Campus Watch Research
Academia Abandons Paris Yet Again
by Cinnamon Stillwell
Omid Safi, director of Duke University's Islamic Studies Center, complained about Western media coverage, given numerous ISIS attacks throughout the Middle East and North Africa, and asked inanely, "What about my pain?" While it's hardly unusual for the Western media to focus on the West, it is Safi and his academic cohorts who routinely omit or downplay ISIS's misdeeds so as to avoid addressing its theological underpinnings. Indeed, his hackneyed comments on that front were true to form:
University of Michigan history professor Juan Cole engaged in similar equivocation:
Steven Salaita, the would-be University of Illinois professor currently teaching at the American University in Beirut, applied moral relativism, tweeting that, "When non-state actors kill people, it's irrational aggression. When states kill people, it's the aggressive restoration of rationality." Like Safi, he criticized "corporate media coverage" by employing the sarcastic hashtag, "#WesternLivesMatter."
Similarly, Terje Ostebo, director of the University of Florida's Center for Global Islamic Studies, lamented that, "horrendous attacks" in North Africa "do not get as much attention as Paris does" because "the largest number of the casualties and those killed are Muslims." He then offered the qualifier, "That does not diminish the horror of Paris, of course."
The rabidly anti-Israel As'ad AbuKhalil of California State University, Stanislaus blamed "Western governments and media . . . for the selective denunciations and condemnations culture" due to supposed silence "about the daily crimes against the Palestinian civilian population by key West ally, the terrorist state of Israel."
Predictably, Hatem Bazian, director of the Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project at the University of California, Berkeley, accused politicians of inserting "a heavy dose of Islamophobia and 'clash of civilizations' venom" into "public opinion" following the attacks. Moreover, he asserted, "Terrorism is a tactic that has no religious identity."
Muqtedar Khan, director of the University of Delaware's Islamic Studies Program, claimed that, in addition to "the challenges of poverty" and "inequity," the "discourse on Islamophobia has radicalized Muslims." He bemoaned the "discursive assaults which demonize Islam and blame Islam for essentially the failure of geo-politics in the Muslim world."
Others responded by distancing ISIS from its religious roots and denying its support in the Muslim world. Ovamir Anjum, Imam Khattab Chair of Islamic studies at the University of Toledo—employing an infamous Obama quote— maintained that, "ISIS is not Islamic," before adding, "ISIS is isolated completely—both in the Muslim world and worldwide. Nobody is supporting ISIS."
University of Notre Dame Islamic studies professor Ebrahim Moosa, in addition to urging the West to "explore avenues to build peace," engaged in similar whitewashing:
Mark LeVine, a Middle Eastern history professor at the University of California, Irvine, acknowledged both ISIS's religiosity and the predominance of "chauvinistic attitudes towards other sects, religions, races, ethnicities and nationalities, women, sexual minorities, and others" in the Muslim world, but pivoted by affixing such characteristics to all religions. He then managed to blame the left's favorite bogeyman for the Islamic State's barbarity:
Even worse, Farid Esack, a former professor of Islamic Studies at Harvard University now teaching at the University of Johannesburg, refused to denounce the killers and blamed France outright:
Just when it seemed Middle East studies professors could sink no lower, the latest ISIS bloodbath in Paris has proven otherwise. Instead of proffering objective analysis, they trade in obfuscation, moral relativism, and anti-Western rhetoric. We turn to these "experts" for advice on the central struggle of this age at our peril.
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