Middle East studies in the News
How a Duke Imam Became a Lightening Rod in the Campus Israel Wars [incl. Omid Safi, Hatem Bazian, Bruce Lawrence]
by Marc Parry
In the summer of 2011, the Center for American Progress published the results of a landmark investigation into the rise of American Islamophobia. The liberal think tank's report, called "Fear, Inc.," documented how seven foundations had directed more than $40 million to a small network of "misinformation experts" whose message of "hate and fear" reached millions of Americans. The study became a touchstone for Muslim leaders defending their faith in the public sphere.
Abdullah T. Antepli reacted differently to the report than many of his colleagues. The imam, then the Muslim chaplain at Duke University and associate director of the Duke Islamic Studies Center, tried to understand these people who worked so hard to cast suspicion on Islam. He found that the zeal came from two communities: evangelical Christians and pro-Israel Jews. And the correct response, he felt, was self-criticism. If Muslims' presence was perceived as a threat, that meant Muslims had failed to tell their own story. They should disarm the hostility by engaging with its sources.
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