Setting The Record Straight
Campus Watch corrects false allegations made against it.
Where else but in the field of Middle East studies would one find a chapter by a long-term employee of an organization that U.S. Senators and FBI agents have said has ties to terrorist groups (and who spent a month at a camp populated mostly by Hamas activists) in a book edited by America's foremost apologist for Wahhabi Islam?
Mohamed Nimer, an assistant professor in the Washington Semester program at American University and former research director at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), maligns and misrepresents Campus Watch in a chapter penned for Islamophobia: The Challenge of Pluralism in the 21st Century, just out and edited by John Esposito, director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University.
Titled "Islamophobia and Anti-Americanism: Measurements, Dynamics, and Consequences," Nimer's chapter draws on his 2007 book, Islamophobia and Anti-Americanism: Causes and Remedies, published during his long tenure (1995-2007) at CAIR. In his latest work, Nimer work gets CW wrong in ways almost too numerous to count:
Campus Watch has never promoted "the premise that Islam and Muslims are the threatening other." Cliched terms drawn from postcolonial studies aside, CW sees no threat from Islam qua Islam, nor from Muslims. Our mission to critique Middle East studies does not consider religion, race, or ethnicity as relevant to any aspect of our work. Rather, we address five problems: analytical failures, the mixing of politics with scholarship, intolerance of alternative views, apologetics, and the abuse of power over students.
Neither Campus Watch, the Middle East Forum, nor Daniel Pipes work in cahoots with the other organizations named; we are entirely independent of these groups, and they of us. Moreover, under no circumstances to we "work to malign" anyone. We present our critiques in rigorously researched articles and scrupulously accurate reports. If there is any malice evident in this debate, it lies entirely with Nimer, not with Daniel Pipes or any project of the Middle East Forum, including Campus Watch.
Finally, the charge that Pipes has "teamed up" with anyone, whether named by Nimer or not, to "woo Republican college students" for events connected with Islamofascism Awareness Week further proves the sloppiness of Nimer's research. No project of the Middle East Forum has any connection to Islamofasscism Awareness Week--a fact that Nimer would have known had he engaged in minimal, much less rigorous, research.
Why did John Esposito, as editor of the volume in question, allow these blatant factual errors to appear in print? That he recruited Nimer to contribute to the book, edited his writing, and failed to correct his mistakes either speaks poorly of Esposito's editorial skills or tellingly of his willingness to let ideology trump scholarly standards.
(Posted by Winfield Myers)
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