Middle East studies in the News
ISIS Threatens Memphis Professor [on Yasir Qadhi]
by Mary Troyan
The jihadist Islamic State has threatened a Memphis college professor and Muslim leader who condemned the Charlie Hebdo terror attack in Paris.
Yasir Qadhi, who teaches at Rhodes College, was targeted in an online magazine of the militant extremist group, also known as ISIS. The publication contains a message above a photo of Qadhi that says there is "great reward" for the Muslim who kills Qadhi and other "apostate imams."
On the day of the terrorist attack on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, Qadhi wrote on his Facebook page that Muslims defend the honor of the prophet Mohammed by "following his teachings and practice, not by murdering in his name." He's also condemned the attack in sermons that are widely distributed in the Muslim community.
Twelve people were killed in the Jan. 7 attack. The two gunmen, who were later killed by French police, said they were avenging the newspaper's publication of satirical cartoons showing Mohammed.
Qadhi, in a phone interview Monday, said colleagues alerted him to the ISIS threat about two weeks ago when it was first published, and the FBI contacted him about it.
"Obviously I've taken some common-sense precautions," Qadhi said.
He called the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists' drawings of Mohammed offensive and crude, but not justification for murder.
"The people who killed the cartoonists damaged the image of the prophet far more than the cartoonists could have," Qadhi said.
Qadhi said he's also been threatened by far-right conservatives for his criticisms of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. He said people became further enraged several years ago after someone edited recordings of his speeches to create the false impression he had insulted Christians.
"It would be funny if it weren't for the fact that it's so scary," Qadhi said. "It would be ironic, but both sides are threatening violence."
Qadhi said he's less worried about the ISIS threat than the ones from other Americans on the "radical right."
"They live here. And they have this notion that every Muslim is a potential terrorist," Qadhi said.
The Texas-born Qadhi is an assistant professor of religious studies at Rhodes College and a resident scholar at the Memphis Islamic Center.
A spokesman for the FBI in Memphis declined to comment.Note: 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