their own targets, i would be interested to see the strike list.

    interesting point: this would be the one case where a student could hypothetically threaten a teacher’s life.