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Shakir, Al-Gharbi Downplay ISIS's Atrocities with Comparison to Mexican Cartels

Zaid Shakir

Imam Zaid Shakir--a co-founder of Berkeley's Zaytuna College known for conspiratorial, anti-Western, Islamist rhetoric--delivered the keynote speech at this week's Sydney Muslim Conference in Australia, where he compared ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) to Mexican drug cartels, claiming that, "the crimes of the drug lords made Islamic State actions 'pale in significance.'" As he put it:

ISIS has beheaded a handful of journalists. Mexican drug cartels have killed 57 in the same period . . . there is a very virulent ideology that has a vested interest in making sure we know everything about the crimes of ISIS.

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By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  November 20, 2014 at 1:24 pm  |  Permalink

UCLA's Sondra Hale Supports ASA Boycott

Sondra Hale

A Jewish Telegraph Agency (JTA) article about the annual meeting of the American Studies Association (ASA) a year after it adopted a resolution for an academic boycott of Israel demonstrates how the politicization of Middle East studies has come to infect other academic fields. According to University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) professor emerita, former chair of the Faculty Advisory Committee for the notoriously biased Center for Near Eastern Studies, and self-described "activist academic" Sondra Hale:

[The boycott resolution] woke up American studies to the significance of Palestine in some of their own studies. . . . Hale said issues of Palestinian indignity can link to Native American studies, and that Israeli settler colonialism links to the study of Africa and the African-American experience.

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By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  November 13, 2014 at 6:52 pm  |  Permalink

Caliphate Dreaming: Georgetown Panel Reveals ISIS's Appeal to the Faithful

Emad Shahin

Attempts by apologists to distance the Islamic State (ISIS)'s caliphate declaration from its moorings in Islamic history and to deny its appeal to modern Muslims received a blow when a recent Georgetown University panel on the subject unwittingly demonstrated the opposite. Andrew Harrod's report for Campus Watch appears today at Jihad Watch:

The caliphate "is not something bad . . . for the majority of Muslims," concluded visiting professor Emad Shahin during a recent briefing titled "Boko Haram, ISIS, and the Caliphate Today" at Georgetown University's Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU). A small conference room housed around twenty people, as panelists pledged to "help explain" the allegedly "confusing phenomena" of Nigeria's Boko Haram and the Islamic State (ISIS)'s "overlapping language of political Islam" and the "caliphate and . . . sharia." The panel, however, merely reinforced that ISIS's brutal "caliphate" has ample justification in Islamic history and appeal among modern Muslims.

To read the entire article, please click here.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  November 11, 2014 at 5:29 pm  |  Permalink

Musa al-Gharbi Compares U.S. Military to ISIS

Musa al-Gharbi, a University of Arizona instructor and academic affiliate at the university's Southwest Initiative for the Study of Middle East Conflicts, is the poster child for all that's wrong with field of Middle East studies. Drawing a moral equivalence between the U.S. military and ISIS is the sort of unhinged radicalism we've come to expect from its ranks.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  November 5, 2014 at 4:52 pm  |  Permalink

Interrogating Muslim Masculinities?

Amanullah De Sondy

In the latest Campus Watch research, A.J. Caschetta reports on a lecture from University of Miami religious studies professor Amanullah De Sondy that fell far short of its promising title. His article appears today at Jihad Watch:

On September 18, 2014, the day that Yemen-born Mufid Elfghee, also known as the "Rochester man," was indicted in federal court for being an ISIS recruiter, the University of Rochester hosted a lecture with the intriguing title, "Interrogating Islamic Masculinities." The flyer for University of Miami assistant professor Amanullah De Sondy's lecture stated:

Rigid notions of masculinity are causing crisis [sic] in the global Islamic community. These are articulated from the Qu'ran, its commentary, historical precedents and societal, religious and familial obligations. This lecture will interrogate this global gender and sexual crisis as we attempt to understand Islam and Muslims in the world today.

The juxtaposition of Elfghee's indictment and De Sondy's lecture is an apt emblem of the profession's increasing insularity and abandonment of the American public. While radicals recruit their fellow Americans to join a murderous, misogynistic army dedicated to ethnically cleansing much of the Middle East under the banner of a restored Caliphate, Middle East studies professors continue their decades-long descent into politicized and trivial scholarship.

To read the entire article, please click here.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  November 4, 2014 at 12:26 pm  |  Permalink

MESA and IIIT: Islamists Infiltrating Academia

MESA's leaders never met an Islamist they didn't embrace, so it's in keeping with their fallen reputations that their annual conference next month in DC will feature a reception for the International Institute of Islamic Thought, a Muslim Brotherhood-linked organization. In a Campus Watch article posted today at American Thinker, I examine just how far IIIT's tentacles reach into America's universities:

The field of Middle East studies has a troublesome penchant for partnering with Islamist organizations. Case in point: The 2014 annual conference of the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA) will host an International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) reception at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC on November 23.

The true nature of IIIT, a Virginia-based think tank, was revealed during the 2007 U.S. v. Holy Land Foundation terrorism-financing trial, which unearthed a 1991 Muslim Brotherhood memorandum naming IIIT as one of the likeminded organizations in the U.S dedicated to a "grand jihad" aimed at "eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within" so that "God's religion [Islam] is made victorious over all other religions." . . . As far back as 1988, an FBI investigation exposed IIIT's goal to "get inside . . . American universities" for the larger purpose of instituting "the Islamic Revolution in the United States." Clearly, IIIT is making headway.

To read the entire article, please click here.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  October 30, 2014 at 12:36 pm  |  Permalink

Bazian vs. Maher: Vitriolic Speech For Me, Silence For Thee

UC-Berkeley's Hatem Bazian, who in 2004 said "it's about time that we had an intifada in this country" and who required 100 students to create Twitter accounts and post comments about "Islamophobia," wants to stop Bill Maher, the new bete noire of Islamists, from speaking at Berkeley. Typical Middle East studies tactic: vitriolic speech for me, silence for thee.

By Winfield Myers  |  October 29, 2014 at 4:53 pm  |  Permalink

Sherman Jackson: Shariah Compatible with U.S. Constitution

Sherman Jackson of USC speaks at U. Tenn. tonight, and UT profs are assuring everyone that Shariah is compatible with the US Constitution. Here's Jackson's advice on making Americans accept Islamic punishments, including "flogging or amputation":

. . . notions of what is cruel and unusual, of what is barbaric, of what is draconian (which is the real basis upon which America rejects these punishments) are a function of culture, not law. It is only through changes in American culture that American attitudes towards such things are likely to change.

By Winfield Myers  |  October 28, 2014 at 4:57 pm  |  Permalink

Juan Cole's 'New Arab' Fantasies

Juan Cole

Hope springs eternal for Middle East studies professors who prefer to issue apologias for the Middle East and Islam than engage in clear-eyed, rigorous research. This is proved again in a new Campus Watch report by Andrew Harrod, "Juan Cole's 'New Arab' Fantasies," which appears today at FrontPage Magazine:

The "advent of a new generation" of Arabs was the overly optimistic theme for University of Michigan history professor Juan Cole's recent lecture at the George Washington University Elliot School of International Relations. Cole's discussion of his new book, The New Arabs: How the Millennial Generation is Changing the Middle East, to an audience of about fifty, mostly Elliot School students, failed to substantiate his ongoing hopes for the so-called Arab Spring.

Elliot School professor Edward W. (Skip) Gnehm introduced Cole as a Middle East expert who is popular on television, a supposedly confidence inspiring credential. Cole focused on Tunisia, noting that this comparatively small North African country with no oil resources had received "insufficient press." His main concern was "youth revolutionaries," as the Arab press termed Arab Spring regime opponents in Libya, Tunisia, and elsewhere.

To read the rest of this article, please click here.

By Winfield Myers  |  October 28, 2014 at 10:44 am  |  Permalink

Stacked MESA Panel to Praise Steven Salaita

Steven Salaita is set to receive more praise (and pity) from his academic peers next month when a panel at the annual Middle East Studies Association (MESA) conference in Washington, DC, examines his travails at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, which in August rescinded an offer to appoint him professor of Native American studies.

The panel is to discuss "issues of freedom of speech, academic freedom, university governance, civil discourse, and the potential repercussions for faculty in Middle East studies." Given its composition, its biases in favor of Salaita are beyond doubt: every member specializing in the Middle East shares Salaita's history of anti-Israel activism, including support for the Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions (BDS) movement and objections to off-campus criticism of academe. The records of non-specialists also give every indication that they, too, will support Salaita.

A small sampling of the radicalism of panel members demonstrates this bias:

  • Laurie Brand (chair), former MESA president and director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Southern California, was signatory to a hysterical December 2002 letter warning that a U.S. invasion of Iraq would encourage Israel to engage in "ethnic cleansing" against Palestinians:

"Americans cannot remain silent while crimes as abhorrent as ethnic cleansing are being openly advocated. We urge our government to communicate clearly to the government of Israel that the expulsion of people according to race, religion or nationality would constitute crimes against humanity and will not be tolerated."

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By Winfield Myers  |  October 24, 2014 at 10:24 pm  |  Permalink

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