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:
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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conference in Washington, DC, examines his travails at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, which in August rescinded an offer to appoint him professor of Native American studies.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:
Hamza Yusuf, recently portrayed as a moderate, is in fact an apologist for Sharia and its "brutal hudud punishments" and the return of the Caliphate. That he has partnered with Hatem Bazian of UC Berkeley (and, like Yusuf, of Zaytuna College) further clarifies his true beliefs, as Bazian is the poster child for anti-American, anti-Israel, radical Islamist academics. See CW's collection of articles on him here.
[Editor's note: the following letter to the editor of The Hoya, the student newspaper of Georgetown University, was not published by the paper and so is reproduced here.]
In "13 Professors Boycott Israeli Universities," September 13, Katherine Richardson writes that "Georgetown has become the most-represented university involved in the American Studies Association's boycott of Israeli academic institutions since the petition's creation last month."
In fact, the ASA's boycott was launched last December. The boycott to which Ms. Richardson refers is unrelated, represents "scholars and librarians working on the Middle East," and was launched in August. There is no linkage between the two groups.
An important issue unaddressed by the article is whether two directors of federal Title VI-funded Georgetown centers who signed the pledge speak for themselves or for the centers they lead. Under Title VI of the Higher Education Act, recipients must give "assurances" to "maintain linkages with overseas institutions of higher education"—an assurance threatened by a pledge to boycott Israeli universities and academics.
The letter relies upon the notoriously biased United Nations for its obviously inflated figures. Worse, it makes no mention whatsoever of Hamas's rocket attacks on Israeli civilians, or its kidnapping and murder of Israeli citizens, both of which precipated Israel's military action. Also conveniently omitted is Hamas's calculated use of human shields and UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) facilities.
MESA has a long history of issuing one-sided letters accusing Israel of supposed restrictions on academic freedom, as these from 2013, 2012, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2003, 2002, and 2001 demonstrate.
But rest assured, writes MESA president and George Washington University professor Nathan J. Brown, MESA's role is merely "to promote scholarship and teaching on the Middle East and North Africa."
Ali Mazrui, who directed the Institute for Global Cultural Studies at SUNY Binghamton, has died at 81. Although the BBC is calling him a "towering intellectual figure," at a 2010 Columbia U. conference he said that Jews had "a certain kind of impurity" that led them to be "like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," but now they have "landed with Mr. Hyde's evil identity." And that "even U.S. presidents are scared [of them]."
Intellectually eviscerated and utterly discredited would be better, but at least he sees these authors as problems.
But will he apply these criticisms to himself and rein in his own extremism, as illustrated in the following examples? In 2007, Khan refused to serve on a student-organized panel on "Anti-Americanism in the Middle East" with a veteran of the Israeli Defense Force who had served in the West Bank because, he wrote:
Over 120 Muslim leaders and scholars, including UC Berkeley's Hatem Bazian, Hamza Yusuf of Zaytuna College, and Brandeis University's Joseph E.B. Lumbard, have signed an open letter to the Islamic State (ISIS) disputing the theological basis for ISIS's heinous actions. Yet Ayman S. Ibrahim, a PhD candidate in Islamic studies at Fuller Theological Seminary, points out at First Things that "the statement is ambiguous in crucial areas, which not only weaken its argument, but also question whether it is truly a rigorous and valid refutation of ISIS's deeds and claims."
Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) was spurred to ask Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to prevent biased Middle East studies programs from misusing Title VI funds by the Joint Statement of ten organizations, including the Middle East Forum, issued September 17, 2014.
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