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Howler of the Month (archive)

Mark LeVine

"[The Islamic State] is as real a form of expression of Islam as the violent and chauvinist Israeli settler movement is to Judaism or as extreme Hindu nationalism, Rahkine Buddhism and militant Christianity are to their religions in India, Myanmar and the United States."

Mark LeVine, professor of Middle Eastern history at the University of California, Irvine, in "The Falsehoods in President Obama's Speech on the Islamic State"; Aljazeera , September 13, 2014. (link to source)

We Couldn't Have Said it Better (archive)

David Cook

"To say that ISIS doesn't have anything to do with Islam is just the statement of an ignoramus or an apologist. There is support for the things that ISIS does inside the Koran. There's support for things like beheading and different exemplary punishments that you can easily find."

David Cook, associate professor of religion at Rice University, as quoted in "Is ISIS a Faith-based Terrorist Group?" by Christopher Massie; Columbia Journalism Review, September 17, 2014. (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

Bigoted American Studies Assocation Reverses Course on Israel Boycott
October 20, 2014 - National Review Online

University's Middle East Library is Home to "Enthusiastic" Librarian
October 19, 2014 - Daily Utah Chronicle (newspaper of the University of Utah)

Pakistani Rock Band Khumariyaan Gets Connecticut College Dancing — And Thinking [incl. Sufia Uddin]
October 17, 2014 - Connecticut College News

American Studies Association Event at LA Westin Hotel Restricts Participation by Israelis
October 17, 2014 - The Washington Post

MSU Welcomes Professor Michael Gunter to Speak on Combating ISIS, Aiding Kurds
October 16, 2014 - KSMU Radio (news of Missouri State University)

Author Moustafa Bayoumi Discusses Gaza Conflict
October 16, 2014 - News of Colgate University

Is the Islamic State the Islamic 'Reformation'? [incl. Tariq Ramadan]
October 15, 2014 - FrontPage Magazine

Jewish Boycotts, Then and Now
October 15, 2014 -

NCSU to Create Lebanese Diaspora Center with $8.1 Million Grant
October 15, 2014 - Technician Online (student newspaper of N.C. State University)

AAUP Foundation's Academic Freedom Fund Awards Grant to Steven Salaita
October 15, 2014 - The Daily Illini (student newspaper of the University of Illinois)


MESA Letter on Gaza Aid Ignores Hamas, Blames Israel

By Cinnamon Stillwell | Thu, 16 Oct 2014, 2:58 PM | Permalink

MESA president Nathan J. Brown

The Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA) has sent a letter to the recent "International Conference for the Reconstruction of Gaza" expressing "grave concern over Israel's indiscriminate bombardment and destruction of Palestinian educational institutions" and recommending that "international donors . . . hold Israel accountable" by insisting that aid be contingent upon ending "the blockade and other policies of military occupation" that allegedly imperil "academic freedom and the right to education" in the Gaza strip.

The letter relies upon the notoriously biased United Nations for its obviously inflated figures. Worse, it makes no mention whatsoever of Hamas's rocket attacks on Israeli civilians, or its kidnapping and murder of Israeli citizens, both of which precipated Israel's military action. Also conveniently omitted is Hamas's calculated use of human shields and UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) facilities.

MESA has a long history of issuing one-sided letters accusing Israel of supposed restrictions on academic freedom, as these from 2013, 2012, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2003, 2002, and 2001 demonstrate.

But rest assured, writes MESA president and George Washington University professor Nathan J. Brown, MESA's role is merely "to promote scholarship and teaching on the Middle East and North Africa."


Anti-Semite Prof. Ali Mazrui Dies

By Winfield Myers | Mon, 13 Oct 2014, 5:09 PM | Permalink

Ali Mazrui, who directed the Institute for Global Cultural Studies at SUNY Binghamton, has died at 81. Although the BBC is calling him a "towering intellectual figure," at a 2010 Columbia U. conference he said that Jews had "a certain kind of impurity" that led them to be "like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," but now they have "landed with Mr. Hyde's evil identity." And that "even U.S. presidents are scared [of them]."


Muqtedar Khan Says Muslim Scholars Must 'Break the Theological Claims of Extremism'; So Must He

By Winfield Myers | Fri, 10 Oct 2014, 10:51 AM | Permalink

Muqtedar Khan

In "Muslim Scholars Must Break the Theological Claims of Extremism," an October 7 entry to the New York Times' Room for Debate blog, University of Delaware political scientist Muqtedar Khan states the obvious: "Muslims have an extremism problem." So, in fact, does Khan.

He writes:

Many Islamic groups condemned both Boko Haram and ISIS as un-Islamic. This is a welcome development. But they did not also condemn the Salafi theology that underpins the literal and shallow understanding of Islamic principles that inform groups such as ISIS.


The work of Islamic scholars such as Ibn Taymiyyah, Syed Qutb and Abdul Wahhab, those who inspire the extremists, must be deconstructed and contextualized.

Intellectually eviscerated and utterly discredited would be better, but at least he sees these authors as problems.

But will he apply these criticisms to himself and rein in his own extremism, as illustrated in the following examples? In 2007, Khan refused to serve on a student-organized panel on "Anti-Americanism in the Middle East" with a veteran of the Israeli Defense Force who had served in the West Bank because, he wrote:

I am also not sure how I feel about being on the same panel with an Israeli soldier who was stationed in West Bank. Some people see IDF as an occupying force in the West Bank. I am not sure that I will be comfortable occupying the same space with him. It is not fair to spring this surprise on me at the last moment.

Continue to full text of posting...


Muslim Scholars Condemn ISIS, Or Do They?

By Cinnamon Stillwell | Tue, 7 Oct 2014, 12:56 PM | Permalink

Over 120 Muslim leaders and scholars, including UC Berkeley's Hatem Bazian, Hamza Yusuf of Zaytuna College, and Brandeis University's Joseph E.B. Lumbard, have signed an open letter to the Islamic State (ISIS) disputing the theological basis for ISIS's heinous actions. Yet Ayman S. Ibrahim, a PhD candidate in Islamic studies at Fuller Theological Seminary, points out at First Things that "the statement is ambiguous in crucial areas, which not only weaken its argument, but also question whether it is truly a rigorous and valid refutation of ISIS's deeds and claims."


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