This is the second of three installments in a special report from Crusade of Truth exploring the alliance between Islam and Western academia. The first part of this series may be found here, detailing the professors that make up the fundamentally radical substratum of academia. This installment focuses on the politicized curricula taught primarily in Middle Eastern studies and liberal arts courses, offering a revisionist, anti-Western education to the next generation of world leaders. The third and final installment functions to unify the effects of this extremist professorate preaching a stunted curriculum, and describes the outcome upon an impressionable student body.
How do Western universities evolve from biased, politically entrenched institutions to veritable wellsprings of Islamic militancy–with little to distinguish them at times from the fundamentalist Islamic schools that give birth to unthinking martyrs and religious enforcers?
Certainly, the socialist composition of collegiate faculty has a significant, sententious impact upon the student body, resulting in a politicized tuition that favors ideological conformity over factual precision. This activist approach to education produces some predictably recurring themes that form the framework for an historical perspective endorsed by academia that fits like a snugly wrapped turban with the narrative of the Middle East’s most violent jihadists. By theoretically accommodating the Islamist worldview, Western scholars have elected to endorse the multitude of injustices committed in the name of fundamentalist Islam, while concurrently weakening the ability of policymakers to contain them.
Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist from New York University and a proponent for ideological diversity on American campuses, says, “Universities are unlike other institutions in that they absolutely require that people challenge each other so that the truth can emerge from limited, biased, flawed individuals.”
Critical peer review is what separates scholastic pursuits from journalism or politics, explaining the methodological differences between the Wall Street Journal and the Journal of International Business Studies. While a journalist should attempt to cover an event with a balanced analysis devoid of agenda, a scholar attempts to derive Truth from an event using the scientific process and is prepared to defend his or her findings before skeptical subject matter experts representing a diverse range of intellectual prejudices. Sadly, these requirements remain unfulfilled in many academic corners.
Presently, many universities are persuaded to form their curricula around the highly selective inclinations of the Middle East Studies Association. Franck Salameh of FrontPage Magazine describes this non-profit as a proponent for “the reductionist Arabist paradigm of Middle Eastern history championed by MESA’s leaders.” The association is often accused of exploring all of the region’s multifaceted issues within the singular prism of the Arab-Israeli conflict and Western imperialism.
Stubbornly immovable, the philosophy advocated by MESA is significant because it serves as an umbrella of intellectual authority for over 100 organizations.
Salameh explains, “Grants, appointments, promotions, publication, and one’s general workplace atmosphere are all affected by whether or not one is willing to submit to exponents of select historical perceptions and attitudes regarding the Middle East and its allegedly monolithic peoples and cultures.”
Cary Nelson, national president of the American Association of University Professors, understands all too well the career implications for criticizing Islam or supporting Israel, writing in 2010 that “faculty and students with sympathies for Israel encounter implacably pro-Palestinian attacks in multiple settings; these include departments where no candidates who has written in support of Israel in general or a two-state solution in particular would even be considered for a job.”
It appears that a professor challenging the status quo curriculum mandated by MESA is hardly different than a weather man that denies climate change; both of these dissenting professionals would be ostracized and ridiculed by their peers.
If there is any doubt that MESA is a front for Palestinian activism, rather than the non-political learned society of which its members claim to be a part, a recent campaign to amend the organization’s bylaws is informative. Membership voted to strike the term “non-political” from an article describing MESA’s “nature and objectives.” Advocates for the amendment claimed that removing the ban on partisanship was about academic freedom, or the ability to speak out against oppressive regimes across the world that target academics.
Twenty-year MESA veteran Elyse Semerdjian argues that, “We do this as an extension of our academic work in order to protect our workspace by speaking out on behalf of vulnerable colleagues who live and work in conflict zones. This work, which has come natural to us as an organization, certainly cannot be construed as apolitical.”
Other MESA scholars, like Neve Gordon, find the notion that scholarship should be detached from political activism absurd and unrealistic. He argues that there has never been “a time when politics and scholarship were separate. Or at least segregated.” To Gordon, the idea that education should be apolitical “is about as real and desirable as the idea of making America great again.”
However, the vote to remove the non-political association from MESA was not about academic freedom. In fact, the bylaw was amended for the express purpose of limiting academic scholarship from Israeli universities.
Ilan Troen, a Stoll Family Professor of Israel Studies at Brandeis University, says that the vote within MESA to embrace politicization is not about guaranteeing the academic freedoms of international scholars, but about denying and censoring pro-Israel voices. While professors in favor of boycotting Israel deceptively cite a number of reasons for the vote, Troen argues that the move is simply “to change the bylaws of an organization for one issue only — that’s supporting a Palestinian interpretation of a very complicated problem.”
MESA’s alignment with the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel is not surprising given that at least half of its members in 1992 were part of a growing number of Middle Eastern professionals joining the organization. This eventually turned MESA from a firmly non-partisan, conservative academic institution to a collective sounding board of like-mindedness for anti-Israel activism. Martin Kramer, president of Jerusalem’s Shalem College and a target of MESA’s academic boycott, explains: “It’s a last-ditch effort to assert the primacy of Palestine, by insisting that Israel uniquely deserves condemnation (in a Middle East mired in gross human rights violations), and that the Palestinians uniquely deserve sympathy (in a Middle East awash in refugees and suffering).”
Efforts to stifle pro-Israeli voices have already succeeded in pushing educators out of the departments governed by MESA and into specialized areas specifically covering Israeli studies in an arrangement that is emblematic of the hostile relationship fostered by MESA. Institutions of learning that are not inherently opposed to the very existence of Israel have been obliged to departmentalize the study of Israel into a unique focus independent from Middle Eastern studies, thereby disentangling themselves from the unscientific, politically-driven convictions of groups like MESA.
Political activism and partisan flag-waving is paradigmatic of the department of Middle Eastern studies, where scholastic integrity takes a back seat to an idealized subjectivity that is incapable of divorcing emotional sentiment from a rational analysis of the region and its people. What is truly incredulous is that scholars of the Middle East are perfectly content with designing their curricula to coincide with and support their admitted partiality.
Even more unsettling than the overtly biased nature of MESA scholarship, however, is the historical precedence that an intellectual boycott of Israeli academics seeks to emulate. The Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses in April of 1933 was only the beginning of an escalating series of reforms meant to target and isolate the Jewish minority living in Germany. The final product of these policies is well-known, especially to scholars and historians, yet this knowledge does not appear to have dissuaded educators from duplicating the same course of action as members of MESA.
A field of study comprised so thoroughly of imported intellectuals is liable to suffer from what Middle East analyst Lois Gottesman calls “clientitis,” or “an affliction that causes its victims [professors] to identify so closely with their clients (in this case, their objects of study) that they no longer can maintain any objective distance—and the need to curry favor with Arab governments in order to assure continued access to student visas, government archives and scholarship grants.”
The [INSERT NAME OF SAUDI PRINCE] School of Islamic Studies
It is no coincidence that numerous area studies programs receiving funding from these Arab Muslim states also enjoy the imprimatur of MESA. Many of these academic programs are funded by the Saudi government, the same institution which was shamefully complicit in funding and enabling the September 11th attack on America. While many of the details have been obscured behind an opaque wall of classified data, just last week 2,300 plaintiffs filed suit against the Saudi government, claiming that officials “intentionally aided, abetted and counseled al-Qaida.” Apparently, Saudi conspirators funneled payments to the skyjackers through nonprofits and charities established in the name of the royal family. These nonprofits and charities bear a striking resemblance to the Saudi donations accepted on behalf of educational institutions throughout the United States.
If examples of Saudi philanthropy aimed at enriching the educational experiences of American youth are plentiful, the controversies surrounding these donations are equally innumerable. The first of these was a $5 million donation from the Saudi royal family in 1993 establishing The King Fahd Chair for Islamic Shariah Studies at Harvard Law School. Two other endowments aimed at advancing the study of Islamic law were soon to follow at Harvard, including the H.E. Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani Islamic Legal Studies Fund, as well as the Bakr M. Binladin Visiting Scholars Fund.
Saudi Arabian monarchs are not alone in their attempts to influence American perspectives on Islam. The United Arab Emirates gave $2.5 million to the Harvard Divinity School on behalf of President Sheik Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, compelling students to protest a donation originating from a president who also funded anti-American and anti-Semitic think tanks. Likewise, Harvard is not the only university to accept funds from such controversial sources. There is The King Abdulaziz Chair for Islamic Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara, or The Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud Program in Arab and Islamic Studies at Berkeley. Rice University, Duke University, Syracuse University, American University of Colorado, American University in Washington, D.C., and Howard University are among the prestigious institutions in the U.S. presently accepting Saudi Arabian cash for the furtherance of Islamic studies.
Faculty, administrators, and alumnus of these universities do not appear to be discouraged by the contentious nature of their donors, nor do they seem to be the least bit perturbed by the underlying motivations for these contributions. The official English-language Saudi newspaper Ain-Al-Yaqeen is proudly enthusiastic in its description of the royal family’s philanthropy: “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia…has positively shouldered its responsibility, and played a pioneering role in order to raise the banner of Islam all over the globe and raise the Islamic call either inside or outside the Kingdom.”
Naturally, the Saudi royalty that bankroll these efforts are not so accessible in describing their goals in the U.S. However, the nature of the scholarship conducted at departments accepting Islamist charity betrays the goals of the fundamentalist Islamic nation. The Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University recently released a widely disputed, absurdly counter-intellectual report that attempts to connect the political rise of President Donald Trump with an commensurate rise in hate crimes aimed at Muslim Americans. The study relies upon uncorroborated media reports that indicate, to any degree, threats or assaults against Muslims derived purely from religious identity. Though most of these local news stories describe less harmful cases of “intimidation” against Muslim minorities, more serious offenses detailed in the Georgetown report are ridden with blatantly lazy errors and omissions. For instance, the robbery of a Muslim pizza delivery man was erroneously reported as a hate crime, despite local law enforcement never investigating it as such. In a remarkable number of cases, the social scientists at Georgetown mistakenly reported attacks against Sikhs or Hindus as Muslim hate crimes, either betraying an astounding lack for even the most elementary level of cultural fluency, or intentionally inflating incidences to produce a political response.
Universities are associating themselves with an infamous class of Islamist characters under the guise of fostering interfaith dialogue and a cultural exchange of values. One such character is none other than Osama Bin Laden’s brother, Bakr Bin Laden, whose Visiting Scholars Fund at Harvard Law School bears his name. The Bin Laden fund was ostensibly established to finance the importation of a “visiting scholar” from a predominantly Muslim country of origin to study at Harvard Law school. Two other U.S. colleges, Tufts University and Dartmouth College, also receive visiting scholars financed by the Bin Laden family. Comfortable in the knowledge that the Al-Qaeda leader was sufficiently estranged from the larger Bin Laden family, university administrators have had no qualms with accepting dozens of visiting Islamic scholars in the name of the Bin Laden family. Of course, Harvard Law School no longer publishes the identities of its visiting fellows, making it impossible to study their respective bodies of work for indications of radical Islamic influence.
Harvard spokesman Joe Wrinn claims that the lack of transparency regarding the identity of visiting fellows is for safety considerations. ”It was done to prevent any kind of harassment and to allay any security concerns.” Translation: The Islamophobic American public cannot be trusted with this information.
The idea that a fundamentalist Islamic dictatorship and the Bin Laden family are so acutely involved in importing foreign scholars to the U.S. is made even more scandalous when the Trump administration travel ban is considered. Indeed, in order for any court to render a decision on a case, the Constitution requires that the court have jurisdiction by proving that a plaintiff “has suffered a concrete and particularized injury that is either actual or imminent, that the injury is fairly traceable to the defendant, and that it is likely that a favorable decision will redress that injury.” The 9th Circuit Court, as well as other district courts, ruled that because universities around the country are suffering a financial and intellectual loss from the absence of Middle Eastern students and professors held up by the travel ban, states have suffered actual damages and the court has standing render a ruling.
The 9th Circuit Court’s decision reads, “Specifically, the States allege that the teaching and research missions of their universities are harmed by the Executive Order’s effect on their faculty and students who are nationals of the seven affected countries. These students and faculty cannot travel for research, academic collaboration, or for personal reasons, and their families abroad cannot visit. Some have been stranded outside the country, unable to return to the universities at all. The schools cannot consider attractive student candidates and cannot hire faculty from the seven affected countries, which they have done in the past.”
The court’s decision means that non-citizens who are in many cases tied to politicized, anti-American academic programs are now considered so vital to the economic interests of states that long-standing presidential authority may be usurped in their favor. So far, appellate courts have ruled to put a stay on the travel ban, creating the disgraceful situation whereby Bin Laden Visiting Fellows and Saudi-funded educational programs have compromised the ability of the president to execute his lawful mandate to guarantee national security.
Title VI Tricks
If MESA and the conglomerate of Islamist-funded educational endowments within U.S. universities has created an unholy axis of anti-Westernism, the U.S. government has become the unwitting third arm of this tripartite. This inconceivable arrangement is only made possible by the National Defense Education Act, Title VI of which sets aside resources for the pursuit of area studies programs. While private funding, such as the [INSERT NAME OF SAUDI PRINCE] School of Islamic Studies make up the majority of departmental funds available to educators, American citizens also contribute to Middle Eastern studies via taxes allocated for Title VI.
Initially established as a strategic byproduct of the Cold War, Title VI funds were appropriated largely for use in Soviet, Far East, and Latin Americans studies to contain the spread of communism. Gottesman describes the early mission of the NDEA “to create a pool of American scholars and experts focused on critical regions of the world whose expertise would help guide policymakers.” The Middle East did not figure prominently into national security discussions until the Arab-Israeli conflict turned into a perpetual crisis after the wars in 1967 and 1973, and the lack of American colonial experiences in the region certainly contributed to the deficit of meaningful scholarship. Subsequently, the pioneers of the early American departments of Middle Eastern studies, the first of which was established at Princeton University in 1947, were an eclectic range of both native-born Middle Easterners and European subject matter experts. These scholars maintained a reputation for impartiality and professionalism typical of mid-century American academia.
As the nature of the Arab-Israeli conflict began to be defined more by Palestinian oppression and less by Arab hostility, and a generation of post-Vietnam activists began assuming roles as educators, the department witnessed a dramatic shift. At the same time, a 1978 book by Palestinian Edward Said titled Orientalism made harsh accusations of those that taught Middle Eastern studies, claiming that scholars in the field were the willing accomplices of an imperial government that sought to defame Islam while bolstering the Zionist cause. In 1965 Title VI became a part of the Higher Education Act which shifted the support for area studies away from purely national defense and foreign policy concerns to a wider pursuit of the advancement of international studies. These conditions combined to create a pendulous ideological shift in favor of protecting the oppressed Palestinian people, and as more Arab Middle Easterners entered the field of study as natural experts of the history and current affairs of the region, a decidedly anti-American, anti-Semitic discourse began to emerge. All the while, these partisan, ideologically entrenched institutions continued to receive Title VI funds from the federal government, so that allowances meant to pay for the advancement of intellectual manpower and international fluency were actually used to oppose American interests and denigrate American allies.
Efforts to reverse these paradoxical trends have been intolerably unproductive. The nature of the external governments that fund these programs, and the universally anti-American and anti-Israeli canonization contained within them has prompted U.S. lawmakers to mandate ideological diversity in classrooms that receive federal funding. In 2008, U.S. Congress was sufficiently concerned about the direction of area studies programs to impose standards on applicants receiving Title VI funding, mandating that they “reflect diverse perspectives and a wide range of views and generate debate on world regions and international affairs,” as well as encourage students to apply their expertise to government work, education, and nonprofit endeavors.
Despite attempts to implement controls, though, programs covering the Middle East continue to endorse radical ideologies. demonizing Israel and the West while working to portray Palestinians in a manner inconsistent with factual analysis. A study from AMCHA Initiative, a nonprofit that documents and reports incidences of anti-Semitism on U.S. campuses, examined the guests invited to speak at UCLA’s Gustav E. von Grunebaum Center for Near East Studies. Even though Congress had already demanded that programs receiving federal funds maintain curricula free from political bias, the AMCHA Initiative found that UCLA was not compliant with legislator’s demands.
The report concluded that, “A large majority of the invited speakers at the events have demonized Israel and promoted boycott and divestment. One-third have compared Jews to Nazis, and one-third have condoned terrorism. The results indicate that CNES has a troubling anti-Israel bias, which distorts its scholarly and educational mission and is a violation of the funding requirements of Title VI of the Higher Education Act.” Some speakers met with and openly endorse Hezbollah. During the period of study, UCLA’s Center for Near East Studies received around $1.5 million in federal funding from Title VI.
As with any reform aimed at institutional change, without oversight the changes demanded by Congress are promised to fail. A report from the Louis D. Brandeis Center exploring the lack of oversight in collegiate institutions across America concluded that Title VI funds are a “national embarrassment,” and determined that, “Some programs were reportedly so hostile towards Israel that they would not even remotely entertain views that contradicted their unrelentingly anti-Israel perspective.”
Most significantly, the intellectual favoritism displayed for Islam and the plight of Arabs is not contained to classrooms at expensive, upper echelon universities. Public outreach programs encouraged by the NDEA have fostered the proliferation of professional development courses for K-12 teachers across America, ensuring that the Islamist narrative reaches young and impressionable audiences. While democratic lawmakers continue to stifle any Christian or Jewish influence from public schools under the guise of satisfying Constitutional mandates, Islam is given an amplified voice through the efforts of groups like the Council of Islamic Education. After President Bill Clinton produced education guidelines for Religious Expression in Public Schools with the help of the American Muslim Council, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the ACLU, Islamic teaching materials began flooding into America. While Nativity scenes and Christmas trees were effectively banned from public classrooms, students at one California elementary school were given cutting edge computer technologies which allowed them to “learn to become Muslim, recite the Quran, fast for Ramadan and pray Islamic prayers.”
Through expansive, Islamist-funded educational endowments at Western universities, the importation of a steady stream of “visiting fellows” of an unknown political persuasion, and the participation of an inadvertent accomplice in the U.S. government, pro-Islamist discourse is permitted to flourish unchallenged in the halls of learning. It is not the existence of critical analysis of the U.S. and Israel that should concern citizens, but the systemic disregard for opposing scholarly opinion to compete with these radical voices that is so troubling.
Curriculum of Cultivation
Within the department of Middle Eastern studies, Truth has been elusive because healthy skepticism is absent. By reading various university course descriptions detailing this program of study, it quickly becomes clear that a consensus exists among academia: the West is responsible for all of the social, economic, and cultural ills facing Islamic societies. In the name of power and profit, white colonialists have subordinated the Middle East and North Africa, and nearly every modern challenge facing the region can be tied back to this unequal relationship. The Zionist movement is the cumulative effect of these imperial designs made manifest at the cost of Palestinian self-determination. Ten to sixty years of varying degrees of Western involvement here has somehow become the most seminal event in nearly 1400 years of Arab Muslim ascendancy, including 400 years of Turkish imperialism that preceded European involvement in the region. So reads the syllabus of nearly every collegiate institution on the planet.
A graduate level course from the University of Maryland called “Reformers, Radicals and Revolutionaries” obeys this prejudiced formula, and students’ conclusions concerning the results of Western management of the Middle East are predicted: “Course lectures and the analysis and discussion of primary sources will lead students to understand that the peoples of the Middle East found answers to the challenges posed by Western dominance based on their specific historical, cultural and socioeconomic circumstances.” Once this program of indoctrination is complete, students will find the West culpable for the entire region’s instability, and threats like Islamism and terrorism are simply responses to challenges presented by outsiders.
Instructors like Dr. Hatem Bazian of Berkeley continue to indoctrinate their students with a purely one-sided analysis of the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The course description for Bazian’s class, “Palestine: A Settler Colonial Analysis,” reads that it will “explore the possibilities of a decolonized Palestine.” Students may be sure that a course taught by a professor who has signed a petition which disavows the state of Israel, like 200 of his colleagues across the world, promises to offer a type of subjectivity that has no place within the halls of higher learning. Professor David Lloyd of the University of California, Riverside, sponsors a similar course, erroneously teaching his students that Israel actively practices apartheid against its Arab citizens.
Many universities publish course descriptions that have little in common with the actual course content. Students enrolled in classes taught by the assistant professor of Arab politics at Columbia University, Joseph Massad, have complained that their overzealous instructor used his academic pulpit to denounce or revile the state of Israel, regardless of the advertised purpose of the course. Sophomore student Bari Weiss described the atmosphere for the classes as “suffocating” and reported that a course on the history of the region was used purely to denigrate Israel. Other students recall being removed from Massad’s lectures for failing to recognize Israeli oppression of Palestinians.
“The course was supposed to be all about the Middle East,” Weiss said. “The amount of time he spent talking about Zionism or the Jewish nation or Jewish culture was inappropriate.”
Other bizarre narratives persist in the university setting. Scholars of Middle Eastern studies enjoy making cultural equivalencies between Islamic and Western societies during–and only during–the Middle Ages. Saint Xavier University’s course description for “Art in the Islamic World” says that, “Stress is placed on the Islamic world’s strategic role in the cultural exchange between East and West.” This is a peculiar way of describing the Islamic conquests which linked together Europe and Asia. A representation–to be sure–that is lacking for later globalizing linkages established by European nations in the region. Consequently, the golden age of Islam produces a distinctive explanation from scholars wherein civilizations subject to Muslim rule were fortunate to be subjugated by such a modernizing force as Islam. Students will surely learn that while Europeans were living in mud huts and worshiping plants, Muslim sages were divining complex algebraic equations on newly innovated reams of paper.
An enterprising liberal professor will no doubt cite the experiences of the Arab traveler Ahmad ibn Fadlan as evidence of Islam’s cultural superiority. Fadlan had this to say of his Viking hosts during a visit to the north in medieval times: “They are the filthiest of all Allah’s creatures: they do not purify themselves after excreting or urinating or wash themselves when in a state of ritual impurity after coitus and do not even wash their hands after food.”
Crusading European knights making similar xenophobic descriptions of Arab Muslims are cited as evidence of the ignorance that allowed these barbarous invaders to commit genocide in the cities they conquered. Yet the comparison between Islam and the West is made to prove the fallacy that Middle Easterners lived in the most erudite, civil societies known to man before Europeans corrupted them through colonialism. Only the touch of the European man could wither and putrefy the very epicenter of civilization, or the world’s cultural high ground. This, despite centuries of internecine warfare and corrupt Ottoman mismanagement.
Academia’s insistence that Europe and the United States have wrecked the Middle East really originates with arguments made about the Sykes-Picot agreement. Named after the French and British diplomats who hammered out the deal, the revisionist consensus insists that it established a Middle East created in the image of Western profiteers and paid no heed to the ethno-sectarian rivalries that have existed in the region for centuries.
The result of this 1916 map-making endeavor, asserts the scholarly elite, is a contemporary Middle East in a perpetual state of war, where religious extremism competes with secular fascism, where the impossibly wealthy reign over the distressingly destitute.
If challenging this intellectual uniformity is no simple task for historians and social scholars, it is an impossibility for the incorrigible undergraduate. Writing for Foreign Policy, Steven A. Cook and Amr T. Leheta agree that, “The failure of the Sykes-Picot agreement is now part of the received wisdom about the contemporary Middle East.” Perhaps to demonstrate a fluency with regional history, or to recite the latest liberal talking points, Sykes-Picot has ventured from the classroom to the dinner party, from the textbook to the television.
But to place the dismal fate of the entire Middle Eastern world squarely upon the shoulders these two European diplomats is to manufacture the ultimate historical strawman argument. Besides being principally unsound–it was the Treaty of Sevrès and the San Remo Conference that really established European zones of influence–conformist scholars deny that the political units and borders established by the victorious Allied powers after WWI obeyed historical prototypes.
To reduce issues as complex as those facing the modern Middle East, with all of its social, political and cultural intractability, to such simplistic terms as those pronounced by a defunct agreement like Sykes-Picot is to adopt a scholastic lunacy unsuitable for even the most introductory courses on the subject. Yet this curriculum persists despite a wealth of contradictory information.
Cook and Leheta agree, “Nor are the Middle East’s modern borders completely without precedent. Yes, they are the work of European diplomats and colonial officers — but these boundaries were not whimsical lines drawn on a blank map. They were based, for the most part, on pre-existing political, social, and economic realities of the region, including Ottoman administrative divisions and practices.”
An Ottoman Empire, it is worth noting, whose early successes were driven in large part due to a massive corp of Christian slave-soldiers.
White Man’s Burden
In 1899, British novelist and poet Rudyard Kipling penned his bullheaded magnum opus poetically proclaiming the duty of white men in America to civilize the inferior races, “half devil and half child,” in a manner similar to that of the British Empire. Indeed, such xenophobic sentiments provided a perceived ethical impetus for Americans to involve themselves in a number of ill-conceived foreign adventures at the turn of the century. However, as the 20th century progressed and the Great War came to a close, a radical ideological transformation took place, introducing the concepts of self-determination and nationalism. Kipling’s illiberal limerick and the controversy it produced has outlasted the very imperial models he once promoted, so that decades after the cultural misappropriation of the 1800s, even the most selfless humanitarian commitments by Western nations were inappropriately condemned as instances of Western encroachment.
In any case, the established academic wisdom and the scholarly consensus regarding colonialism may be challenged by demonstrating how the European powers quickly looked for an exit strategy in a politically unstable region. For instance, a white paper by Dr. Toby Dodge of the University of London asserts that the British Mandate in Iraq, or the international authority for the U.K. to govern Iraq post WWI, created the conditions that permitted the rise of a Baathist military dictatorship in Iraq. The same report, though, mentions numerous facts that demonstrate the financial and political insolvency of such a strategy for Britain. By suppressing the 1920 revolt in Iraq, 426 British were killed, 1,228 were wounded, and another 615 were missing or taken prisoner.
Administering the newly formed nation-states within the Middle East was, in fact, frequently a fiscal and political burden for the European powers, not a source of capital for imperial states as suggested by revisionist historians. Mainstream academia insists that the entire Mandate system was instituted by the United Nations to advance the national interests of Western powers. Yet, Dodge notes that “within 12 years the British government had persuaded the League to recognise Iraq’s full independence. Britain had successfully divested itself of the very costly responsibility for Iraq’s creation.” British authorities found themselves perpetually challenged by a recalcitrant Iraqi legislature and an electorate that, first in the countryside by the peasantry and then among the urban elite, participated in mass violent uprisings to shrug off any semblance of foreign control, despite British involvement being limited to a simple advisory capacity by the middle 1920s.
The former European imperial powers could not operate with the same reckless impunity that they enjoyed in the 19th century. Dodge attributed this change to the new prominence of the nation-state as a political unit, as well as America’s newfound significance in the post-WWI international stage. President Woodrow Wilson’s insistence on the universal values of self-determination and national sovereignty prevented the imperial annexation of territory in Iraq that would have been permissible just decades earlier. However, professors are not making this distinction in the classroom, and many students graduate with the misconception that similar abuses to those committed in 19th century Africa and India occurred under the mandate system in the Middle East.
This is not to contend that the allied European victors of WWI acted without personal ambition in the Middle East; the French supervision of Lebanon and Syria was certainly conducted with stricter authoritative control than experienced under the British Mandate. David K. Fieldhouse, arguably the world’s foremost expert on economic imperialism, admits that the British allowed each ministerial position within the Iraqi government to be administered by local nationals, while the same posts within the French Mandate were occupied by French officials. Britain resolved to see Iraq awarded full independence on a strict timetable; France avoided firm commitments. Despite the despotic appearance of the French-Arab relationship, though, the status quo established under Ottoman rule was essentially preserved and class dynamics were left undisturbed by French officials. Since most Arabs living under Ottoman rule prior to WWI expressed loyalty to the empire, it is conceivable that the French preservation of Ottoman bureaucratic and aristocratic institutions was accepted with favor by the general public.
The French should also be credited with providing the social and civic foundations by which Lebanon would prosper despite its theologically diverse population. While some scholars, such as socialist activist Omar Hassan of the University of Sydney, Australia, criticize the colonial French establishment of “hierarchical communal relations of control and conflict that became entrenched in the social and political structures of Lebanon,” this arrangement has resulted in a relatively open and tolerant multisectarian society, conditions that could never be duplicated in other Middle Eastern nations composed of similarly diverse demographics. Lebanon today is governed via a confessional power-sharing arrangement between Sunni, Shiite and Christian factions–an unprecedented civic relationship that may not have been possible without early French stewardship.
Nevertheless, the scholastic consensus regarding the Mandate system insists that France and Britain were stimulated by purely selfish economic concerns. These beliefs are grounded in the principles of Leninist theory, a tempestuously popular ideology among the socialist and Marxist cornerstone of academia (see part 1 of this study). Vladimir Lenin argued that imperialism is just the highest evolutionary stage of capitalism, meant to subjugate an economically weaker people for the purpose of obtaining cheaper labor and resources. As a consequence, Marxists and Islamists make congenital confederates, forming an impenetrable intellectual bulwark within university settings.
John A. Hobson, another prolific critic of imperialism often cited by academic specialists, insisted that unscrupulous, faceless financiers worked tirelessly to extract profit from new territory at the expense of the colonized, without considering any purpose for these ventures outside of financial gain.
Hobson denies the possibility of any virtuous motives for these commercial enterprises. He wrote that, “In the mouth of their representatives are noble phrases, expressive of their desire to extend the area of civilisation, to establish good governments, promote Christianity, extirpate slavery, and elevate the lower races. Some of the business men who hold such language may entertain a genuine, though usually a vague, desire to accomplish these ends, but they are primarily engaged in business, and they are not unaware of the utility of the more unselfish forces in furnishing their needs.”
The theories upheld by thinkers like Hobson and Lenin have become popularized and mentioned as matters of fact beyond debate among the professorate. Indeed, Fieldhouse agrees that any dissenting voices are inaudible above the din of congruent, back-slapping approval from academic elites. He posits, “Hobson’s own claim to importance and originality lies simply in his having induced British, and subsequently world, opinion to accept his own special definition of the word imperialism.”
This definition is decidedly simplistic and altruistic, and relies upon great leaps of rationality and scholastic conformity to convince students at regular academic intervals that the entire Middle East was born from some obscure financial conspiracy. Any of the numerous positive outcomes that resulted from European supervision of the Middle East, as Hobson suggests, were accidental or motivated by political profit.
For Marxists, however, positive consequences resulting from the pursuit of wealth are made immoral by the procurement of commercial interests. Hobson’s unsound analysis of imperialism, first published in 1902, has dominated academic discourse since its inception, creating an anti-Western consensus with enough intellectual tack to become permanently affixed as a matter of historical fact. Again, Fieldhouse explains, “His conception of the nature of ‘imperialism’ has, indeed, been almost universally accepted and, partly through the expository literature it has generated, may be said to have exercised a significant historical influence.”
Academia’s faulty conclusions regarding the mandate system in the Middle East extends to misconceptions regarding the establishment of Israel. Pro-Palestinian professors–or simply professors–consistently cite the Balfour Declaration as evidence of Western Zionist sympathies. In 1917, this document declared Britain’s support for a national homeland for diaspora Jews in Palestine. However, the irony is that this support was predicated on an anti-Semitic miscalculation.
Like many anti-Semite conspiracists, British imperials wrongly judged that Jews were the behind-the-scenes managers of world events, using their great wealth and influence to direct policy in the U.S. and Russia. This bigoted typecasting was actually used in WWI Britain in a misguided attempt to please Jewish figures in America and Russia, whom Balfour and company wrongly estimated could entice their representatives in power to support the Allies. In the case of the U.S., the theory held that the Zionists could help draw the Americans into the war at a most critical juncture, while Russian Jews could be made to keep the Bolsheviks engaged in the war on the precarious Eastern front. In any event, it was hardly pro-Zionist fervor which enticed His Majesty’s Government to produce the Balfour Declaration, dismissing the very basis of many pro-Palestinian arguments which claim that Israel was only established and perpetually supported thereafter by Europe’s ideological preference for the Zionist cause.
An industrious historian need only study what prominent British statesmen involved with the Balfour Declaration were saying at the time to adopt an appreciation for the parsimonious nature of Britain’s commitment to Zionism, starting with Lord Balfour himself, who is remembered for saying, “I do not think it is easy to exaggerate the international power of the Jews.”
Sir Mark Sykes, the diplomat whose name is now enduringly tied to the fate of the Middle East also had an anti-Semitic appreciation for Zionism. He once described Jewish political influence as “atmospheric, international, cosmopolitan, subconscious and unwritten, nay often unspoken.”
Conclusively, if there is any doubt that such bigotry permeated the highest echelons of British policy-making, Prime Minister David Lloyd George once called a Jewish colleague “a greedy, ambitious and grasping Jew with all the worst characteristics of his race.”
British imperial policy was not concerned with maligning Arab Muslim interests in the region in favor of Zionism. Rather, the primary goal of the British regarding the Palestine Mandate consisted of keeping the territory out of the control of its international adversaries, as well imperial competitors like France, and keeping trade routes open to India. None of these conditions required the oppression of Palestinians.
Many of the national boundaries within the Middle East which persist today, including Palestine, may be attributed to a series of correspondences between Sharif Husayn of Mecca and Sir Henry McMahon, the High Commissioner of Cairo whom the British government trusted with negotiating with potential Arab insurrectionists during WWI. McMahon provided certain territorial assurances to Husayn in exchange for the promise of an Arab uprising against the Ottoman Empire. Much of the contemporary academic debate surrounding the McMahon-Hussein correspondences centers around the translation for a cognate word, or a word with different meanings in both Ottoman and Arabic, that could mean either “province” or “environs.” The exact implication of the word would determine whether McMahon was promising Palestine to his erstwhile Arab ally or not.
The predominate academic viewpoint, of course, is that Palestine was a “twice promised land” and the subject of an unethical foreign policy blunder, promised to Arab Ottomans by imperial Britain for the express purpose of exploiting military and material support, despite British officials pledging contradictory assurances to the Zionist movement. Fortunately, historian Isaiah Friedman was granted unprecedented access to historical records of the McMahon-Husayn correspondences, as well numerous supporting documents, and he was thus able to challenge the established academic consensus which indicted British colonialists for decades of Arab-Israeli conflict. Not only does Friedman make convincing arguments that McMahon willfully and intentionally excluded Palestine from the territories being offered to Husayn, but he effectively repudiates the purpose for any linguistic or territorial debate altogether by proving that “the British, as well as the Allies, committed themselves merely to recognize and uphold Arab independence in the areas liberated (from the rule of the Ottoman Empire) by the Arabs themselves.” Therefore, since Sharif Husayn and his loyalists never liberated Palestine from Ottoman rule, the Arabs had no legitimate claims to Palestine.
Following post-war negotiations and League of Nations approval, the occupying British sought to legislate the Palestinian territories with an even-handed approach that, at times, cast doubt on the very spirit of the Balfour Declaration. As the British administered the Palestinian Mandate, officials consistently passed laws to limit Jewish immigration into what would eventually become the state of Israel, while asking Syrian and Jordanian customs agents to ignore the massive influx of Arab immigration into the region.
Neighboring Arab Middle Easterners were attracted by the prosperity generated from Jewish settlement, and they would often set up communities on the outskirts of Jewish neighborhoods in order to share in the economic stimulus. In 1939, Winston Churchill said, “So far from being persecuted, the Arabs have crowded into the country and multiplied till their population has increased more than even all world Jewry could lift up the Jewish population.”
Neville Chamberlain is noted for his Arab preference. Chamberlain told his cabinet that “If we must offend one side, let us offend the Jews rather than the Arabs.” British sponsorship of Palestinian interests, though, are regularly unexplored in academic and political circles.
Similar to the Mandate for Iraq, maintaining a presence in Palestine came with far more costs than compensatory advantages for Britain. In 1936, after receiving monetary donations from Nazi Germany, the Arabs rioted and British soldiers were used to keep the peace.
An illuminative means for understanding the extent of bias informing Western curricula on the Arab-Israeli conflict may be grasped by reviewing Israeli primary school textbooks. After Leftist victories in the Israeli Knesset before the turn of the millennium, Israeli textbooks were drastically altered to coincide with historical narratives taught by Western academics of the typical liberal persuasion. Historical accounts became exceptionally sympathetic to Palestinian and Arab versions of events, despite the flaws inherent to them.
Eyal Naveh, professor of history at the University of Tel Aviv, is among the “new historians” who count themselves as being more objective for their emotional separation from the seminal events of Israel’s founding for not taking part in them. Bolstered by recent political victories from Israel’s Left, the “new history” teaches that Israel actually held the advantage when it was attacked simultaneously by all of its Arab neighbors, recounts that the Israelis forcibly expelled the Palestinians after claiming independence, and focuses on an isolated massacre carried out by Jewish radicals which occurred at the Arab village of Deir Yassin. Most importantly, though, these new historians are teaching that any other narratives previously espoused by Israeli historians should be called “myths,” and relegated to discussions of wartime propaganda.
The profound institutional changes that have occurred within Israeli classrooms at the behest of liberal academics are best exemplified by passages from two Israeli textbooks. The first, a popular history text used in 1984, describes the 1948 war between Israel and the Arab world as such: ”The numerical standoff between the two sides in the conflict was horrifyingly unbalanced. The Jewish community numbered 650,000. The Arab states together came to 40 million. The chances of success were doubtful and the Jewish community had to draft every possible fighter for the defense of the community.”
Contrast this with the new historian’s account: ”On nearly every front of and in nearly every battle, the Jewish side had the advantage over the Arabs in terms of planning, organization, operation of equipment and also in the number of trained fighters who participated in the battle.”
New history critic Aharon Megged dislikes this gargantuan shift in perspective. “Why not just translate the Palestinian books for our children and be done with it?” he asks.
However, Megged lacks an appreciation for the utter revulsion and anti-Semitism present within the pages of Palestinian school books. Even mathematics is conducted in a sadistic manner among Palestinians and their coreligionists throughout the Middle East. According to Republican Newt Gingrich, “They have textbooks that say, ‘If there are 13 Jews and nine Jews are killed, how many Jews are left?’”
Clearly, the answer for many Palestinians is “too many.”
A study that compared school text books among Palestinians and Israelis found that the former portrayed Jews negatively a full 84 percent of the time. The same study attempts to establish that both Israelis and Palestinians use negative, bigoted terminology in their text books, but this unfair conclusion is only possible by comparing ultra-Orthodox Jewish school texts with mainstream Palestinian school books. When textbooks from secular, public Israeli schools are examined, where 70 percent of Israeli children go to school, the results are incomparable.
Israel’s Islamist neighbors are no more gracious in their descriptions of the Jewish state or other non-believers. Year after year, primary school textbooks in Saudi Arabia are roundly condemned for teaching hateful bigotry via odious lessons which start as early as the first grade and culminate in 12th grade lessons instructing Saudi teens on how to properly wage jihad against infidels. The Saudi government commissioned a study in response to international condemnation for this perverse curriculum, eventually admitting that their own education system “encourages violence toward others, and misguides the pupils into believing that in order to safeguard their own religion, they must violently repress and even physically eliminate the ‘other.'”
After promising reform on numerous occasions, local teachers and activists continue to smuggle out revised textbooks from Saudi Arabia that offer the same genocidal tuition.
Subsequently. peace between the Palestinians and Israelis has been so elusive primarily as a result of the “Right of Return,” or the status of diaspora Palestinians and their offspring which were, in one manner or another, displaced from their homeland after Israel declared statehood in 1948. Revisionist accounts of the Arab exodus from Israel vary in their audacious extremity, with some academics insisting that Israel orchestrated a deliberate campaign to ethnically cleanse their new homeland of Arabs, while the more moderate position is one that conceives of numerous reasons for the withdrawal–both compulsory and voluntary. Though even Israeli instructors are succumbing to pressure from New Historians to concede that Palestinians were forcibly removed from their homes in 1948, another narrative exists that is vastly minimized in Western scholarly circles: Palestinians were ordered by local and external Arab political and Islamic leadership to abandon their homes.
Radical scholars are part of a massive pro-Palestinian faction of politicians, jihadists and social activists who seek to arbitrarily assign mythological, conspiratorial motives to the Israeli state for the mass Palestinian exodus that accompanied Israeli independence. One of the most prolific New Historians is Benny Morris, who has at moments accused the Israeli state of perpetrating the mass Palestinian exodus via heavy handed tactics. However, as historian Efraim Karsh–one of Morris’ greatest critics–explains, there are numerous reasons to call the New Historians’ perceptions into question. Besides contradicting himself more than once (Morris in 2004: “When an armed thug tries to murder you in your home, you have every right to defend yourself, even by throwing him out.”), Karsh explains how Morris’ scholarship “reverts to the problematic technique of relying on a small number of Zionist statements either taken out of context or simply misrepresented.”
Like a host of pro-Palestinian pundits, Morris makes weak attempts to describe the Palestinian exodus as a premeditated act that was a fundamental part of Zionist ideology. However, archives demonstrate that the antithesis is true: early Jewish leaders were worried about the capacity of Israel to absorb millions of new Jewish immigrants because supplanting indigenous Arab Palestinians was never meaningfully explored. A multitude of original sources from the era demonstrate that there was no large-scale plan to supplant to Palestinians. In fact, the inverse is proven by media sources from the time demonstrating that Arab leadership actually encouraged Palestinians to forfeit their homes for the coming battle.
Globally, educators are surely influenced by this debate occurring within Israeli classrooms. As Israeli historians and scholars surrender or nullify their documented accounts of the Arab-Israeli conflict in order to satisfy the partisan revisions of the Left, academia at large is emboldened and encouraged to adapt their own curricula to satisfy the Arab narrative. If the Israelis do not pursue the eradication of fictional revisionist history from their own classrooms, there can be no doubt that liberal academic institutions the world over will swiftly and completely adopt pro-Palestinian fantasies devoid of any serious attempts for impartial review.
The New Neocolonialism
The exploitative injustices committed by the seaborne empires of Europe prior to WWI have been slow to fade from global consciousness. Certainly the institutionalization of these policies by Western legislators, and the celebration of this expansion as a sort of racial mandate helped cement the perception of distrust that the international community presently holds for any example of Western foreign intrusion. The new neocolonialism, as implied by prominent academics, is any attempt by Westerners to send any aid or assistance of any kind to former colonial states. Even remarking on injustices occurring in the Third World is perceived as a racist disregard for indigenous citizens to solve their own problems.
The late Kwame Nkrumah, the one-time socialist prime minister of Ghana and, naturally, a life-long academic of Western tuition, described the difference between “naked colonialism” and post-WWI neocolonialism. “This means, so it [the modern imperialist] claims, that it is ‘giving’ independence to its former subjects, to be followed by ‘aid’ for their development. Under cover of such phrases, however, it devises innumerable ways to accomplish objectives formerly achieved by naked colonialism. It is this sum total of these modern attempts to perpetuate colonialism while at the same time talking about ‘freedom’, which has come to be known as neo-colonialism.”
So, as academia suggests, any act of human kindness from Western nations should be recognized as an attempt to marginalize a former colony for the express purpose of plundering wealth from third world inhabitants. Even attempts by Western academics to monumentalize by publication the historical narrative of the colonized is seen as woefully insufficient due to the presumed privileged status of the Western author. Graham Huggan of Harvard University argues that the Anglocentric nature of postcolonial discourse occurring in the West, however sympathetic and anti-imperialist this conformity may be, is “intellectually bankrupt” because of the scholars’ inability to understand the native tongue of the colonized. Even attempts to find authentic voices by importing indigenous writers for a genuine postcolonial perspective, as Huggan claims, is a suspect endeavor since Western publishing houses will market such literature to a Eurocentric “reading public” that retains certain myths about the exotic, otherly nature of subjugated peoples. In this manner, Westerners are not only incapable of commenting on the subject of neocolonialism, but they are also poorly equipped to even read about colonial experiences from colonial voices as a result of their cultural ineptitude.
Of course, the logically circuitous nature of this thinking, whereby Westerners find themselves incapable of remarking on or even digesting information related to the plight of the disenfranchised, has consequences outside of academia. In response to Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army’s genocidal campaign through northern Uganda, American nonprofits and media outlets awakened a massive social media response by documenting and publicizing the kidnappings, rapes, and murders perpetrated by Kony and his henchmen. Inexplicably, after a generous outpouring of charitable support and social media sympathy, many African intellectuals felt that the humanitarian response from the West was just an extension of colonialism.
Nigerian-American novelist Teju Cole was offended by U.S. assistance for Ugandans, describing a charity meant for children as part of the “White Savior Industrial Complex.”
Ugandan-American activist TMS Ruge was irate at the attention his neighbors received from the West, calling the online Kony campaign meant to build international awareness on the genocide in his country a “fund-raising stunt.” Ruge and other African activists were upset at the perception of helplessness that prevails for Africans, interpreting Western concern as an extension of colonialism. He said in his blog that, “We as Africans, especially the diaspora, are waking to the idea that our agency has been hijacked for far too long by well-meaning Western do-gooders with a guilty conscience, sold on the idea that Africa’s ills are their responsibility.”
These African academics influence the way that Western professors interpret events in the Middle East, creating a scholarly consensus for Western isolation from military endeavors in places like Libya and Syria. Their theses rest not upon any practical strategic considerations, but rather upon a firm belief that Western intervention, despite humanitarian needs on the ground, is a counterproductive extension of imperialism.
Opposition to American military intervention proliferates college campuses. A University of Wisconsin professor cancelled his classes in protest of Operation Iraqi Freedom, prompting students to request a refund for their tuition.
Faculty at Irvine Valley College in Southern California cried censorship when administrators sent out a memorandum requesting that professors remain neutral on the topic of the war in Iraq, keeping lectures relevant to course materials. When the faculty persisted in their outrage, college leadership revealed that the request came from the student body.
At Amherst College, students were forced to witness the spectacle of 40 of their professors parading into their normally serene dining hall with anti-war signs. In at least one instance, student and teacher came to blows over the chaotic interruption.
Anything but Islam
European attempts to build a new Middle East from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire, then, are an inadequate explanation of modern day challenges confronting the region. Cook and Leheta provide an alternative possibility that remains undiscussed in most classrooms. “The conflicts unfolding in the Middle East today, then, are not really about the legitimacy of borders or the validity of places called Syria, Iraq, or Libya,” they argue. “Instead, the origin of the struggles within these countries is over who has the right to rule them.” And with increasing frequency, Islamists are proclaiming their rights to authority. From established Islamic regimes in places like Pakistan and Iran, to emerging theocratic experiments in Egypt and Tunisia, the pan-Islamist movement is perhaps in an infantile stage.
Students of Bazian, the incompetent clod of a professor who likened Trump’s election victory and Brexit to the rise of white nationalism, will learn that the disarray experienced throughout the Arab Muslim world is a product of Westernization. “You created your colonial box and you need to clean it yourself,” demands the obtuse professor of the country that welcomed him.
If colonialism is the problem, Islam is the answer. Increasingly, Islamic fundamentalism is provided as an answer to the political collapse of past governments in the Middle East. Arabs first failed to organize around nationalist sentiments, and after a brief experiment with pan-Arabism in the 1960s, political Islam was offered up as a legitimate response to the challenges facing the Middle East.
Yet American professors refuse to acknowledge a religious link to any contemporary crises. With remarkable acuity, deputy director for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies Oren Kessler exposes the absurdity of this refusal:
“The conflicts of the Middle East aren’t about religion. Jihadist violence? Garden-variety criminality, the president says. Young people flocking to ISIS?’ ‘Thrill-seekers,’ posits the secretary of state, who are desperate for ‘jobs,’ per a State Department spokeswoman. Iran’s belligerence? A reaction to ostracization, a former embassy hostage insists. Sunni-Shiite bloodletting? Jockeying for power, the pundits conclude.” The refusal to properly identify what motivates a threat simply grants it permission to persist unmolested.
Perhaps that is what has earned President-elect Trump the ire of so many academics (see part I of this report); he is willing to denounce Islamic fundamentalism and define America’s enemies.
Professors will always find the link between religion and political policy uncomfortably elusive. It is counterintuitive, after all, for a scientific thinker to reduce an argument to its spiritual essence. It is even more upsetting for a liberal visionary to point the finger at someone else’s religion as the cause of something ugly. Kessler agrees that “scrutinizing specific religious doctrines remains one of the last great taboos, all the more so when the faith in question is the supposedly non-white creed of Islam.” In the liberal victimhood culture of America that celebrates ridiculously delicate, emotionally sensitive personal outrage, such criticism is socially prohibited.
Writing for The Atlantic, Graeme Wood precisely captures the reluctance of Westerners to cite the theological origins for violent behavior in a piece . He believes that the chronological distance within Christian civilizations for any comparative religious upheaval resulting is schismatic violence is what prohibits the condemnation of jihadists for Western thinkers. Wood writes that, “In the past, Westerners who accused Muslims of blindly following ancient scriptures came to deserved grief from academics—notably the late Edward Said—who pointed out that calling Muslims “ancient” was usually just another way to denigrate them. Look instead, these scholars urged, to the conditions in which these ideologies arose—the bad governance, the shifting social mores, the humiliation of living in lands valued only for their oil.”
Wood continues, “Without acknowledgment of these factors, no explanation of the rise of the Islamic State could be complete. But focusing on them to the exclusion of ideology reflects another kind of Western bias: that if religious ideology doesn’t matter much in Washington or Berlin, surely it must be equally irrelevant in Raqqa or Mosul. When a masked executioner says Allahu akbar while beheading an apostate, sometimes he’s doing so for religious reasons.” Without a doubt, this bias is pervasive in university settings, prompting the subsequent misinterpretation of the causes of a number of social and political challenges threatening the region.
Indeed, this baseless assessment is what permits a hypocritical set of contradictions to exist, such as championing the cause of homosexuality whilst concurrently forgiving mainstream Islam for human rights abuses against the same people. The recent Women’s March on Washington and their ignorance of the plight of women in fundamentalist Islamic societies epitomizes this contradiction of ideology. Or the widespread condemnation and Justice Department prosecution of private enterprises that refuse to do business with homosexuals that is starkly contrasted with the deafening silence for the treatment of the same behavioral minorities at the hands of Islamist governments throughout the Middle East.
Yet public policy and Islam are permitted to coalesce into one by academia on the occasions when Islam is monumentalized. For instance, Harvard’s Islamic Legal Studies Program is providing generous resident fellowships in order to study Sharia law and generate the means to secure its implementation into U.S. policy. The pioneering Sharia Research Fellowship Program will provide the cash, facilities, and research tools to study the Islamic case law and fatwas that address a veritable alphabet soup of liberal issues: minority rights, climate change, Islamophobia, refugee studies and animal rights. Noticeably lacking from the discourse is any study of terrorism, radicalization, honor killings, gender studies and family law, or the myriad of issues that truly and urgently need addressed within Muslim communities and are in some way presided over by the dictates of Sharia law.
Discussions concerning Islam and violence, whether terrorism, patriarchal domination, or present day sectarianism, are called responses to Western intrusion or stifled outright. Max Fisher, writing for Vox, is right when he says, “No one who seriously studies the Middle East considers Sunni-Shia sectarianism to be a primarily religious issue.” Fisher subsequently offers a medley of Western stimuli for modern day conflicts that have torn the Middle East asunder since the Islamic schism and have persisted today in places like Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Iran…It would be far more efficient to describe the places where sectarianism does not currently reside, however, and to dismiss the religious link to sectarian conflict is to ignore not only history but the very words of the Sunnis and Shiites presently engaged in such warfare.
The refusal by Leftist professors to place any accountability for the state of the Middle East on Islamists is best exemplified by an address from Georgetown University professor Tamara Sonn to fifty of her colleagues at the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. At the event, Sonn dismissed Islam as a political force in opposition to the West by asking, “How can an ancient, global religion be an enemy of a modern geopolitical construct?” Of course, the very existence of Islamic regimes and Islamic political bodies like the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas dispute the terms by which Sonn defines the conflict between Islam and the West.
Sonn continued with her dubious assessment of Islam, using a Venn diagram to illustrate how jihad is a mostly nonviolent construct. Sonn, like many in academia, dispute the definition of jihad supplied by most Arab-speaking Islamic jurists as meaning warfare in the name of religion. Dismissive of these claims, Sonn argued that jihad is a personal, nonviolent struggle, and only “a tiny part of it is military effort under specific circumstances controlled by Islamic law.”
Jihad, like any religious precept, must be evaluated both by what has been written on the subject in legal treatises and how believers actively observe it. In both instances, as David Cook explains in Understanding Jihad, it is impossible to ignore the martial utility of jihad. While there is certainly evidence, both historically and functionally, of an inner, purely spiritual jihad among Muslims, to ignore as Sonn and Western Muslims do the traditional concept of jihad as a holy war is executed “to distance themselves and their religion from association with violence and conquest…” for the purpose of “‘external consumption.'”
In other words, the violent nature of jihad is ignored by Western Muslims and their apologist allies within academia because violent jihad is morally incompatible with Western values. The exigencies of political activism from the classroom outweigh any desire by some professors to apply even the most rudimentary analytical standards to their research.
Dr. Craig Considine of Rice University is renowned as a Muslim apologist for his lazy, uncritical efforts in searching out moral equivalencies between Islam and Christianity. Considine’s quest to establish this ethical parity is accomplished only by omitting key passages of the Quran, ignoring Islamic jurisprudence, and disputing the findings of contemporary Muslim jurists.
In a “New Perspective of ‘Jihad’ in Christianity and Islam,” Considine echoes the contentions of his colleagues in academia when he argues that “‘jihad’ has several different components, which include personal struggles, such as the struggle against an addiction; social struggles, such as the struggle to become tolerant of others; and occasionally a military struggle, if and when necessary in self-defense.” To support this narrative, Considine completely absolves himself of any scholarly responsibility for considering context.
By recognizing the martial aspect of jihad as a rarely conjured, pacifistic response to external aggression, Considine succeeds in perpetuating a scholastic lunacy that is as easy to dispute as it is common among his academic peers. The Rice professor cites an obscure, oft-disputed remark by Mohammed in which the prophet responds to a question asking which form of jihad is the greatest by answering, “The jihad of the self,” or the internalized struggle against the personal self.
First, as Robert Spencer of jihadwatch.org asserts, this citation is derived from a hadith, or an Islamic tradition inspired by the words and deeds of Mohammed, known as ‘Umdat al-Salik or Reliance of the Traveler. This particular text, according to Spencer, is not a part of the reliable collection of six hadiths studied by Islamic jurists for their consistency and reliability. Additionally, many of the greatest Islamic interpreters of the modern age note how Reliance of the Traveler is preoccupied by many pages relating the sanctity of martial jihad, while devoting a single paragraph to the supposedly “greater” jihad. These same jurists of Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, perhaps the most prestigious school in all of Sunni Islam, produced an authoritative manual on Islamic law stating that “lesser jihad may indeed be lesser in name,” though it “nonetheless exists, and is often given greater attention in Islamic jurisprudence than its supposedly greater counterpart.”
Even if one discounts expert analysis and the validity of hadith sources concerning the lesser and greater jihad, the Quran itself must be explored as the primary source for Truth among Muslims. The Quran is clear regarding the merits of martial action in 4:95: “Not equal are those believers remaining [at home] – and the mujahideen, [who strive and fight] in the cause of Allah with their wealth and their lives. Allah has preferred the mujahideen through their wealth and their lives over those who remain [behind], by degrees. And to both Allah has promised the best [reward].”
Conveniently, professors of Middle Eastern studies spend very little energy actually studying the primary source of Islamists and terrorists, or the Quran, preferring instead to revert back to the colonial narrative. To Sonn, even groups like Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State are acting purely in self defense. She told her little audience of sympathetic academics that “terrorists believe their anti-West campaigns are defensive, because they believe that the West is at war with Islam.”
Esposito, militant Islam’s darling within American academia and the head of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, adds his own preposterous theories to the echo chamber: “…most fundamental and important is the recognition that widespread anti-Americanism among mainstream Muslims and Islamists results from what the United States does—its policies and actions—not its way of life, culture, or religion.”
Collegiate instructors have long attempted to describe the conflict between Islamists and the West in terms of resistance by the weak and subjugated against the all-powerful. Islamists are viewed by Sonn as peaceful community organizers. Sonn asked her audience, “Any of you who have ever tried to be a community organizer, do you know how hard that is day-in, day-out?” Without a doubt, Sonn’s sympathy for the community organizer betrays her own radical approach to scholarship as an overzealous activist first and social scientist last.
She went on to claim that jihadists are “pitching their message to the marginalized underclass, the unemployed, and especially those who feel rejected by the mainstream.”
Therefore, jihadists and terrorists are simply the victims of globally systemic inequalities, forced to live in utterly dismal conditions in a post-colonial world where violent resistance is a natural and even heroic means of engaging an asymmetrically superior foe. Within this suppositional space, even the most unhinged jihadist enjoys an intellectual communion with the activist-professor by way of their malformed geopolitical worldviews.
Middle Easterners could not possibly be motivated to violence by something as crude and irrational as sectarianism or religious mandate, collegiate instructors argue. Yet, somehow, Americans are the perpetrators of the same base discriminatory tactics to which Muslims are immune from committing. Indeed, was it not racism and xenophobia, argues the Left, that resulted in the election of Donald Trump? Isn’t Islamophobia on the rise in America, according to CAIR and the Southern Poverty Law Center, because of hateful ideologies expressed by white racists? Apologist professors are in the absurd position of arguing that many Americans are capable of bigotry and religious discrimination, while the groups that are actually killing each other in the name of Islam do so for purely secular, prudent reasons.
Subject Matter Amateurs
Academic subjects outside the purview of international affairs also tend to overlap with and inform the debate on Middle Eastern studies, since nearly all humanities-driven scholastic programs share socialist theory and distinct criticism of U.S. foreign policy as a fundamental ideological prerequisite. Therefore, a student need not study the Middle East to emerge from college with a stunted understanding of it. Professors from a limitless number of fields share a counterfactual understanding of the region immersed in a collective partisan worldview. Berkeley professor of comparative literature Judith Butler exemplifies the interdisciplinary union among academia that permits a lesbian Marxist feminist like she to be received as an expert social commentator on the Middle East.
Butler teaches a trending Leftist philosophy called “intersectionality theory” that essentially assumes universal consistencies between oppressed homosexuals and minorities and the exploitation of Arab Muslims. From the perspective of Butler (and the loyal feminist students interacting with her curriculum), U.S. and Israeli policy exerts patriarchal, white supremacist controls that are systematically present in all civilizations at once, in some sort of grand, unifying federation of oppression. It is easy to see how such a principle compels solidarity between, for example, an African American woman and a Palestinian jihadist; intersectionality theory implies that minorities subject to entirely different social circumstances should unite around their mutual contempt for the majority. Such a doctrine, by its appearance in a diverse set of academic frameworks seeks to institutionalize division–be it a polarity of class, race, or gender–and ultimately demonize the West.
Intersectionalist theory is not simply relegated to the radical fringe of academia, with many professors embracing this malicious “us versus them” philosophy. George Mason University professor and Palestinian rights lawyer Noura Erakat was featured as a panelist in a Black History Month event at New York University’s Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies. During the discussion on “intersectional solidarity,” Erakat attempted to make absurdly immaterial connections between, for example, allegations of police brutality in Ferguson, Missouri and the plight of Palestinians. Never mind that the U.S. Justice Department and other independent investigators found that the Ferguson police officer who shot Michael Brown was justified in doing so, or that Israeli citizens have been rewarded for returning Gaza to the Palestinians in 2005 with a veritable firestorm of Qassam rockets and the political ascendancy within the Palestinian Authority of an internationally condemned terrorist group. The only intersectionality here, between Black Lives Matter and Hamas, is the sharing of contrived grievances.
Similar to Professor Sonn of Georgetown, Erakat whipped her sympathetic crowd into a frenzy by identifying herself and her audience as activists. “How many here identify as activists?” she asked.
After the crowd responded appropriately with enthusiastic applause, Erakat made her own agenda clear: “I’m an activist,” she claimed, just as Sonn acknowledged her own role as a “community organizer” before a similar group of academics, eliciting the same approval from her colleagues.
Yet, such feverish self-congratulation is typically reserved for political rallies, and these professors surrender their scholarly credentials by acknowledging their work as belligerent peddlers of influence for the Islamist faction. Any semblance of neutrality on behalf of Sonn or Erakat is discarded when they ecstatically concede their own bias as zealously involved activists. Furthermore, their capacity for fair, impartial and even competent scholarship is called into question when a ubiquitously defined terrorist group like Hamas is described as a forum for social activism.
The vilification of white men is just about the only certainty which these activist-professors are willing to endorse. All other ideas are morally discursive, and there are no absolutes in this world. Butler and her accomplices are too unassertive to say whether or not the deaths of 130 innocent Parisians at the hands of ISIS sympathizers in 2015 is any more heartbreaking than the slaying of some 111 Hezbollah terrorists by Israel the week before. Butler calls such cowardice “transversal grief,” defending the idea that all killing is equally outrageous despite circumstances.
Professor Erekat is equally confused concerning ideas of justice and is unable to recognize moral variation. She once notoriously tweeted of the Israeli Defense Forces that “an active combat soldier, even if not in the field, can be killed.” Professors like Butler and Erakat fail to distinguish between a faction which implements the strictest measures within its military forces to avoid unnecessary casualties, and a faction which intentionally targets innocent civilians to maximize an enemy’s terror and produce a political response.
Reluctant to see the world in terms of good and evil, Butler also insists that a uniformed soldier conducting war under the stipulations of the Geneva Convention is no less reprehensible than a terrorist hiding amongst the populace and targeting unarmed bystanders. This cultural relativity and the refusal to define anything is notably absent, though, in any discussion occurring in classrooms about the evil American-Israeli axis aligned against the humble, good-natured minorities of the world. In only this instance a strict binary exists: the greedy, duplicitous Jew juxtaposed with the victimized, well-intentioned Arab Palestinian.
An Non-scholarly Debate
A documentary detailing the experiences of ex-Muslims and their criticism of Islam was broadcast at a Portland State University, but not before the program was branded as “Atheist Islamophobia” by anonymous students and event fliers were torn down across campus.
In the aftermath of the documentary viewing, former and practicing Muslims entered into a rare discussion on the topics presented by the film. Among the talks was an exegetical debate about the punishment for apostasy in Islam. Despite universal concurrence from all four Sunni and all four Shiite schools of jurisprudence, direct citations from the Quran and sponsorship from leading Islamic religious leaders, many students refused to acknowledge that the punishment for apostasy among Muslims is death.
To be certain, there are many aspects of Islamic jurisprudence that are at odds with Western modes of appropriate moral conduct. Rather than discuss these for the benefit of Islamic civilization, though, academia would prefer to offer counterfactual theological presentations of the Quran and Islamic traditions. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill attempted to do just this by assigning an overly sympathetic, whitewashed analysis of Islam through the book Approaching the Quran: The Early Revelations, by Michael A. Sells. By mandating a text exclusively covering the first 35 suras of the Quran, which are recognized as the more peaceful, pastoral passages of the Quran, students are furnished with a reading of the Quran that contradicts its deeper meaning and compels the reader to draw antithetical conclusions about Islam as a whole.
Only later, in the period covering Mohammed’s exodus to the city of Medina, does the Quran become violently unrestrained. For instance, it was during this period of the Medina years that Mohammed became a brigand, raiding Meccan caravans and enslaving some of his former Jewish allies. The prophet of Islam’s genocidal fervor was manifested by the beheading massacre of over 800 men and boys from the Jewish tribe of Banu Qurayza in response to direct orders from Mohammed. The women of this tribe likely desired a similar fate as their husbands, brothers, and fathers; they were subsequently pressed into sexual slavery. Mohammed proclaimed that this act was the will of Allah.
There is even evidence in the Quran that Mohammed personally involved himself in the physical massacre of the Qurayza. Verse 33:26 speaks directly to Mohammed regarding his Jewish victims: “…some you slew, some you took captive.” Unfortunately for students of the UNC course exclusively studying the earliest Quranic revelations, this mass extermination would appear comically uncharacteristic of their perception of a Christ-like Mohammed.
In an open letter to Sells challenging his claim that Islam is a religion of peace, former Muslim Ali Sina asked why only the earliest passages of the Quran are used by Sells to illustrate his contentions. Sina correctly points out that the Quran becomes increasingly militant in later chapters covering the period where Mohammed took up arms against his Jewish and pagan enemies and the Islamic conquests are explored.
Even more relevant to any discussion of Islam and peace is the doctrine of abrogation. Sina could have been speaking to many academics when he demanded that Sell acknowledge the doctrine of abrogation and its impact on Islamic jurisprudence. Sina writes, “I am sure a person of your caliber is familiar with this Islamic science and knows perfectly that the later revelations annulled the early revelations. This is known to all the Muslim scholars as well as to the terrorists who put those teachings into practice. They know perfectly which part of the Quran overrides which part. The Meccan part however, although mostly abrogated is often used by Islamic apologists to softsell their harsh religion and fool the gullible westerner by showing them the nice part of the Quran that is already abrogated.”
The American Family Association Center for Law and Policy, on behalf of taxpayers and dissenting students, sued the university in an attempt to change the assigned reading to a text free from political bias, and congressional lawmakers followed suit by terminating funding for the UNC course. Ultimately, the court dismissed the case.
Other recurring fallacies exist and are taught like doctrine in university classrooms. Many professors have desperately grasped onto a 2015 New America Foundation study that states that more Americans are killed by right-wing white supremacists than Islamic terrorism. Besides being factually inaccurate by failing to cite at least six obvious instances of Islamic terrorism, the study fails to include the single deadliest day for U.S. civilians: 9/11. So if one starts counting bodies on September 12th, 2001, fails to mention six attacks by Muslims committed in the name of Islam, and also completely fails to count attacks on Americans living abroad or on U.S. military personnel, one may conclude that white bigotry is more dangerous than militant Islam. The New America Foundation study was also conducted before 2015, and the last two years have seen a sharp increase in domestic Islamic terrorism.
This type of politically charged “study” is characteristic of the quality of research conducted by today’s academic elite. Misinformation is used to focus the discourse towards identity politics while ignoring a wealth of conflicting data.
The Islamophobia Lobby, as groups like CAIR and their allies in academia should be known, seeks to stifle any scrutiny of Islamic extremism and jihad, especially in the aftermath of terrorist attacks perpetrated by Muslims, thereby reversing public outrage and redirecting animus towards the victims of successive national tragedies.
An extraordinary amount of scholarship is devoted towards Islamophobia. The trending fashion of Islamophobia as a subject of scholarly preoccupation is evidenced by the reactionary impulses of collegiate faculty and administrators in the days following the unforeseen election of Trump. One display of collectivized activism among academics included the participation of professors from 25 otherwise prestigious universities around America voicing their dissent for the results of the 2016 election. On January 18 of that year, instructors participating in the show of opposition utilized class time to educate their students concerning the “institutionalization of ideologies of separation and subordination, including white supremacy, misogyny, homophobia, Islamophobia, and virulent nationalism.”
Other university faculty around the nation responded on their own to local reports of hate crimes against their Muslim student bodies. President Michael Drake of The Ohio State University, in solidarity with other prominent faculty, drafted an open letter condemning perceived instances of hatred for Muslims in the aftermath of the Trump election. In doing so, Drake and his staff may have inadvertently contributed to the radicalization of OSU student and Somali refugee Abdul Razak Ali Artan. Days before faculty drafted the open letter, Artan voiced paranoid concerns quoted by the student newspaper that his religious identity inspired hatred from other students, citing the lack of available prayer space as evidence of a non-inclusive campus. Certainly, then, confirmation from educated professionals regarding the anti-Muslim atmosphere at Ohio State could have instigated the eventual assault perpetrated by Artan when he stabbed nine of his fellow classmates after running into a crowd with his vehicle.
Despite the enormous sum of political and intellectual energy aimed at examining hatred towards Muslims, there is simply no demonstrably substantive evidence to suggest that Muslims are the frequent victims of hate crimes perpetrated by Americans. Notably, the source most frequently cited by academics and Islamists as the definitive subject matter experts regarding the documentation of accumulated hate crimes and identification of hate groups has been widely discredited. A 2014 study led by Professor George Yancey of the University of North Texas, “Watching the Watchers: The Neglect of Academic Analysis of Progressive Groups,” found that the Southern Poverty Law Center lacked an objective criteria for concluding which organizations should be labelled as hate groups. A cursory examination of SPLC’s “Hate Watch” list includes the Center for Security Policy, a think tank composed of deeply respected defense and intelligence agents committed to national defense. Other horrific conservative monsters deserving of SPLC’s wrathful auditing have included Dr. Ben Carson, one-time presidential candidate and Trump’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, critics of the controversial program known as Common Core, and the Family Research Council. In fact, the SPLC’s “Hate Map” was instrumental in assisting crazed Leftist extremist Floyd Lee Corkins in locating the FRC, where he injured one Christian bystander before being subdued.
Still, many professors continue to reference SPLC in order to reinforce the Islamophobia Lobby’s claims that Muslims are the victims of a non-inclusive society. Fewer than 30 days from Election Day, the SPLC was reporting more than 701 hate crimes, prompting hysterical media accounts that failed to consider the validity of their sources. Indeed, these “attacks,” as many media and political commentators called them, were nothing more than uncorroborated verbal insults.
WND journalist Leo Hohmann is correct when he states that these slurs, “while mean and nasty, don’t appear to pass the smell test required of a crime.” Yet academics, who are expected to subject their sources to rigorous scrutiny in their search for the Truth, gloss over this and many other facts in pursuit of a political end. It is, in fact, impossible to assess the authenticity of hate crime reporting. This is especially true given the multitudes of allegations of Islamophobia that are later proven to be exaggerated, invented, or even committed by Muslims themselves. The frequency of these alarming deceptions is such that it would be cumbersome to include them here, though The Geller Report authoritatively tracks and reports these instances on a nearly weekly basis.
Even reports of hate crimes by the FBI are difficult to seriously consider from an academic standpoint given the disparate standards applied to defining these offenses. The only variable in the FBI’s assessment of hate crime’s, it seems, is the identity of the victim. Law enforcement are often reluctant to report obvious cases of violent, racially motivated attacks against white victims, while routinely reporting and prosecuting the most adolescent instances of verbal insults levied against minority victims.
Given the preposterous nature of these claims, it should be inconceivable that any scholarly professional should undertake to support the claims of the SPLC and the Islamophobia Lobby. Finding themselves philosophically cornered by the vulnerabilities of their subjective assumptions, liberal academia chooses instead to retreat from the intellectual battlefield, licking their wounds from their “safe spaces” and “sanctuary cities” before returning to the front once more with fresh supplies of partisan nonsense.
It is of no surprise, then, that instructors like Brown University’s intersectionalist professor Nancy Khalek should prefer to engage in discourse rather than debate. While she admits that the former is more constructive, it is also conceivable that the art of debate is lost on contemporary academics.
Non-scholarly, fictionalized attempts by academia are used to obscure the ideological composition of mainstream Islam, as well. Many academic apologists proudly cite a 2008 Gallup Poll that determined that a mere seven percent of Muslims believe that the attacks on September 11th, 2001 were “completely justified.” This small minority, however, constitutes 91 million Muslims endorsing the purposeful slaying of thousands of innocent noncombatants. A terrifying total of 36 percent of Muslims globally believe that the same assault on America was at least partially justified. Incredulously, leading Middle East scholars insist that these numbers illustrate the robustness of the moderate Muslim community. Esposito and his colleague, Dalia Mogahed, carefully used the results of the Gallup poll to produce a report which attempts to minimize at all costs the apparent size of Islam’s extremist population.
However, in a follow-up interview conducted post-publication of the Esposito and Mogahed report, the latter scholar admits that imprecise, groundless conclusions were drawn from unsound measurements to loosely determine that only seven percent of the world’s Muslims are extremist. Notably, the actual Gallup Poll questions and procedures were absent from the report, and Mogahed admits that the answers given by respondents should have resulted in a sum of extremists closer to 14 percent. One could also make the perfectly legitimate argument that a respondent who believes the 9/11 attacks were even “somewhat justified” could be labeled extremist, in which case there are 432 million radical Islamists in the world (estimates far exceeding those from influential anti-Islamists like Robert Spencer, Daniel Pipes and Pamela Geller).
A War of Ideas
Another popular thesis among academia insists that many Muslims define the conflict with the West in extremes in response to the Western propensity for the same. For example, Muslims believe that Westerners wish to dismantle Islam and replace it with an immoral, materialistic value system, while Westerners imagine that Muslims wish to install Sharia Islam around the world. Indeed, both sides do appear to qualify the conflict in these cataclysmic terms, but academics insist upon the former while minimizing the latter.
University professors, with their reliance on a couple of decades of imperialism to describe the present state of the Middle East and North Africa, truly believe that America and her allies would replace the humble, agrarian values of Islam with–well, McDonald’s.
The conflicting means by which academia might explain world events is best elucidated in the classic article by Benjamin Barber, “Jihad vs. McWorld.” With great foresight, Barber argued in 1992 that geopolitics could be explained by either the forces of globalism or the forces of tribalism. Globalism, or McWorld, was ignoring or replacing national boundaries with market imperatives, resource management, information technologies, and ecological mandates. Certainly, these are the greatest threats to humankind, according to academics and socialists. Here again, Islamists and collegiate scholars share an ideological overlap, as many Islamic fundamentalists believe that the West wishes to impose their capitalist imperatives upon the Muslim world, replacing tradition with materialism.
However true it may be that multinational corporations are more powerful than ever, it is not globalism but factionalism, or Barber’s “jihad” that truly produces the friction leading to conflict in the modern world, and the reluctance of academia to accept this establishes the framework for an Islamic-academic axis.
When Barber authored his seminal work he found that, “There were more than thirty wars in progress last year, most of them ethnic, racial, tribal, or religious in character, and the list of unsafe regions doesn’t seem to be getting any shorter. Some new world order!” This is the jihad to which Barber refers, and while he does not mean to classify the term as purely Islamic, surely Islamic jihad is included within it. Yet academia and Islamic apologists in the face of enormous data prefer to ignore the real sources of violent contention within the modern world, seeking instead to sound the alarm in response to a threat that will never surface. Since 1992, conflicts continue to be instigated by factional tendencies rather than the forces of globalism, from sectarian divide in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen, to ethnic strife in Sudan, Somalia, South Kyrgyzstan, Balochistan, the Niger Delta and the Ivory Coat among many, many other conflicts of this type. The facts are truly representative of a world constantly beset by factional division, and not by the forces of globalism. In many ways, this is affirming for the extreme Western narrative that jihadists threaten world peace, while invalidating the narrative that consumerism and corporate interests are a threat to international stability–let alone Islam.
The West could never replace or otherwise abolish Islam. The proof is in the power of the Islamophobia lobby in America and Europe. Conversely, it is not outside the realm of possibility to perceive that Islamists would wish to install Sharia law across the world. A super-majority of Muslims in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia want to see Sharia law established in their countries, according a Pew Research Study. The study also found that, “Nearly all Muslims in Afghanistan (99%) and most in Iraq (91%) and Pakistan (84%) support Sharia law as a replacement for any secular considerations.”
There is no clearer example of Islamist designs upon the world than evidence discovered over a decade ago which explicitly communicates the goals of an Islamist group operating in America. A Muslim Brotherhood in America document, dated from 1991 but seized in 2004, describes the blanket goals of a number of Muslim organizations operating overtly in the U.S. as a “grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers…” Part of this grand strategy includes infiltrating political and academic institutions and gradually pursuing policies and indoctrinating the public with the desired end state of normalizing Islamist thought. Today, with the help of academia and the curriculum they espouse, these groups are closer than ever to their goal.
In a 1993 interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune, CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said, “I wouldn’t want to create the impression that I wouldn’t like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future. But I’m not going to do anything violent to promote that. I’m going to do it through education.”
Therefore, it appears that one of the two narratives that perceives the Western-Islamic conflict in terms of absolutes, or that Muslims wish to enforce their religion upon the world, has some factual basis. Meanwhile, the idea that Westerners would forcibly eradicate Islam is demonstrably false.
Unfortunately, the end-state of this politically-charged social agenda engineered by Leftist academics is a student body primed for radicalization.