At taxpayer expense, one of the most prominent universities in America, UC Berkeley, recently hosted an Islamic propaganda-fest promoting Sharia Law and ways to use the educational sphere to obstruct national security by blaming “Islamophobia” and “white racism.” Participants hailed their “research” as the cause of the cancellation of the NYPD’s counterterrorism intelligence program and called for “Islamophobia Studies” to be a college major worldwide.
A peculiar theme was repeatedly advanced throughout the three-day Fifth Annual Conference on Islamophobia, held at UC Berkeley’s prestigious Boalt Law School in Berkeley, California April 17-19. Almost all presenters who spoke about the 34 or more “academic” papers that were discussed continually asserted that white racism and colonialism were the causes of “Islamophobia” throughout America and Europe. In their view, this “Islamophobia” is driven by the media, while racism against people of color is the main cause overall behind the (supposed) persecution of Muslims. Fear of terrorism was of no legitimate concern.
Discussions also centered on discrimination against women and gays, a practice deemed not to be a widespread problem in Islamic practices, but the result of “Islamophobia.”
Hatem Bazian was the main organizer of the event. A Senior Lecturer in the Near Eastern and Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley, Bazian was an adjunct Professor of Islamic Law at Boalt Law School from 2002-2007. As an undergrad, Bazian was a student leader among the General Union of Palestinian Students at San Francisco State, where he ultimately earned an M.A. in International Relations. He then went through UC Berkeley’s PhD program while being a Palestinian activist on that campus with the Students for Justice in Palestine. He is one of the founders of Zaytuna College in Berkeley, the nation’s first “Islamic college” that is graduating its first class this month. Bazian was a co-founder of American Muslims for Palestine that has been featured in the news as a Hamas front.
Bazian kicked off the conference with an introduction that discussed Islamophobia as an irrational fear of Islam and a major issue for Muslims worldwide. He cast much of the blame for this (supposed) situation on Steven Emerson of the Investigative Project. Bazian stated that the conference would deal with deciphering the causes and activities of latent and manifested Islamophobia and that similar conferences were already in the works to take place in Paris, France and Salzberg, Austria next year to reach European audiences. He also discussed a similar conference to take place in Turkey because, as he explained, “Islamophobia takes place in the Middle East and Muslim countries also.” He concluded by saying that he hoped to see “Islamophobia” as a major studies course in universities and colleges across America and the entire world.
As the conference ensued, the speakers blamed the news media for Islamophobia and complained of so-called “experts” on Islam who allegedly “had no knowledge” and were supposedly inflaming public opinion against Muslims. These individuals included Pamela Geller, Ann Coulter and Robert Spencer, who, like Steve Emerson, were all accused of making “false accusations” against Muslims. Photos were displayed of the controversial bus ads placed by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer’s American Freedom Defense Initiative condemning jihad in Boston, with examples of how the organizers had managed to get the bus companies to change the wording on the ads to make them less “anti-Islamic.”
At no time during the conference was there a condemnation of terrorism or any other security threat to the United States, despite an agreement by all that 9/11 was a watershed moment for Muslims, particularly in America. Israel also was not mentioned, save for once when the word “occupation” was used. Any type of national security that scrutinized Muslims was deemed “Islamophobic,” as if actual terrorism does not exist and has never been carried out by Muslims — who are, according to the conference’s main theme, only falsely profiled or accused and are, therefore, victims.
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Lee Kaplan is an investigative journalist and head of the non-profit DAFKA.org website and its StoptheISM.com subsidiary. He is a contributing writer at Frontpagemag.com and a regular columnist at the educational watchdog Israelcampus.com and the IsraelNationalNews.com. He is a Fellow with the American Center for Democracy and exposes frequently indoctrination on college campuses and activities of the International Solidarity Movement. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.