Middle East studies in the News
Obama Adviser: American 'Fairness,' 'Equality' Just Wrong [incl. Rashid Khalidi]
President Obama's faith adviser, Eboo Patel, declared that everything he was taught about Christopher Columbus, Thomas Jefferson and American "fairness" and "equality" was wrong.
The statements by Patel mark the latest in a series of controversial remarks about the U.S. to be reported by WND.
In February 2010, Obama named Patel to his Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
Patel, a Muslim activist, is the founder and executive director of Chicago-based Interfaith Youth Core, which says it promotes pluralism by teaming people of different faiths on service projects.
"It is impossible for me to overstate the impact of Dorothy Day and Christian social justice work, because it came at such a fragile and flammable time of my life," he stated.
Continued Patel: "Basically, and this happens to a lot of people, you come to consciousness and realize that everything you were taught was wrong – about fairness, about equality, about Christopher Columbus, about Thomas Jefferson.
"At 17 or 18 years old, I raged. I felt like that was the only thing I knew how to do, and, to an extent, that was what was encouraged in the kind of identity politics/social justice crowds that were around."
Patel's reference to "rage" comes from his book, where he talked about rage he felt against the U.S. after claiming to experience prejudice.
Patel stated the Catholic Worker movement gave him a "way to have a radical view of the world – radical equality, radical peace, radical possibility – that is love-based, not anger-based."
Sojourners magazine is the publication of a ministry by the same name professing a devotion to the pursuit of "social justice." Sojourners was founded by Jim Wallis, who is also a member of Obama's faith council.
Patel compared U.S. Christians to al-Qaida
WND has unearthed a series of controversial remarks by Patel.
Last week, WND reported Patel compared al-Qaida to what he called Christian "totalitarians" in the U.S. and Jewish "totalitarians" in Israel.
Earlier, WND reported Patel blasted what he called the "myths" of America – describing them as beliefs that the country is "a land of freedom and equality and justice."
Patel explained how he used the "faith-based movement" to channel his rage at America "in a direction far more compassionate and far more merciful."
Patel further implied that had he grown up in the 1960s, he may have joined the Weather Underground terrorist group led by William Ayers.
Like Obama, Patel is deeply tied to Ayers.
In 2005, he co-authored a book with Ayers' adopted son, Chesa Boudin.
The book, "Letters from Young Activists: Today's Rebels Speak Out," was co-written by several young radicals, including Ismail Khalidi, the son of Columbia University Professor Rashid Khalidi.
WND was the first to report on Obama's close relationship with Khalidi, who has been tied to the Palestinian Liberation Organization and who has described Israel as a "racist" state with an "apartheid" system.
The preface of Patel's 2005 book, meanwhile, was written by Ayers' wife, Weather Underground co-founder Bernardine Dohrn.
Dohrn describes the book as "a clarion call of hope, defiance, critical analysis, humor, irony, and self-conscious insistence that the queer, the Palestinian, the immigrant, the privileged, the children of prisoners and hip-hopsters have arrived."
The back cover of the book boasts an endorsement from Mumia Abu-Jamal, the convicted cop-killer and former member of the Black Panther Party.
On the acknowledgments page, Patel and co-authors thank Ayers himself for "guidance" and "encouragement."
Patel is part of the official speaker's bureau of the Islamic Society of North America, an unindicted co-conspirator in a scheme to raise money for Hamas.
From his own comments, Patel apparently is a member of ISNA. Upon the August 2007 election of the group's president, Ingrid Mattson, Patel told USA Today, "I'm proud to have her elected as my president."
Patel also served last year on a panel at ISNA's annual convention in Washington.
He has written columns for the Washington Post and Huffington Post that promote ISNA events.
Ground Zero mosque
Patel is also tied to Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the controversial Islamic leader behind the proposed $100 million, 13-story Islamic cultural center and mosque two blocks from the site of the 9/11 attacks.
Rauf wrote the afterword to Patel's 2006 book, "Building the Interfaith Youth Movement: Beyond Dialogue to Action."
Patel is listed as one of 15 "Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow" on the website for the American Society for Muslim Advancement, which is led by Rauf.
In Patel's 2007 book, "Saving Each Other, Saving Ourselves," he recounts discussing with Rauf the future of Islam in the U.S.
Rauf "understood the vision immediately and suggested that I visit him and his wife, Daisy Khan, at their home the following evening," Patel recalled.
Khan founded the society with her husband and has aided him in his plans for the mosque near Ground Zero.
"The living room of their apartment on the Upper West Side was set up like a mosque, with prayer rugs stretched from wall to wall," wrote Patel in his book.
Continued Patel: "I arrived at dusk, prayed the maghrib prayer with Daisy and Imam Feisal and then talked with them about how America, with its unique combination of religious devotion and religious diversity, was the ideal place for a renewal of Islam.
"In the 20th century, Catholicism and Judaism underwent profound transformations in America," Patel observed. "I think, this century, in America, Islam will do the same."
'Critical mass' of Muslims in U.S.
"Islam is a religion that has always been revitalized by its migration," Patel wrote. "America is a nation that has been constantly rejuvenated by immigrants. There is now a critical mass of Muslims in America."
Patel last March wrote a Huffington Post piece referring to Obama's former "green jobs" czar Van Jones as a "faith hero."
"In my last post on Van, I called him an American patriot," wrote Patel. "That is high praise in my book. But watching Van's speech at the NAACP, I have another title for him, one that I reserve for the true giants of history. Van Jones is a faith hero."
Jones resigned in September after it was exposed he founded a communist revolutionary organization and signed a statement that accused the Bush administration of possible involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks. Jones also called for "resistance" against the U.S.
Jones previously stated his advocacy for green jobs was part of a broader movement to destroy the U.S. capitalist system.
WND reported that one day after the Sept. 11 attacks, Jones led a vigil that expressed solidarity with Arab and Muslim Americans as well as with what he called the victims of "U.S. imperialism" around the world.
With research by Brenda J. ElliottNote: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
Campus Watch contact e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org