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Northwestern journalism professor counts Yemeni terrorism supporter among his ‘comrades’

‘Respect from Yemen’

Northwestern University is investigating a professor who clashed with police at an anti-Israel demonstration – but did not answer questions about his speech to protesters that quoted the son of a late Houthi official.

Journalism instructor Steven Thrasher attended a “Gaza solidarity encampment” in April and can be seen giving a speech that began with “words from two comrades.”

One of them was Ahmed Hassan, whose X account is littered with praise for Islamic terrorist groups and the Iranian military.

Hassan is the son of Hassan Zaid, a Houthi youth minister assassinated in 2020.

“Respect from Yemen,” Hassan said in his message to students, according to Thrasher’s speech posted online. “From a young Yemeni man who lost his father due to his opposition to the Zionist regime.”

“You are the frontline defenders of humanity, not just in Gaza!” Hassan said. “Gaza is just the beginning… Push the rock uphill… Swim against the current… If necessary, be the current itself! Be the rock… Be the mountain… But beware of retreat and surrender!”

The College Fix asked Thrasher via email and Instagram message how he came into contact with Hassan and why he considers him an ally but did not receive a response to three inquiries sent in the past week.

Northwestern’s media team also did not respond to two emails asking if it is acceptable for its faculty to associate with people who promote terrorists. The Fix left a voicemail with the media office on Tuesday.

“Thank you for sharing my words in your speech,” Hassan told Thrasher publicly on X. “You made my day.”

Thrasher, the head of “social justice in reporting” at Northwestern, replied, “Thank you!”

During his speech, titled “Our Work is Love,” the journalism professor also dismissed the idea of objectivity.

To the Medill students and journalists within ear shot, I say to you: our work is not about objectivity,” he said. “Our work is not about ‘scooping’ one another. Our work is about you putting your brilliant minds to work, and opening your compassionate hearts, and linking your arms together understanding all of our fates are interconnected.”

Hassan sees many other allies beyond American college campuses, according to screenshots compiled by The Fix.

Hassan recently shared a post in Arabic that said, “May God be satisfied with Hamas” and wrote “Hamas is winning.”

The terrorist group killed around 1,200 people, including small children, raped women, and took hundreds of hostages during its October 2023 attack on Israel.

“Israel is losing,” Hassan posted on April 6. “Soon enough, it will ask all the citizens to join the army[.] Hamas will end them all[.]”

In other posts, Hassan wrote “Hezbollah” with a supportive heart emoji and posted pictures of the flag of the Lebanese group, which has killed hundreds of Americans.

Hassan also reacted positively to a post celebrating “solidarity” between Iran and Yemen against Israel and reposted a user who said, “Love live Ansar Allah,” a reference to the Houthi rebels.

Thrasher, a Medill School of Journalism professor, has participated in anti-Israel demonstrations at multiple universities in recent weeks. At Northwestern, he helped physically block police officers from entering the so-called encampment that the university said violated campus policy.

He later wrote on X, “We were successful. We locked arms and kept the police at bay. They retreated.”

Northwestern said it is investigating whether Thrasher “used force on University personnel” and that “he will be disciplined” if so, the Washington Free Beacon reported in April.

The encampment ended after Northwestern reached an agreement with protesters that involved full-ride scholarships to five Palestinian students and other concessions, as previously reported by The Fix.

MORE: Police used to clear pro-Palestinian UC San Diego encampment, arrests made

IMAGES: Steve Thrasher/X; Saya/X

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About the Author
College Fix contributor Hudson Crozier is a student at the University of North Texas studying journalism and political science. He is senior contributor for Upward News and has also written for The Federalist, Red Liberty Media, and others.