Middle East studies in the News
Ah yes, onto the nutty professor over at the "Informed Conspiracy" ...
by Dan Darling
Dear God, did he go off his medication today. If that's what happens after being quoted in the Washington Post, God only knows what'll happened if he ever gets hired as a full-time news consultant (though judging from blog entries like this, he isn't exactly ready for prime-time) for a cable network.
First of all, I gather the belief that some of the hysteria that has surrounded the controversy over the UAE port deal is in fact due to the evil policies of Bushitleretardespotheocrat and his politics of fear is quite popular among the "reality-based" community these days. These individuals are, however, in need of a reality check: it was far from just the GOP who were up in arms over Dubai World and I very much doubt that all of that over-the-top constituent mail that many staunch Northeastern Democratic lawmakers have received came exclusively from listeners of talk radio. Were it that easy for the administration and its ideological fellow travelers to influence the public discourse, I doubt public perceptions of the war in Iraq would be where they are right now in terms of poll numbers. But ignoring that rather large hurdle, let us go to Juan's next point:
This two-faced policy and self-contradictory rhetoric has contributed to growing hatred and bigotry toward Muslims in the US, which is no less worrisome than the hatred Jews faced in Europe in the 1920s. It is dangerous because of what it can become.
The primary difference between anti-Muslim sentiment now and anti-Jewish sentiment in Europe in the 1920s is that during the 1920s Western capitals and nationals were not being attacked by Jews on a regular basis, whereas that is unfortunately the case now with regard to Muslims. People who wonder where anti-Islamic sentiment come from need look no further than Juan and other products of modern Middle East academia who routinely deny that Islamic extremism is a problem or in Juan's case attempt to conflate it with his domestic political opponents in some kind of false moral equivalece (except the GOP, near as I can tell, is almost always worse in the Informed Conspiracy). There's a reason why next to nobody was doing serious research on jihadi strains of Salafism in US academia before 9/11 ...
Then we get a healthy bit of slander:
The hatemongers are well known ... a slew of far rightwing Zionists who would vote for Netanyahu (or Kach) if they lived in Israel-- Frank Gaffney, Daniel Pipes, Michael Rubin, David Horowitz, etc., etc.
One of the things that is particularly illustrative of Juan here is that he is displaying the same traints that he attributes to the American right when it comes to Islam. There is a huge difference between supporting Netanyahu and supporting Kach in Israel, something that should be clear to almost anyone who knows anything about Israel. Then there is the fact that he is basically arguing that Gaffney, Pipes, Rubin, and Horowitz are essentially Kach supporters. This is a fairly serious accusation, given that Kach is listed by the US as a terrorist organization. No offense, but to Juan to characterize his political opponents as terrorist supporters for those knowledgeable enough to catch the reference sort of makes him the last person in the world to get all high-and-mighty that Horowitz is engaged in character assassination against him, let alone take the American right to task for failing to appreciate all of the nuances of Islam. But then I forgot, this is the same man who accused Martin Kramer of being some kind of a Mossad agent when he pointed out that Israeli action in Jenin took place in 2002 ...
Then we get this:
And finally, there are many Muslims who have an interest in whipping up anti-Islamic feeling. Ahmad Chalabi and his Iraqi National Congress helped maneuver the US into a war against Iraq with lies about a Saddam-al-Qaeda connection and illusory WMD. The dissident Islamic Marxist group, the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) is now placing equally false stories about Iran in the Western press and retailing them to Congress and the Pentagon.
I fail to see how any Muslim could have an interest in whipping up anti-Islamic feelings, but then again I fail to see how the MEK could be classified as anything other than an extremely heterodox (I would say "cult") branch of Islam given their beliefs concerning Maryam Rajavi. To say that the INC has an interest in whipping up anti-Islamic sentiments is just absurd. The INC did whip up anti-Saddam sentiments through means fair and foul, but last I checked Saddam's Iraq wasn't synonymous with Islam. He's a "secular Arab nationalist," remember?
Cole then launches into a lengthy catechesis lesson about how Islam does not require violence by citing the Qu'ran. That's all well and good, but I have little patience for these debates pro or con because I find them manifestly stupid. It's sort of like the argument that the New Testament doesn't say that Jesus is God. Well maybe it doesn't (I would certainly argue that point, but just for the sake of debate), but the vast majority of Christians believe that it does. I am always extremely wary about telling an adherent of another religion the true meaning of his or her holy book. In any event, the fact is that there are several million (Gunaratna says al-Qaeda supporters number about 7-8 million internationally - I think it might be higher if you include supporters of groups like the MMA, PAS, etc.) Muslims out there who believe that the Qu'ran does require violence of some kind as a matter of religion. Still a minority certainly, but the problem with people like Cole is that they don't want to believe that such a minority exists to begin with and because of that refusal to acknowledge it either out of denial or political correctness, it is often all too easy for the minority to get lumped in with the majority.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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