Middle East studies in the News
by Scott Johnson
Minnesota United States Attorney Andrew Luger took to the pages of the Star Tribune to denounce the "Islamophobia" allegedly rampant in "the news." The column appeared under the heading "Minnesotans must face Islamophobia head-on." Luger condemns a "current wave of Islamophobia." There are several problems with Luger's column. I want to note two.
"Islamophobia" is a term of art invented by fanatics to stigmatize their opponents. Speaking as "Minnesota's chief federal law enforcement officer," really ought to know better than to employ it in this context.
Luger's article is short on examples of "Islamophobia." What is he talking about? To fill out his column Luger draws on his childhood experience of anti-Semitism. He claims to have beaten up "the strongest of the bigots" who taunted him at school. Luger really ought to spare us. The Jews have suffered enough. Please keep us out of your public relations work as United States Attorney.
Luger's column appeared earlier this week, before Professor Moshe Halbertal was shouted down at the University of Minnesota Law School. In Halbertal's case we have public words and deeds with a tinge of religious animosity a mile or two from the office of the United States Attorney. Luger's lucubrations lack such a case. The Star Tribune's Maura Lerner, incidentally, covers the shout-down on campus in "Protesters disrupt Israeli professor's lecture at the University of Minnesota."
My friend Steve Hunegs is president of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas. Steve was in attendance at Professor Halbertal's scheduled lecture and is sensitive to the religious element of the shout-down. Steve has issued the following statement:
Dean Wippman's statement observes that "we should condemn any efforts to silence free speech through protests of the sort that took place at the Law School yesterday. The Law School will continue to do both." Dean Wippman, if "we should condemn" it, condemn it. Pathetic.
University President Eric Kaler and Provost Karen Hanson miss the mark as well: "A commitment to freedom of speech and thought is absolutely fundamental to the University of Minnesota. Our University is and must be a place where people can explore ideas, engage in vigorous debate, and learn from one another's perspectives." Well, thanks.
Maybe Andy Luger will rise to the occasion, but I'm not holding my breath on that one.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.
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