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Howler of the Month (archive)

Ahmed Abou-Zaid

"Saudi women are pretty pampered. They don't drive; they have drivers and you might think they are deprived of one thing, but they are provided with another. Saudi women are treated as queens in their homes."

Ahmed Abou-Zaid, an economics professor at Eastern Illinois University, speaking on the "Conversation on Middle Eastern Culture" panel; The Daily Eastern News, April 16, 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

Take It Down [incl. William Beeman]
May 5, 2015 - Inside Higher Ed

Where Was Rabab Abdulhadi?
May 4, 2015 - Fousesquawk Blog

Anti-Semitism Goes to School [incl. As'ad AbuKhalil]
May 4, 2015 - Mosaic Magazine

Taxpayers Made To Pay For Islamic Indoctrination In US University [on Hatem Bazian, incl. Rebab Abdulhadi]
May 4, 2015 -

Rumee Ahmed's Reformist Approach to Sharia a Refreshing Break with Academic Apologists
May 2, 2015 - Jihad Watch

U of Illinois May Be Censured in Firing of Anti-Israel Professor [on Steven Salaita]
May 1, 2015 - Newsmax

Princeton Is 'Quiet Ivy' No More as Raucous Israel Debate Roils Campus [incl. Daniel Kurtzer, Max Weiss]
April 30, 2015 - Forward

Reza Aslan Talks About Islamophobia at UC Riverside
April 30, 2015 - Fousesquawk Blog

Professors' Association: University of Illinois Violated Professor's Rights in Withdrawing Offer [on Steven Salaita]
April 30, 2015 - Jewish Telegraphic Agency

University of Virginia Hosts Author, Professor to Discuss Thomas Jefferson, Islam [on Denise Spellberg]
April 30, 2015 - The Cavalier Daily (news of University of Virginia)


Rumee Ahmed's Reformist Approach to Sharia a Refreshing Break with Academic Apologists

By Winfield Myers | Mon, 4 May 2015, 11:00 AM | Permalink

Rumee Ahmed

We've long since become accustomed to the apologias from Middle East studies scholars for Sharia (Islamic law). It's benign, they claim, and fully compatible with America's constitutional order. So when one of them critiques Sharia and acknowledges the urgent need for reform, it's newsworthy. Writing for Campus Watch, Andrew Harrod reports on a recent lecture by Rumee Ahmed. The essay appeared Saturday at Jihad Watch:

In a refreshing departure from Sharia apologias common in Middle East studies, University of British Columbia Islamic law professor Rumee Ahmed rejected the "myth" of Sharia (Islamic law) as a "static, fixed, reified entity" on April 22 in the Georgetown University Center for Contemporary Arab Studies' wood-paneled boardroom. Ahmed's presentation, "Shari'a 2.0: Islamic Systematics and the Science of Islamic Legal Reform" before a student-dominated audience of about fifteen, demonstrated simultaneously Sharia's all-too human origins as well as its embedded dangers.

To read the rest of this essay, please click here.


Middle East Specialists Missing in Action from Harvard 'Peace' Conference

By Cinnamon Stillwell | Thu, 30 Apr 2015, 5:07 PM | Permalink

Harvard University recently held what was billed as "a first-of-its kind student conference" titled, "Economic Prosperity for Peace," which promised to explore "the idea of the private sector creating stability and laying the groundwork for peace in the Middle East through entrepreneurship, education and economic prosperity."

While it's encouraging to see higher education initiating a productive approach to achieving peace in the Arab-Israeli conflict, the fact that no specialists in the region were involved is significant. Instead, the host and organizers (Harvard Business School and a group of Arab, Israeli, and American students from Harvard and MIT) all hail from the business/private enterprise sector. Too many Middle East studies academics are busy issuing apologias for Palestinian intransigence and promoting BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) against Israel, neither of which are a boon to coexistence.


Reza Aslan Hypes 'Islamophobia'

By Cinnamon Stillwell | Wed, 29 Apr 2015, 5:55 PM | Permalink

Reza Aslan

The subject of "Islamophobia" is all the rage in Middle East studies and throughout academe, which is doing its utmost to distract attention from the backdrop of supremacism, dysfunction, and bellicosity in the region. In the latest Campus Watch research, CW West Coast representative Cinnamon Stillwell reports on recent lecture from UC Riverside professor Reza Aslan titled, "Islamophobia: The Real Enemy." Her article appears today at Jihad Watch:

At an April 13 lecture at the University of California, Riverside, UCR creative writing professor and self-styled expert on Islam and the Middle East Reza Aslan employed biased sources, isolated statistics, and ad hominem attacks to blame critics of radical Islam for the alleged rise in "Islamophobia" in post-9/11 America.

"Islamophobia: The Real Enemy" was delivered before a student-dominated audience of some three hundred who laughed heartily at Aslan's fashionably anti-American jokes, clearly responding to his personable, hip demeanor. Dressed casually in jeans, no tie, and an untucked shirt, he was, effectively, one of them.

Aslan explained that, "as a Middle Easterner, as a Muslim" Islamophobia was "a personal issue" that had been "brought home on a personal level."

To read the entire article, please click here.


Don't Believe the Hype about Zaytuna College

By Winfield Myers | Wed, 29 Apr 2015, 10:53 AM | Permalink

Hatem Bazian

Despite the media's enthusiasm over the recent news that Zaytuna College in Berkeley has been accredited, the size and quality of the school have been greatly exaggerated. Writing for Campus Watch, Stephen Schwartz reveals the truth behind the story: a Muslim college founded by a trio of Islamists, including UC Berkeley's Hatem Bazian, with a small footprint but big friends in the press and academe. Schwartz's article appears today at American Thinker:

The accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) of tiny Zaytuna College, an Islamist project with seventeen professors and fifty students in Berkeley, California that has been called "America's first Muslim liberal arts college," has been lauded -- and misrepresented -- in the mainstream press. A Religion News Service article reprinted in the Washington Post and elsewhere, including the Christian Century, described Zaytuna as "A college that requires the study of both Wordsworth and the Quran for graduation... now the first fully accredited Islamic university in America."

To read the rest of this essay, please click here.


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