Campus Watch in the Media
The Truth About Academic Jihad: The Professoriate
by Benjamin Baird
This is the first of three installments in a special report from Crusade of Truth exploring the alliance between Islam and Western academia. First, the professors that make up the fundamental substratum of academia are explored, revealing a community of fringe radicals who embrace a socialist anti-Americanism that is strangely harmonious with militant Islam. Part two of this report will cover the stunted curriculum taught in universities which overstates the effects of colonialism while minimizing the violent expansionism inherent to Islam. The final chapter of this series will explore the results of this system of putting radical Leftists in charge of teaching an anti-Western, socialist syllabus on the student body, in many case transforming pre-radicalized pupils into prosecutors of terror.
In sanctums for radical Islam like those found in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, religious schools called "madrassas" teach a violent curriculum that pits Islam against the West. This is the epicenter of hard core, fundamentalist Islam, where the ideological core of groups like Al-Qaeda and the Taliban are formed.
At a very young age, young Muslims boys receiving tuition at a madrassa will learn that America is an empire of evil, and only jihadist warfare can bring the West to its knees. In some locations, emaciated boys seated in threadbare classrooms are made to memorize passages from the Quran in a language they do not even understand. These impressionable boys depend upon strict spiritual counselors to provide hysterically turbulent translations from the only text book they will ever know. Indeed, the 9/11 Commission Report found that these schools, numbering in the tens of thousands, "have been used as incubators for violent extremism."
This study of hatred is expounded and explored in Islamic madrassas throughout the world, nurtured by a paranoid suspicion that the West wishes to replace religious tradition with a system of capitalist exploitation and saturnalian depravity.
However, this very same narrative is expressed in arenas uncomfortably familiar to many Americans. Throughout the corridors of Western academic institutions, a similar syllabus is taught. From elitist Ivy League schools to online community colleges, formative minds are learning that America is the Great Oppressor, extracting resources solely for material gain from obliging, harmless shepherds and peace-loving farmers from North Africa to Southeast Asia. It is a message not altogether dissimilar from the one taught in the most extremist Islamic madrassa.
Just as the Middle Eastern madrassa is used to arouse a violent disregard for non-Muslim lives, American and European universities espouse the same repugnant principles by identifying the West as the perpetual Muslim tormentor, obsessed with subjugating people, raping them of their culture and robbing them of their dignity.
There are numerous reasons why the liberal academic establishment pursues this fiction. It complies with the socialist agenda, simultaneously fitting with and replacing class warfare as the crisis requiring an immediate remedial response via the redistribution of wealth. Furthermore, to expose neocolonialism as a Western evil exacted upon the disadvantaged is to embrace isolationism and the subsequent crippling of the American military establishment–persistent goals of the Left.
Finally, this insistence upon the colonial narrative fits neatly within the purview of identity politics and coincides with the victimization campaigns that liberals are wont to subscribe. These deceitful practices feature prominently among contemporary Muslim apologists, including much of the mainstream media, academia, and Muslim rights groups, and accusations of "Islamophobia" are pronounced with dramatic frequency on many college campuses.
However, this twisted curriculum could not be hawked and dictated without an appropriate preacher. No ordinary Westerner could be so self-effacing and hateful as to sponsor the revisionist narrative taught by modern collegiate professors.
The ranks of higher education are teeming with an overabundance of political radicals. These are the intelligentsia, the social elite, so consumed by the singular issue to which they have devoted their entire lives in the pursuit of a doctoral degree that they fail to see the prudence of a common, public good. They will see their program of study elevated at any cost, and often at the expense of commerce or universal progress..
At best, these professors are cultural Marxists, seeking an artificially invested diversity that is simply ignorant of reality and promises to leave students woefully unprepared for the workplace. At worst, America's youth are being influenced to form ideologies that are sympathetic to militant Islam. Understanding the backgrounds and belief systems that inform the thinking of Western professors explains why students are being exposed to an unyielding, extremist philosophy in the classroom.
The most predictably dangerous of these faculty, at least when considering the young and impressionable mind, is the professor or Middle Eastern studies. In some cases, it may be difficult to distinguish the words of a firebrand Imam from a college professor of this background.
John Esposito's literature on the subject of Islam is included in the syllabi of many courses within the department of Middle Eastern studies. As a Georgetown University professor of religion and international affairs, specializing in Islamic studies, as well as being the founding director of the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at the Walsh School of Foreign Service, Esposito is representative of mainstream scholarly discourse on the subject of Islam. Having written over 30 books on the subject, his reputation is appreciated to the extent that the FBI, CIA, and Department of Homeland Security have all consulted with him as an expert.
However, an Investigative Project on Terrorism report illustrates the dangerously questionable nature of Esposito's relationship with the supporters and financiers of international terrorism. The report's conclusions are damning: "Esposito's academic standing provides him an opportunity to defend radical Islam and promote its ideology – including defending terrorist organizations and those who support them, advocating for Islamist regimes, praising radical Islamists and their apologists, and downplaying the threat of Islamist violence and involvement with Muslim Brotherhood legacy groups in the U.S."
Esposito is engaged in an ideological partnership with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a front group for Muslim rights that is tied to international terrorism via their support for Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Muslim Brotherhood. His loyalty to the group is such that Esposito has participated in numerous fundraisers on CAIR's behalf, as well as serving as a defense expert in the case against the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development that sought to prosecute CAIR and other militant Islamists.
Esposito perpetually defends Hamas and Hezbollah as legitimate political forces, despite the international consensus that identifies them as terrorist organizations, human rights offenders, and aggressors in the conflict with Israel.
The professor of Middle Eastern studies calls his "very close friend" Sami Al-Arian "an extraordinarily bright, articulate scholar and intellectual-activist, a man of conscience with a strong commitment to peace and social justice." This statement came after Al-Arian was convicted of providing material goods and support to the terror group Palestinian Islamic Jihad in 2006.
Esposito is a lecturer whose books and opinions will inform the policies of the world's next generation of leaders regarding the Middle East, a region that promises to see an escalation of violence in the coming decades.
At some undefined stage, American universities began associating the radical with the revolutionary, or the criminal with the contemplative. The felonious were offered faculty positions, so long as their crimes were committed for a righteous liberal cause. Conservative principles do not thrive in such an environment and, indeed, the state, corporate interests and society at large are condemned by instructors from these types of backgrounds.
Yet, these are not simply rebels with a cause. Department heads are actively seeking out and recruiting what can only be described as left-wing terrorists and thugs.
In 1981, as a member of an anti-imperialist, leftist group called Weather Underground, Kathy Boudin participated in the Brinks armored car robbery in Nyack, New York that left three people dead. After pleading guilty to second degree murder, Boudin received 20 years to life and was released in 2003. In 2008, she received a competitive teaching position from an Ivy League institution.
Bill Ayers, Howard Machtinger and Bernadine Dohrne were also involved in bombing plots as members of Weather Underground in the 1960s and 1970s, including planned and actual attacks against military and police targets. This, of course, qualified them for faculty positions at major American universities, such as Northwestern University, the University of Illinois, and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, respectively.
After receiving a pardon from President Bill Clinton for her involvement in the Brinks robbery and a later arrest for the possession of over 700 pounds of explosives and illegal weapons, Susan Rosenberg quickly found a teaching position at John Jay College.
The list of Leftist radicals lecturing America's youth from the halls of learning includes more than a few members of Weather Underground, unfortunately. Former senior Black Panther member Erica Huggins went to trial for torturing and later ordering the execution of a suspected police informant within her organization. Warren Kimbro ultimately pulled the trigger that killed their helpless victim. Naturally, both Huggins and Kimbro received coveted teaching and administrative positions at prominent universities.
These Leftist terrorists–for lack of a better description–are welcomed in scholarly circles for more than their insurrectionary complexion; it is undoubtedly the combination of fanaticism and collectivism with a sprinkle of victimhood politics that permit this radical-academic alliance.
The ability of a self-professed socialist dinosaur like Bernie Sanders to identify with America's youth is indicative of the cogency of academia's program of liberal inculcation. After all, The Communist Manifesto continues to be among the top three assigned readings in colleges across the country, and the texts of Karl Marx are assigned more than those of any other economist.
Jennifer Kabbany of The College Fix explains the attraction of young voters with a fossilized Marxist like Sanders. "They're taught the rich have an obligation to support the poor. They're taught to embrace class warfare. They're taught corporations are evil. They're taught life's unfair, and there's no hope for them to succeed except through government handouts."
Academia's insistence on a socialist curriculum is insufficient on its own to explain how radical Islam is able to prosper in a university setting. Assuredly, an understanding of the structural attributes which define both socialism and Islam works to illuminate their compatibility.
In many ways, Islam–like socialism–is about control. It is a patriarchal system that seeks to enforce the most mundane controls upon its adherents. From the most obscene gender inequality on Earth designed to subjugate women as second-class citizens, to establishing the very way that Muslims should complete a bowel movement, strict, unyielding dominion over the faithful is a requisite function of Islam.
A report from Oxford Islamic Studies describes the crossroads between the spiritual and the secular, or socialism and Islam:
"Reformists saw Islamic socialism as a cure for colonial control, economic backwardness, human exploitation, and moral bankruptcy. Spiritual and economic improvement were not possible until the lives of people could be improved and the decent treatment and justice stipulated by the Quran could be provided to them."
These essential equivalences allow most of academia to accommodate Islam, an ally in the perpetual conflict with the forces of capitalism and ideological inclusiveness. This accommodation extends to radical Islamists and jihadists, whom also have a place in the faculty lounges of college campuses.
Jesse Curtis Morton, aka Younus Abdullah Muhammad, is perhaps the most fitting representative of academia's affair with militant Islam. In a PBS "Newshour" report meant to explain (and forgive) Morton's evolution from radical Islamist to FBI informant, the argument that universities are contributing to the radicalization of politically sensitive Muslim students is inadvertently made.
Morton admits, "I identified with the sort of anti-imperialist message that was being promoted by Al Qaeda." The same anti-imperialist message being trafficked at university settings with troubling frequency.
It is no surprise, then, that rather than suppress his extremist and violent worldview, Morton's time in an American institution of learning served to exacerbate his already volatile nature. In an interview with Morton, Hari Sreenivasan deduced that "the Ivy League education did nothing to moderate Morton's world view. In 2007, he and a few other radicals started the Revolution Muslim Web site [sic]."
After Morton was arrested in Morocco, where he was teaching English, and extradited to the U.S. for communicating threats online, it was a fellow academic that ultimately bailed him out. Lorenzo Vidino, the director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University's Center for Cyber and Homeland Security, intervened on Morton's behalf to have his sentence reduced in exchange for cooperation in prosecuting other potential terrorists that visited Morton's website.
Morton is now employed by George Washington University.
In socialist Canada, six young Muslims were allegedly radicalized by a single Islamist-professor who rented space from local universities to teach his brutal brand of Islam. The group, including four men and two women, left Canada and entered Syria via Turkey to fight for the Islamic State. Adil Charkaoui insists that he simply taught a course in basic Arabic and religious studies.
However, Newsweek reported that, "Canada had tried to deport Charkaoui, an outspoken Moroccan-born advocate against Islamophobia, arresting him in 2003 and keeping him imprisoned or under surveillance for six years under a security certificate, based on classified information from Canada's spy agency." They failed to pursue allegations that Charkaoui trained at an Al-Qaeda camp in order to protect human intelligence sources.
Understanding the relationship between radical Islam and academia permits a commensurate understanding of the hateful post-election rhetoric coming from Islamist professors. Their inability to accept any competing narrative is responsible for the unapologetic vehemence which flavors their words.
Indeed, hatred for the president-elect has entered into mainstream pedagogy for American professors. A profession once extolled for its objective rationality has resorted to name-calling and rabble-rousing in attempts to agitate their student bodies.
Writing for the Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum dedicated to improving Middle Eastern studies within U.S. academic circles, Middle East analysts Cinnamon Stillwell and Michael Lumish record a revealing compilation of statements from prominent professors in the aftermath of Trump's unexpected election victory in an article titled "Trump terror within Middle East studies."
Stillwell and Lumish demonstrate the scandalous partisanship present at institutions once prized for their pursuit of scholastic excellence. Identity politics were certainly at play when Director of Duke University's Islamic Studies Center Omid Safi blames white evangelical Christians for electing Trump. "When you had to choose between your white privilege and your Jesus, how did you live with yourself putting Jesus on the bottom?"
Hatem Bazian, director of the Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project at the University of California, Berkeley, offers an equally embryonic analysis: "Trump's victory will stand as America's Brexit moment where Islamophobia, anti-immigrant discourses, economic dislocation, and nativist sentiments got masterfully mobilized to win an election."
Hamid Dabashi, Iranian studies professor at Columbia University, had no shortage of uncomplimentary names for those that voted for Trump. He attributes the Trump victory to "racist, misogynist, ignorant, paranoid, xenophobic, white supremacist America," before proceeding to call these same Americans "an angry mob of white supremacist zombies shielding its wild fantasies behind democratic politics."
As indicated by Stillwell and Lumish, University of Denver Center for Middle East Studies director Nader Hashemi believes that ISIS is "celebrating" the Trump victory because the president-elect is "so radical and so extreme." Hashemi must be unaware that Trump's popularity is very high among Iraqis precisely because of his tough stance against international terrorism.
Rhodes College Islamic studies professor Yasir Qadhi is convinced that people voted for Trump because of his "melanin content." He conjures up a favorite image among Muslim rights activists when he says he fears "for the safety of my wife in a hijab, of my children in the streets, of minorities everywhere struggling to understand what happened."
Reza Aslan, University of California, Riverside professor of creative writing and liberal media darling agrees that the republican victory hurts America's children. "Someone please tell me how I tell my kids that the president whose picture will soon be on their classroom wall hates them, wants them gone."
This impetuous stampede of overstated anti-Trump resentment from academia has been relentless since before November 8th, 2016. However, Stillwell and Lumish are right to suggest that such vehemence "exemplified the elite attitudes that doubtless drove many voters to support Trump."
Consequently, the motive behind this disinformation campaign is as clear as it is futile: to discredit Trump by assigning artificial causes to his victory. Besides pointing to the Russian hacking scandal and a rash of fake or misleading news reports, the Left argues that Trump won because he inspired some dormant but powerful white supremacist demographic to take to the polls in response to his hateful rhetoric. In other words, only bigotry and ignorance could be responsible for a Trump victory.
Trump's repeated calls for increased scrutiny of immigrants arriving from war-torn countries that lack the infrastructure to properly identify potential radicals that come from Islamist circles had somehow been identified as misogynistic and xenophobic by these professors. Long before and after Election Day, Trump and his most trusted staffers have reinforced this policy in response to a hostile, headline-seeking media's attempts to instigate the republican candidate into saying something disparaging of Muslims. Although this effort was unsuccessful, and Trump was clear and consistent regarding his vetting policy, liberal academia chose to ignore reality and insist that Trump was demanding a "Muslim ban."
This juvenile reluctance to accept competing ideas within the collegiate environment should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with academic culture.
University of North Texas professor George Yancey admits, "Outside of academia I faced more problems as a black. But inside academia I face more problems as a [conservative] Christian, and it is not even close."
Yancey, as a leading scholar in the field of sociology, felt the need to reinforce his suspicions with a study, the results of which demonstrate that nearly one-third of academia would be unwilling to hire or even support a conservative job applicant. Perhaps this is part of the reason that only six percent of professors in the humanities department admit to being conservative, and a mere two percent of English professors lean decidedly to the right. Compared to these paltry sums, 18 percent of educators profess to being Marxist. Not democratic. Not liberal–but Marxist.
It was in this hostile environment that Vanderbilt University law professor Carol Swain made the mistake of speaking out against Islam. Following the Al-Qaeda attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris, Swain noted that "Islam is a dangerous set of beliefs totally incompatible with Western beliefs concerning freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of association."
This observation, written and explained in an op-ed in the Tennessean newspaper, earned Swain a student protest demanding her termination at Vanderbilt, as well as verbal and sexual threats communicated on campus and in her mailbox.
Higher education in America is an overwhelmingly socialist institution that has made strange bedfellows with political Islam. If the professors discussing postcolonialism come from radical backgrounds, the curriculum they teach is even more hostile to the public good.Note: Postings in "Campus Watch in the Media" do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch.
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