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What's So Un-Islamic About ISIS?

In the latest Campus Watch research, appearing today at American Thinker, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary professor Ayman S. Ibrahim demonstrates that, despite Western scholars' insistence that ISIS is "un-Islamic," the terrorist group reflects a specific interpretation of Islam that is both legitimate and consistent with Muslim sacred texts and classical exegesis:

In each horrifying operation executed by ISIS, the radical terrorist group uses every possible way to convey its Islamic identity. They make sure the world sees and hears what they believe and seek, emphasizing plainly their religious motivation. However, in each of these instances, we immediately, and almost automatically, hear some Western "scholars" insist that everything about ISIS is un-Islamic. We also hear that ISIS's version of Islam "is not in accordance with the Quran, the traditions of the Prophet or even with Islamic Law," and that "No religion, including Islam, preaches indiscriminate violence against innocents."

To read the entire article, please click here.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  August 23, 2016 at 12:33 pm  |  Permalink

Ibrahim Kalin: Erdoğan's U.S.-Trained Enforcer

Ibrahim Kalin

Ibrahim Kalin is a lamentable (but predictable) expression of the American Middle East studies establishment's decades-long embrace of Islamist doctrines and propaganda. A U.S.-trained specialist in Islam and the Middle East, Kalin is the unabashed official apologist for Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a textbook Islamist who is currently crushing all domestic dissent in the aftermath of the failed coup of July 15. Writing for Campus Watch, journalist Stephen Schwartz exposes Kalin's shameful actions at the Independent Journal Review:

A "weaponized academic" trained in the U.S. has risen to become Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's "deputy undersecretary and senior advisor," yet another servant for Islamist ideology produced by the American Middle East studies industry.

Ibrahim Kalin received his doctorate in Middle East Studies/Islamic Studies from George Washington University and is a senior fellow with the Saudi-funded Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU) at Georgetown University. He taught at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., from 2002 to 2005.

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

By Winfield Myers  |  August 2, 2016 at 1:48 pm  |  Permalink

Middle East Studies Implicated in AMCHA's Campus Anti-Semitism Report

Rabab Abdulhadi

The AMCHA Initiative's recently released "Report on Antisemitic Activity During the First Half of 2016 At U.S. Colleges and Universities With the Largest Jewish Undergraduate Populations" exposes the bias and politicization afflicting the field of Middle East studies.

The report finds a direct correlation between campus anti-Semitism and the "presence of one or more faculty who have endorsed an academic boycott of Israel," which, given the large number of Middle East studies academics who are boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) supporters or organizers, serves as a strong indictment of the field.

Moreover, the report notes a sharp rise in campus incidents that "contained expression opposing the existence of Israel as a Jewish state" and, as an example, cites a March 2016 event in which San Francisco State University's Rabab Abdulhadi--a founding member of the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel--proclaimed that "Zionism is racism" and "there can only be peace if Israel is defeated." It also references an event the same month sponsored by Brown University's Middle East Studies Department and featuring its director, Beshara Doumani, and Israeli Knesset member Haneen Zoabi, who declared in her keynote speech that "the main opposition to democracy [in Israel] is the definition of Israel as a Jewish state."

While faculty who help foster campus anti-Semitism hail from all disciplines, the centrality of Middle East studies academics cannot be ignored. Tasked with providing an education based on objective analysis, too many of these professors are instead contributing to a climate in which Jewish and pro-Israel students feel ignored and victimized. They claim their single-minded obsession with the world's lone Jewish state does not constitute anti-Semitism, but when that is the effect, such protestations ring hollow.

Cinnamon Stillwell is the West Coast representative for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum. She can be reached at

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  July 28, 2016 at 6:56 pm  |  Permalink

Sharia Advocate & USC Prof Sherman Jackson Opens DNC

Breitbart notes that Sherman Jackson (aka Abdal Hakim Jackson), "an Islamic fundamentalist who rejects any acceptance of homosexual sex" and who "defended jihad and pre-modern Islamic punishments," opened the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday. Jackson holds the King Faisal Chair in Islamic Thought and Culture at the University of Southern California and, as Campus Watch has pointed out, he advocates implementing sharia (Islamic) law in America, including barbaric practices such as stoning, flogging, and amputation.

Of all the speakers to pick in order to prove their diversity, they found not a moderate Muslim to represent America's Muslims, but a fire-breathing Islamist who champions severe punishments of sharia.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  July 27, 2016 at 3:46 pm  |  Permalink

MESA Condemns Turkish Purges, but Won't Mention Erdogan, Islamists by Name

The Middle East Studies Association (MESA), joined by several other disciplinary organizations, has finally issued a letter condemning the actions against Turkish academics, days after the purges began. But while MESA et al. condemn the persecutions, they never mention Turkish president Erdogan by name, nor do they note (much less condemn) the reason behind the purges: to pave the way for the Islamization of all of Turkish society, long a goal of Erdogan and his AKP colleagues and followers. MESA and its co-signers willfully ignore these inconvenient facts lest they disavow their decades-long romance with anti-Western "moderate Islamists." One supposes they're still searching for a motive.

By Winfield Myers  |  July 21, 2016 at 2:05 pm  |  Permalink

Still Waiting on MESA to Condemn Erdogan's Purge of Turkish Universities

Middle East studies professors regularly accuse CW and other organizations of "McCarthyism," an ahistorical, intellectually lazy charge intended to silence critics. Yet days into an ongoing purge of Turkish academics, including 1,500+ deans and four university rectors, the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) has yet to condemn the latest moves by Turkish president Erdogan, whose "moderate Islamism" US profs have long championed as a path to democracy. Will genuine (not imagined) "loyalty oaths" for Turkish academics finally grab MESA's attention?

By Winfield Myers  |  July 21, 2016 at 11:46 am  |  Permalink

Anthropology: Abandon All Truth Ye Who Enter

Anthropologists who study the Middle East were once inspired by "a scientific spirit to discover the cultures of the region and their dynamics" argues Philip Carl Salzman in the latest Campus Watch Research. Yet contemporary anthropology has been infected by "postcolonial discourse," which has injected "a dangerous, self-contradictory nihilism that rejects the possibility of objective Truth toward which we may move." Salzman's critique of a discipline he has long called home appears at the Daily Caller:

In the decades after WWII, anthropologists carried out ethnographic field research in the Middle East inspired by a scientific spirit to discover the cultures of the region and their dynamics. Among those who produced sound, grounded research were Fredrik Barth on the Basseri nomads, William Irons on the Yomut Turkmen, Lois Beck on the Qashqa'i confederation, William Lancaster on the Rwala Bedouin, and A. S. Bujra on Yemen. I had the privilege of carrying out field research among the Baluchi tribes of Iran.

However, anthropologists, including those studying the Middle East, gradually moved away from a scientific perspective toward a more subjective and politicized view. They were influenced in part by Edward Said, who in Orientalism (1978) argued that Western accounts of the Middle East were fabrications invented to justify imperialist invasion, colonial imposition, and oppression of local peoples. This "postcolonial" view blames Western imperialism for myriad problems worldwide, a view which neglects the cultures and agency of people around the globe.

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

By Winfield Myers  |  July 20, 2016 at 4:59 pm  |  Permalink

How Will Middle East Studies Profs React to Erdogan's Purges?

Turkish president Erdogan's post-coup purges--including almost 1,600 university deans and 24,000 teachers--are putting American profs of Middle East studies in a bind. For years they've praised Erdogan precisely for his Islamist credentials. What will they say now that he's clearly bent on destroying the last remnants of Kemalism and, with it, Turkish civil society? Will they turn a blind eye to mass executions and the formation of an Islamist dictatorship? Academics are now barred from leaving Turkey; will the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) object?

By Winfield Myers  |  July 19, 2016 at 4:53 pm  |  Permalink

Academia Indicts America for Orlando Terrorist Attack

Omar Mateen

Following Omar Mateen's massacre of forty-nine people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, professors of Middle East studies reacted predictably by blaming guns, American homophobia, Christians, Deep South bigotry – anything but Islamic terrorism. Never mind that Mateen pledged allegiance to ISIS, depicted himself as an Islamic soldier during the attack, had taken two trips to Saudi Arabia, and was interviewed three times by the FBI in connection with terrorism. In the latest Campus Watch research, appearing today at American Thinker, CW West Coast representative Cinnamon Stillwell reports on academia's willful blindness and outright mendacity:

Immediately after the attack, University of Michigan history professor Juan Cole announced, "I don't think it probably was terrorism in any useful sense of the term." His reasoning? Mateen didn't "make demands about U.S. government policy," and hitting soft targets is "not a form of classical strategic terrorism." The victims of terrorist attacks – many issued without demands – on cafés, malls, restaurants, resorts, schools, social services, and countless other soft targets would beg to differ.

. . . Meanwhile, Omid Safi, director of Duke University's Islamic Studies Center, decried "[t]he sickness, the homophobia, the violence, and the ease of access to war-grade guns that brought about this vile terrorist attack," predicting that "the solution" will come about only when Americans "confront this xenophobia and violence in our own society."

To read the entire article, please click here.

By Winfield Myers  |  July 14, 2016 at 1:40 pm  |  Permalink

A California University's Troubling Terrorism Ties

Leslie Wong

In an article appearing today at Independent Journal Review, Campus Watch West Coast representative Cinnamon Stillwell outlines CW's investigation into San Francisco State University (SFSU)'s memorandum of understanding (MOU) with a Palestinian University, An-Najah, notorious for terrorist indoctrination and recruitment. Tellingly, SFSU's administration only indirectly corroborates the MOU and SFSU President Leslie Wong refuses to answer CW's repeated inquiries about its contents. In response to Wong's stonewalling, CW announces its plans to ensure that SFSU comes clean about the details and implications of its partnership with Najah:

San Francisco State University (SFSU), which has a well-deserved reputation as a breeding ground for anti-Israel radicalism, became national news in April. That's when campus police stood by as a hate-Israel group, the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS), shouted down and disrupted a lecture by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, prompting much criticism of SFSU's president, Leslie Wong.

But there's worse. As revealed by an investigation into SFSU by Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum, SFSU has partnered with a Palestinian university that's a hotbed of radicalization.

To read the entire article, please click here.

By Winfield Myers  |  July 1, 2016 at 1:27 pm  |  Permalink

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