Middle East studies in the News
Visiting Scholar at Harvard Is Antisemitic Iranian Professor Ideologically Aligned With Supreme Leader [on Ali Akbar Alikhani]
by Lea Speyer
An Iranian professor aligned with the regime in Tehran — who warned of a global "Jewish threat" — is currently employed by Harvard University as a visiting scholar, the Washington Free Beaconreported.
According to the report, Ali Akbar Alikhani, an associate professor at the University of Tehran, is working on a project focused on "peace and peaceful coexistence in Islam" for Harvard's Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES). An outspoken critic of Israel and Zionism, Alikhani is a passionate adherent to the ideological teachings of hardline Iranian leaders, such as Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
In one of his academic works in Farsi, a translation of which was provided by the Free Beacon, Alikjani wrote that Israel was founded "from its inception...on force, coercion and oppression of others," and, "The Jewish dissidents of Zionism[are part of] propagandistic exploitations [by the] Jewish government.. [to] pretend that Israel is a free country."
In his review of an Arabic-language book title The Jewish Threat-Danger to Christianity and Islam, Alikhani called the work's message "strong and good," while suggesting that it should have expanded on "the quality and the method of the Jewish threat." Alikhani explained, "Considering the practical perspectives of this book, it was expected that the author at least in the areas of thoughts and beliefs, would provide practical and noticeable solutions or reject and refute the foundations of Judaism and Zionism himself."
Alikhani's works cite several controversial academics, the Free Beacon said, including French scholar and Holocaust denier Roger Garaudy, who was honored posthumously in 2012 by the Iranian regime, and Rachid Ghannouchi, "a Tunisian Islamist figure who has promoted violence against Jewish people and heads a group that is accused of having ties to Hamas."
According to NGO Americans for Peace and Tolerance, Alikhani's views are closely aligned with those of his employers — the Faculty of World Studies at the University of Tehran — and "his academic output in Iran has served to legitimize the religious and political foundations of the violent Iranian revolution in 1979, and develop the antisemitism and violent Islamism disseminated by the regime across the globe."
The University of Tehran is riddled with hardline regime members and operatives, the NGO claims. Alikhani's colleagues include Mohammad Javad Mohammadi, Khamenei's son-in-law; Foad Izadi, who acts as a spokesperson for the government to state-run media and has used social media to promote articles warning of the "Jewish policy elite"; Dr. Javad Sharbaf, a "notorious supporter of Holocaust denial in the West"; and Dr. Seyed Mohammad Marandi, Alikhani's boss, who advocates that Israel must "cease to exist."
Alikhani defended his credentials to the Free Beacon, denying the allegations against him. "My research area always has been on political thought in Islam and [the] Islamic world. In recent years, I am focusing on peace and peaceful coexistence in Islam. My research project at Harvard is the Islamic model of peaceful coexistence. I have never work [sic] on Judaism or leadership," he said.
Harvard's CMES failed to respond to The Algemeiner's request for comment by press time.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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