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Howler of the Month (archive)

Anne Norton

"There is no more anti-Semitism in the West anymore. The 'Jewish Question' has been settled with equality."

Anne Norton, a political science professor at the University of Pennsylvania, speaking at the launch of Georgetown University's Bridges Initiative, a project of the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding devoted to "protecting pluralism – ending Islamophobia"; FrontPage Magazine, May 20, 2015. (link to source)

We Couldn't Have Said it Better (archive)

Paul Rivlin

"The desire to avoid an Orientalist bias generated an aversion to making judgments, except in contexts where the Middle East may have outperformed Europe, such as that of agricultural or scientific productivity in the early Middle Ages. As a result, Middle East experts avoid identifying deficiencies and do not explain their causes."

Paul Rivlin, senior research fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel Aviv University and professor in the Interdisciplinary Program in Philosophy and Jewish Thought at Shalem College in Jerusalem; "The Blame Game, Part 2," "Iqtisada: Middle East Economy," 5, no. 3 (March 19, 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

Professor Seeks Clarity in Turbulent Middle Eastern Issues [on David Romano]
May 26, 2015 - KSMU Radio

Hatem Bazian's Islamophobia Conference Sparsely Attended
May 24, 2015 - Pro-Israel Bay Bloggers

Report on the Big Islamophobia Conference at UC Berkeley [on Hatem Bazian]
May 23, 2015 - Fousesquawk Blog

Legitimizing Censorship: 'Islamophobia Studies' at Berkeley
May 23, 2015 - Jihad Watch

Major Jewish Groups: School Workshop Has Anti-Israel Bias, Flawed Pedagogy
May 22, 2015 - Jewish Business News

St. Bonaventure Announces New Center for Arab and Islamic Studies
May 21, 2015 - The Bradford Era

Salaita Hearing Canceled; Judge Will Issue Opinion By Mail
May 21, 2015 - The News-Gazette

Tweeting Islamist Propaganda [incl. John Esposito, Ann Norton]
May 20, 2015 - FrontPage Magazine

Common Core Teaches Kids to 'Divide Jerusalem'
May 20, 2015 - World Net Daily

The Power of Storytelling: Reza Aslan's Path to Riverside and Beyond
May 19, 2015 - The Highlander Newspaper (News of UC-Riverside)


Legitimizing Censorship: 'Islamophobia Studies' at Berkeley

By Cinnamon Stillwell | Sat, 23 May 2015, 1:19 PM | Permalink

"Islamophobia studies" is the latest addition to the academic pantheon of politicized, esoteric, and divisive "studies" whose purpose is to censor criticism of differing views by stigmatizing critics as racist or clinically insane. The University of California, Berkeley's recent Sixth Annual International Islamophobia Conference—organized by the Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project (IRDP)—was titled, "The State of the Islamophobia Studies Field." The problem is this "field" doesn't yet formally exist in the U.S., but that didn't stop speakers from engaging in victimology, academic jargon, and anti-Western rhetoric. Campus Watch West Coast representative Cinnamon Stillwell and contributor Rima Greene provide the details, and the latest CW research, at Jihad Watch:

The audience, including a number of women in hijabs (headscarves), ranged from twenty to fifty students and faculty members. Because the conference was preempted by another event, it had to shift between two venues. Adding to the confusion, the schedule was made available online only days before. While IRDP director and Near Eastern studies lecturer Hatem Bazian bragged at the outset that the conference livestream had garnered "seven thousand" viewers in 2014, this year, visual and audio problems often rendered it unwatchable.

In his introduction, Bazian apologized for these mishaps before launching into a glowing report about the alleged state of "Islamophobia studies," which, according to the IRDP website, "has witnessed rapid expansion in the past fifteen years." He claimed that the field had "come of age" in that there is "no longer . . . a debate over whether we should use the term or not" or if "it is real or not," except for "those who really don't want to confront Islamophobia" or "don't want to deal with the reality of what has taken place."

To read the entire article, please click here.


Bin Laden's Bookshelf: In the Shadow of Anders Breivik

By Winfield Myers | Thu, 21 May 2015, 11:00 PM | Permalink

On July 22, 2011, the Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik killed seventy-seven people in and near Oslo. Not long before he attacked, he emailed a 1,500-page document titled "2083: A European Declaration of Independence," which included conservative critics of radical Islam among his sources. Immediately, some in the media, academic, and think tank worlds declared these persons guilty by association and charged them with shaping Breivik's thought, even though the manifesto cited about the same number of liberals and conservatives.

Yesterday we were given a look inside the mind of another mass killer when the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released Bin Ladin's Bookshelf, a "sizable tranche of documents recovered during the raid on the compound used to hide Usama bin Ladin." The 409 items range from publicly available U.S. government documents to personal letters from bin Laden to family and fellow terrorists.

Continue to full text of posting...


Memo to Juan Cole: Iranian Regime Still Threatening to Annihilate Israel

By Cinnamon Stillwell | Wed, 13 May 2015, 4:55 PM | Permalink

Juan Cole

Someone should inform University of Michigan history professor Juan Cole that Mojtaba Zolnour, a top adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, has declared that the "government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has divine permission to destroy Israel." Cole's been dismissing the Iranian regime's countless threats to annihilate Israel for over a decade, either blaming "bad translations" for misinterpretation or describing them as mere "rhetorical hatred." As he put it last year at his blog, Informed Comment, "Equating hateful speech to an intent to launch aggressive warfare is silly." What's "silly" is not taking genocidal threats seriously, particularly from an enemy determined to build nuclear weapons.


UCLA Prof Khaled Abou El Fadl Condemns ISIS, But Does He Condemn Islamism?

By Cinnamon Stillwell | Tue, 12 May 2015, 6:29 PM | Permalink

Khaled Abou El Fadl

Given the apologias for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria's (ISIS) barbarism from the ranks of Middle East studies, it was encouraging to find the University of California, Los Angeles hosting the recent lecture, "ISIS's Enslavement and Trafficking of Women." The speaker, Khaled Abou El Fadl, Omar and Azmeralda Alfi Distinguished Professor of Law at UCLA, has a history of equivocating on Sharia (Islamic law) and other aspects of Islamism. Yet, in this instance, he provided insight into the regional, cultural, and ideological influences underlying ISIS's crimes, albeit in a rambling, disorganized manner. In the latest Campus Watch research, CW West Coast representative Cinnamon Stillwell and journalist Adelle Nazarian report on his lecture. Their article appears today at Jihad Watch:

A room reserved for 150 people at UCLA Law School swallowed the thirty who attended, a mix of students, parents, and faculty members. Perhaps embarrassed at the low turnout, Abou El Fadl stated at the outset: "There are tons and tons of people who believe they know and speak as if they know" about Islam, "but have very little interest in actually learning anything." He further assured the audience that, "numbers do not reflect quality, so I will believe as a matter of conviction that you are worth a thousand because you are special people."

These "special people" soon discovered just how elusive was the subject of Abou El Fadl's lecture, for he spent the entire first half discussing human trafficking, only occasionally referencing ISIS. After explaining that, "It's not very effective to take an issue out of the totality of its context," he promised to eventually "get to the Muslim context of these things."

To read the entire article, please click here.


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