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Howler of the Month (archive)

Reza Aslan

"By easing sanctions and giving Iranians . . . access to the rest of the world, a nuclear deal may accomplish what all Iranians in Southern California . . . dream of: an Iran that is a responsible actor on the global stage, that respects the rights of its citizens and that has warm relations with the rest of the world."

Reza Aslan, University of California, Riverside creative writing professor, on the Obama administration's Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action for Iran's nuclear program; "What Do Iranian-Americans Think of the Nuclear Deal?" The New York Times, July 3, 2015. (link to source)

We Couldn't Have Said it Better (archive)

Bernard Haykel

"[I]n the Western social sciences, there's a holy trinity that tries to explain all social phenomena through the lens of one of three analytical categories: race, class, and gender. . . . And I often see many colleagues who want to push very hard against the idea that ISIS is a religious movement or that Islam has anything to do with the Islamic State. . . . [I]f you look at the cultural production, the intellectual production, the legal and theological production of ISIS, which is plentiful on the Web, there is no question that this is a movement that's drawing on a very particular strain or trend within the Islamic intellectual history, legal history, theological history."

Bernard Haykel, professor of Near Eastern studies and director of the Institute for Transregional Study of the Contemporary Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia at Princeton University, speaking at the Ethics & Public Policy Center's May 2015 Faith Angle Forum; "The Islamic State: Understanding its Ideology and Theology," May 3-5, 2015. (link to source)

CAMPUS WATCH, a project of the Middle East Forum, reviews and critiques Middle East studies in North America with an aim to improving them. The project mainly addresses five problems: analytical failures, the mixing of politics with scholarship, intolerance of alternative views, apologetics, and the abuse of power over students. Campus Watch fully respects the freedom of speech of those it debates while insisting on its own freedom to comment on their words and deeds.

The Latest on Campus

Pro-Israel and Arab Groups Wrangle Over Arabic Instruction in San Francisco Schools
September 1, 2015 - Al Jazeera America

Meet the Iran Lobby [incl. Robert Pape and Reza Aslan]
September 1, 2015 - Tablet Magazine

America's First Islamic University Starts Academic Journey
September 1, 2015 - Today's Zaman

The Original Truck People [incl. Juan Cole]
August 31, 2015 - Commentary Magazine

The Big Questions: Life And Death in the Middle East [on David Romano]
August 30, 2015 - Springfield News-Leader

Salaita Files Motion Against University of Illinois Charging Intentional Destruction of Evidence
August 29, 2015 - The College Fix

Iranians, Israel-Haters Dominate Pro-Nuke Deal 'Experts' Letter [incl. Hamid Dabashi, John Esposito, Rashid Khalidi, Reza Aslan]
August 27, 2015 - Breitbart News

73 Prominent International Relations Scholars Say Iran Deal Will Help Stabilize Middle East
August 27, 2015 - National Iranian American Council

Salaita Files Motion Against University of Illinois For Destroying Evidence
August 27, 2015 - The Daily Illini

Judge Reinstates Motion on Evidence in Salaita Suit
August 27, 2015 - The News-Gazette


Politicizing Arabic Instruction in San Francisco Schools

By Cinnamon Stillwell | Wed, 2 Sep 2015, 5:43 PM | Permalink

Lara Kiswani

The San Francisco Unified School District is embroiled in a controversy that demonstrates the pervasiveness of politicization in Arabic instruction. According to, the school board has approved a resolution for "K-12 Arabic and Vietnamese language and culture classes beginning in the 2017-18 school year." In order to create "culturally appropriate professional development opportunities for school faculty," the district plans to work with the Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC), a fiercely anti-Israel, pro-BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) local organization whose website blames global "repression" on "U.S. imperialism and Zionism."

Lara Kiswani, AROC's executive director and cofounder of the UC Davis chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, is notorious for having declared at a 2014 UC Berkeley BDS panel discussion, "Bringing down Israel will really benefit everyone in the world" and, to a Jewish graduate student's concerns about anti-Semitism, responding, "As long as you continue to be on that side [of Zionism] I'm going to continue to hate you."

Opposition from Jewish community leaders and others has prompted the school board to issue an apology and to reconsider "whether to retain or drop AROC." As president Emily Murase put it, "Clearly we want to make sure it [the Arabic language and teaching program] does not contain political agendas." The board's decision will determine whether or not teaching Arabic entails indoctrinating children with the political biases of that troubled region.


Middle East Studies Profs Team with Iran Lobby to Push Deal

By Cinnamon Stillwell | Fri, 28 Aug 2015, 2:57 PM | Permalink

The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) has produced a letter promoting the Obama administration's nuclear deal with Iran (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) signed by "73 prominent International Relations and Middle East scholars." Among the latter are Richard Bulliet, John Esposito, Fawaz Gerges, Rashid Khalidi, Hamid Dabashi, William O. Beeman, Juan Cole, and Reza Aslan.

A recent Campus Watch article on Middle East studies academics toeing Teheran's line in support of this deal includes the last four and clearly, they have company. The fact that NIAC is an Iran lobby group whose advisory board includes both Aslan and Cole demonstrates the willingness of these academics to further state-sponsored propaganda. It's also proof of the Iranian regime's ability—as with other Islamist lobbies—to infiltrate American university life. NIAC received funds from the Alavi Foundation (which funneled $345,000 to Harvard's Center for Middle East Studies) until Alavi was closed for being a front-group for Tehran's mullahs.

Continue to full text of posting...


IPT on Lincoln Prof Kaukab Siddique's 'Incitement to Violence'

By Cinnamon Stillwell | Wed, 26 Aug 2015, 3:14 PM | Permalink

The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) analyzes Lincoln University professor Kaukab Siddique's long history of bigoted, pro-terrorist commentary, accusing him of "incitement to violence." IPT interviews Siddique's frequent target, Pamela Geller, along with Pennsylvania Senator Anthony Hardy Williams, who has called on the university to take action against the tenured professor based on possible violations of its professional conduct code.


BDS Profs vs. the Muslim Leadership Institute

By Cinnamon Stillwell | Fri, 21 Aug 2015, 2:43 AM | Permalink

Abdullah Antepli

Who would object to a program that sends American Muslims to Israel to meet with Jewish, Muslim, and Christian residents in order "to explore how Jews understand Judaism, Israel, and Jewish peoplehood"? Answer: Middle East studies professors intent on scuttling coexistence in favor of delegitimizing Israel through the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement. Today at FrontPage Magazine, Campus Watch West Coast representative Cinnamon Stillwell explains why the Muslim Leadership Institute and its co-director, Duke University's Abdullah Antepli, were declared traitors to the "cause":

Participants in the Muslim Leadership Institute (MLI), a program of the Shalom Hartman Institute (SHI) founded and directed by Duke University chaplain Imam Abdullah Antepli and author Yossi Klein Halevi, partake in two twelve-day seminars at the SHI campus in Jerusalem. The program includes visits to religious and historic sites, northern Israeli Arab communities, and the West Bank.

Since its inception in 2013, MLI has met with fierce resistance from the BDS movement, including Middle East studies professors who coauthored at least two petitions this year aimed at shutting it down.

To read the entire article, please click here.


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