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Legitimizing Censorship: 'Islamophobia Studies' at Berkeley

"Islamophobia studies" is the latest addition to the academic pantheon of politicized, esoteric, and divisive "studies" whose purpose is to censor criticism of differing views by stigmatizing critics as racist or clinically insane. The University of California, Berkeley's recent Sixth Annual International Islamophobia Conference—organized by the Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project (IRDP)—was titled, "The State of the Islamophobia Studies Field." The problem is this "field" doesn't yet formally exist in the U.S., but that didn't stop speakers from engaging in victimology, academic jargon, and anti-Western rhetoric. Campus Watch West Coast representative Cinnamon Stillwell and contributor Rima Greene provide the details, and the latest CW research, at Jihad Watch:

The audience, including a number of women in hijabs (headscarves), ranged from twenty to fifty students and faculty members. Because the conference was preempted by another event, it had to shift between two venues. Adding to the confusion, the schedule was made available online only days before. While IRDP director and Near Eastern studies lecturer Hatem Bazian bragged at the outset that the conference livestream had garnered "seven thousand" viewers in 2014, this year, visual and audio problems often rendered it unwatchable.

In his introduction, Bazian apologized for these mishaps before launching into a glowing report about the alleged state of "Islamophobia studies," which, according to the IRDP website, "has witnessed rapid expansion in the past fifteen years." He claimed that the field had "come of age" in that there is "no longer . . . a debate over whether we should use the term or not" or if "it is real or not," except for "those who really don't want to confront Islamophobia" or "don't want to deal with the reality of what has taken place."

To read the entire article, please click here.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  May 23, 2015 at 1:19 pm  |  Permalink

Bin Laden's Bookshelf: In the Shadow of Anders Breivik

On July 22, 2011, the Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik killed seventy-seven people in and near Oslo. Not long before he attacked, he emailed a 1,500-page document titled "2083: A European Declaration of Independence," which included conservative critics of radical Islam among his sources. Immediately, some in the media, academic, and think tank worlds declared these persons guilty by association and charged them with shaping Breivik's thought, even though the manifesto cited about the same number of liberals and conservatives.

Yesterday we were given a look inside the mind of another mass killer when the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released Bin Ladin's Bookshelf, a "sizable tranche of documents recovered during the raid on the compound used to hide Usama bin Ladin." The 409 items range from publicly available U.S. government documents to personal letters from bin Laden to family and fellow terrorists.

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By Winfield Myers  |  May 21, 2015 at 11:00 pm  |  Permalink

Memo to Juan Cole: Iranian Regime Still Threatening to Annihilate Israel

Juan Cole

Someone should inform University of Michigan history professor Juan Cole that Mojtaba Zolnour, a top adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, has declared that the "government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has divine permission to destroy Israel." Cole's been dismissing the Iranian regime's countless threats to annihilate Israel for over a decade, either blaming "bad translations" for misinterpretation or describing them as mere "rhetorical hatred." As he put it last year at his blog, Informed Comment, "Equating hateful speech to an intent to launch aggressive warfare is silly." What's "silly" is not taking genocidal threats seriously, particularly from an enemy determined to build nuclear weapons.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  May 13, 2015 at 4:55 pm  |  Permalink

UCLA Prof Khaled Abou El Fadl Condemns ISIS, But Does He Condemn Islamism?

Khaled Abou El Fadl

Given the apologias for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria's (ISIS) barbarism from the ranks of Middle East studies, it was encouraging to find the University of California, Los Angeles hosting the recent lecture, "ISIS's Enslavement and Trafficking of Women." The speaker, Khaled Abou El Fadl, Omar and Azmeralda Alfi Distinguished Professor of Law at UCLA, has a history of equivocating on Sharia (Islamic law) and other aspects of Islamism. Yet, in this instance, he provided insight into the regional, cultural, and ideological influences underlying ISIS's crimes, albeit in a rambling, disorganized manner. In the latest Campus Watch research, CW West Coast representative Cinnamon Stillwell and journalist Adelle Nazarian report on his lecture. Their article appears today at Jihad Watch:

A room reserved for 150 people at UCLA Law School swallowed the thirty who attended, a mix of students, parents, and faculty members. Perhaps embarrassed at the low turnout, Abou El Fadl stated at the outset: "There are tons and tons of people who believe they know and speak as if they know" about Islam, "but have very little interest in actually learning anything." He further assured the audience that, "numbers do not reflect quality, so I will believe as a matter of conviction that you are worth a thousand because you are special people."

These "special people" soon discovered just how elusive was the subject of Abou El Fadl's lecture, for he spent the entire first half discussing human trafficking, only occasionally referencing ISIS. After explaining that, "It's not very effective to take an issue out of the totality of its context," he promised to eventually "get to the Muslim context of these things."

To read the entire article, please click here.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  May 12, 2015 at 6:29 pm  |  Permalink

Brian Edwards of Northwestern: Advocating Arabic Instruction, Bashing America

Brian T. Edwards

At the Chronicle of Higher Education, Brian T. Edwards, Crown Professor in Middle East Studies and founding director of the Middle East and North African Studies Program at Northwestern University, rehashes an earlier op-ed in declaring that Arabic instruction in American colleges will help put an end to "hate crimes against Muslims . . . and anxieties about the Arab world," not to mention fulfilling the quixotic goal of "achieving peace." Once again, Edwards is unable to advocate Arabic instruction without invoking the false claim that anti-Muslim hate crimes are ubiquitous in the America and that the country requires absolution for its alleged sins. As he puts it:

If the United States is going to try to understand, rather than bomb, invade, and occupy part of the world that has been our government's central obsession for almost a decade and a half, then more colleges need to teach Arabic and do so in a vibrant way. Higher education has never had a more crucial role to play in achieving peace.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  May 12, 2015 at 3:20 pm  |  Permalink

Robert Pape: 'Making Fun of Islam or Mohammed Provokes Attacks'

Robert Pape

Robert Pape, political science professor and director of the University of Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism, joins the "blame the victim" chorus regarding the Islamic terrorist attack on the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI)'s "Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest" in Garland, Texas:

Given that there is a low-level, but a real threat, we should be mindful not to create situations where they are more likely. Making fun of Islam or Mohammed is tightly related to provoking attacks. This isn't the first time. I think that reasonable people would look at this and wonder why we need to take steps that could easily provoke an attack.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  May 11, 2015 at 5:33 pm  |  Permalink

Rabab Abdulhadi Promotes Alliances with Hamas-dominated Palestinian Universities

Rabab Abdulhadi

Palestinian universities, as extensions of anti-Israel "resistance" culture--not to mention one of the few avenues for electoral participation--reflect the radical politics of the wider society, both in the West Bank and Gaza. As such, supporters of Gaza's Islamist ruler, Hamas, have been making gains in recent student council elections, including at Bir Zeit University, where an April win assures that an imprisoned terrorist will hold the title of "honorary chairman."

In light of this development, Campus Watch West Coast representative Cinnamon Stillwell examines the quest of San Francisco State University's Rabab Abdulhadi to form an alliance between SFSU and two Palestinian universities, Bir Zeit and An-Najah. Her article appears today at American Thinker:

Rabab Abdulhadi, director of San Francisco State University (SFSU)'s Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Initiative (AMED) and a committed anti-Israel activist, has long sought an alliance between SFSU and two Palestinian universities. . . . Abdulhadi's efforts to forge ties with Bir Zeit and An-Najah . . . dates back at least to January, 2014. At the time, she organized and participated in a controversial, university-funded "Academic and Labor Delegation to Palestine," during which she met with individuals affiliated with U.S. State Department-designated terrorist organizations.

To read the entire article, please click here.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  May 9, 2015 at 12:20 pm  |  Permalink

Rumee Ahmed's Reformist Approach to Sharia a Refreshing Break with Academic Apologists

Rumee Ahmed

We've long since become accustomed to the apologias from Middle East studies scholars for Sharia (Islamic law). It's benign, they claim, and fully compatible with America's constitutional order. So when one of them critiques Sharia and acknowledges the urgent need for reform, it's newsworthy. Writing for Campus Watch, Andrew Harrod reports on a recent lecture by Rumee Ahmed. The essay appeared Saturday at Jihad Watch:

In a refreshing departure from Sharia apologias common in Middle East studies, University of British Columbia Islamic law professor Rumee Ahmed rejected the "myth" of Sharia (Islamic law) as a "static, fixed, reified entity" on April 22 in the Georgetown University Center for Contemporary Arab Studies' wood-paneled boardroom. Ahmed's presentation, "Shari'a 2.0: Islamic Systematics and the Science of Islamic Legal Reform" before a student-dominated audience of about fifteen, demonstrated simultaneously Sharia's all-too human origins as well as its embedded dangers.

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

By Winfield Myers  |  May 4, 2015 at 11:00 am  |  Permalink

Middle East Specialists Missing in Action from Harvard 'Peace' Conference

Harvard University recently held what was billed as "a first-of-its kind student conference" titled, "Economic Prosperity for Peace," which promised to explore "the idea of the private sector creating stability and laying the groundwork for peace in the Middle East through entrepreneurship, education and economic prosperity."

While it's encouraging to see higher education initiating a productive approach to achieving peace in the Arab-Israeli conflict, the fact that no specialists in the region were involved is significant. Instead, the host and organizers (Harvard Business School and a group of Arab, Israeli, and American students from Harvard and MIT) all hail from the business/private enterprise sector. Too many Middle East studies academics are busy issuing apologias for Palestinian intransigence and promoting BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) against Israel, neither of which are a boon to coexistence.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  April 30, 2015 at 5:07 pm  |  Permalink

Reza Aslan Hypes 'Islamophobia'

Reza Aslan

The subject of "Islamophobia" is all the rage in Middle East studies and throughout academe, which is doing its utmost to distract attention from the backdrop of supremacism, dysfunction, and bellicosity in the region. In the latest Campus Watch research, CW West Coast representative Cinnamon Stillwell reports on recent lecture from UC Riverside professor Reza Aslan titled, "Islamophobia: The Real Enemy." Her article appears today at Jihad Watch:

At an April 13 lecture at the University of California, Riverside, UCR creative writing professor and self-styled expert on Islam and the Middle East Reza Aslan employed biased sources, isolated statistics, and ad hominem attacks to blame critics of radical Islam for the alleged rise in "Islamophobia" in post-9/11 America.

"Islamophobia: The Real Enemy" was delivered before a student-dominated audience of some three hundred who laughed heartily at Aslan's fashionably anti-American jokes, clearly responding to his personable, hip demeanor. Dressed casually in jeans, no tie, and an untucked shirt, he was, effectively, one of them.

Aslan explained that, "as a Middle Easterner, as a Muslim" Islamophobia was "a personal issue" that had been "brought home on a personal level."

To read the entire article, please click here.

By Cinnamon Stillwell  |  April 29, 2015 at 5:55 pm  |  Permalink

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