Profs Blame ISIS on ‘Islamophobia’ and ‘Grievances’

reza-450x241By Cinnamon Stillwell:

President Obama’s infamous proclamation that ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) is “not Islamic” was received sympathetically within the ranks of Middle East studies. While many scholars of Islam and the Middle East have condemned ISIS’s heinous actions, a stubborn refusal to acknowledge their theological underpinnings lingers. Those who do concede ISIS’s Islamic supremacism are branded “Islamphobes.” Others attribute ISIS’s rampage of mass murder, beheadings, rape, slavery, and strict Sharia law in pursuit of a caliphate to Western-inspired “grievances” or “root causes.”

John Esposito, director of the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, is at the forefront of such obfuscation. Disregarding ISIS’s adherence to Quranic literalism, Esposito declared:

I do not think that this is a very Islamic vision at all. . . . Theirs is a kind of religion that is extraordinarily full of violence and abuse that is not in accordance with the Quran, the traditions of the Prophet or even with Islamic Law.

Hatem Bazian, director of the Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project at the University of California, Berkeley, lived up to his title by invoking victimhood. Bazian claimed that:

When Islamophobes point to the Koran and Islam as the problem, they are epistemically reinforcing ISIS’s claims and also pushing every Muslim into the same categorization. . . . For me, religion is a rationalization rather than the root cause.

Responding to British Prime Minister David Cameron’s public acknowledgement that British Muslims are joining ISIS, University of Michigan history professorJuan Cole ranted, “It’s just a way of beating up on the Muslims in the UK. . . . Cameron is grandstanding about this and it’s Islamophobia, it’s just racism.” Perhaps Cole is unaware that Cameron, speaking at a reception for British Muslims, kowtowed to political-correctness by declaring that ISIS has “nothing to do with the great religion of Islam, a religion of peace.”

Meanwhile, Sahar F. Aziz, Texas A&M University law professor, condemned those who are “blindly blaming religion . . . rather than root causes,” lamenting that, “Thousands of miles away from the Middle East, it is tempting for Americans to view the atrocities committed by the Islamic State (ISIS) as further evidence that something is wrong with Islam.” Instead, she asserted, “The politics of authoritarianism, rather than religion, explain the rise of ISIS.” Given that ISIS arose in a power vacuum, there is little basis for blaming authoritarianism.

Going to ridiculous lengths, Omid Safi, director of Duke University’s Islamic Studies Center, faults humanity itself:

I am mindful of the fact that much of the Islamophobic discourse of today holds Muslims in the West accountable for atrocities of ISIS. In that context, it makes a fundamental mistake. . . . All of us, Muslims and Jews and Christians and Hindus and Buddhists and people of no faith and people of occasional faith, we are all responsible.

That is, since everyone is responsible for ISIS, no one is responsible.

After conceding that “Muslims have a responsibility to speak out against ISIS,” Safi then entreated,

[A]ll of us to speak out with the same vehemence . . . about the victims of the American drones, about the victims of the allies of the United States? Can we mourn Palestinians? Can we mourn Mike Brown and Trayvon Martin? Can we mourn the 2.5 million Americans caught in a penal industrial complex?

A better question for Safi would be whether there is any unrelated societal ill that cannot be associated with condemning ISIS?

University of California, Riverside creative writing professor Reza Aslan denied that ISIS has any appeal whatsoever to devout Muslims, marveling over “how little religion plays a role in this group, how little the idea of reading the Koran or praying or those kinds of things play a significant role on the ground among these militants.” Granting that “religion is the sort of underlying, unifying aspect of it,” Aslan then contradicted himself: “But the idea that ISIS is drawing excessively religious people to it is factually incorrect.” Elsewhere, he alluded to the “grievances . . . that a lot of Muslims around the world have” and warned that ISIS’s appeal would remain, “unless those grievances can be addressed.”

Tariq Ramadan, professor of contemporary Islamic studies at Oxford University, suggested that Muslim scholars respond to ISIS by proclaiming:

What you are doing, killing innocent people, implementing so-called “Sharia” or the so-called “Islamic State”, this is against everything that is coming from Islam. . . . It is not a caliphate. It is just people playing with politics referring to religious sources.

While it is indeed necessary for Muslim moderates—a group that does not include Ramadan—to condemn ISIS, it is self-defeating to deny the Islamic basis for its behavior.

Read more at Frontpage

Cinnamon Stillwell is the West Coast Representative for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum. She can be reached at

Manufacturing ‘Islamophobia’ at UC Berkeley

razieh20100831063916560By Cinnamon Stillwell

Scholars of the Middle East would do well to follow the lead of the Associated Press (AP), which last year struck the political term “Islamophobia” from the new edition of its widely used Stylebook, explaining that “‘-phobia,’ an irrational, uncontrollable fear, often a form of mental illness should not be used in political or social contexts, including ‘homophobia’ and ‘Islamophobia.’” Given that the word was invented in the early 1990s by a Muslim Brotherhood front organization, the Northern Virginia-based International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT), in order to silence critics of Islamism by branding them as irrational racists and hate-mongers—according to former IIIT member Abdur-Rahman Muhammad who was present at the time—AP made a wise decision.

In contrast, the field of Middle East studies—in partnership with organizations such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an Islamist outfit linked by the United States government to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood posing as a defender of civil rights—has become one of the key proponents of the myth that “Islamophobia” is sweeping the nation. Professors of Middle East studies regularly use the phrase in both public lectures and the classroom, while producing books, op-eds, reports, and programs devoted to the promulgation of this deliberately misleading term.

At the forefront of this effort is the Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project (IRDP), a program of the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Race and Gender directed by Near Eastern studies senior lecturer and notorious anti-Israel activist Hatem Bazian. Bazian, co-founder of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), has links to Hamas through his work with KindHearts and through SJP’s sister organization, the Muslim Students Association. In addition to annual conferences devoted to the subject beginning in 2010 (information is available here and here), the IRDP produced the inaugural edition of its Islamophobia Studies Journal in late 2012.

As with IRDP conferences, the journal was fashioned in collusion with CAIR and Berkeley’s “Islamic University,” Zaytuna College. Zahra Billoo, executive director of CAIR’s San Francisco Bay Area chapter, and Zaid Shakir, Zaytuna College cofounder and senior faculty member, serve on its advisory board, along with controversial Oxford University Islamic studies professor Tariq Ramadan and University of California, Davis anthropology and women’s studies professor Suad Joseph. Editorial board members include Rabab Abdulhadi, San Francisco State University associate professor of ethnic studies and race and resistance studies, and a senior scholar in the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Initiative;  Munir Jiwa, founding director and assistant professor of the Center for Islamic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley; and Hatem Bazian. All share the dubious achievement of furthering the politicization of Middle East studies.

In keeping with the postcolonial, postmodern, racialist language that characterizes UC Berkeley’s Center for Race & Gender, the Islamophobia Studies Journal is filled with the sort of ideological jargon that radical academics habitually substitute for reasoned debate. In the table of contents and the editorial statement alone, terms such “Otherness,” “social justice,” “speak truth to power,” “racial formations,” “the Muslim Other,” “the ‘inferior’ global other,” and “Western epistemic racisms” numb the mind and deaden the senses. Ahistorical and culturally relativistic comparisons to the Jewish experience serve to comfort those inclined to view all “Others” in the same light. Bazian’s contribution, “Muslims – Enemies of the State: The New Counter-Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO),” paints Muslim-Americans as victims of a persecutory fervor he likens to anti-communism—a trope he has been hawking furiously since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Read more at Front Page

German Muslims Offended In Wake of Muslim Violence

By Daniel Greenfield:

Muslims are offended a lot. Statistics say that 40 percent of Muslims are offended at any given time, but 80 percent of Muslims found that statistic offensive, conclusively proving it wrong. Talking about how offended Muslims are is also offensive which creates a cycle of offensiveness that leads to riots and bombings by people who are not at all Muslim or offended, let alone offended Muslims.

After several Muslim attacks on German Jews, the Muslims are offended because German authorities want to put up posters for family members who want to report a family member who may be going Jihad.

“Muslims are always regarded as a potential threat,” said Aydan Oezoguz, a Turkish-German member of parliament and integration commissioner for the opposition Social Democrats. “This is a very important issue, but it risks alienating an entire religious community.”

And if you alienate the community they become a threat. So the only way to end the threat is by pretending they’re not a threat, even when they’re a threat or they might become a threat. That’s how the Cycle of Appeasement works.

However, four of the six interest groups involved in the confidence-building initiative have since withdrawn their support. “Constantly associating Islam with issues of violence and security policy can only lead to false perceptions,” the groups said in a joint statement.

Yes, best to have the suicide bombers associate Islam inconsistently with issues of violence and security policy.

Erol Puerlue from the Association of Muslim Cultural Centres, one of the groups involved in the initiative, said too much focus was placed on extremism among Muslims rather than in German society as a whole.

“Addressing extremism only among Muslims risks putting them under a general suspicion,” he said, adding that more classes on religion in schools would be a more effective way of combating radicalization among young people.

Yes, if there’s one thing that can solve this it’s Islamic studies in school. Also shop classes on how to build bombs.

U.S. Universities Closely Tied to Qatar Pro-Islamist Faculty

Via FSM:
In the latest development concerning the relationship between U.S. universities and the Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies (QFIS), the QFIS website reveals that six U.S. universities have established a permanent relationship with QFIS. According to a QFIS web page:
Established in 2007, Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies (QFIS) is an international center for Islamic thinking and dialogue. Its aim is to enhance research into Islamic culture and promote the diversity and tolerance of the Islamic Fiqh, or understanding. Learning takes place in an open, intellectual environment and produces a structure of study that will enable future generations of scholars to become experts in Islamic culture and ideology. These graduates will be well-equipped to tackle the challenges facing Muslim communities across the world. QFIS offers programs in: Master of Science in Islamic Finance, Master of Arts in Public Policy in Islam, Master of Arts in Islamic Studies with a specialization in Contemporary Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence) and Religion and Contemporary Thought, Master of Science in Urban Design and Architecture in Muslim Societies, Master of Arts in Contemporary Muslim Societies .Postgraduate Diplomas in: Islamic Finance. General Islamic Studies. Public Policy in Islam. Research is a critical component, with six specialized centers providing opportunities for postgraduate students, residents, and visiting scholars to investigate research topics in their field of interest.
The QFIS page then goes on to identify its six research centers with the Al-Qaradawi Center for Islamic Moderation and Renewal at the top of the list. A post from 2008 had discussed the plans for the center named after Youssef Qaradawi, the most important leader of the Global Muslim Brotherhood. At that time, the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar and Northwestern University in Qatar were identified as the two most recent additions to the Qatar Education City,
Another QFIS web page now identifies what it describes as “branch campuses of eight strategically selected elite international universities, delivering world-class programs chosen to ensure Qatar is equipped with essential skills and specialisms.” Six of those campuses represent the following U.S. universities:
  • Texas A&M University at Qatar
  • Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar
  • Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar
  • Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar
  • Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar
  • Northwestern University in Qatar
Four of the above universities were among the six U.S. universities that helped to co-organized the launch ceremony for the newest of the QFIS research centers to be headed by Tariq Ramadan, another critically important leader of the Global Muslim Brotherhood, and co-directed by a close associate of Qaradawi. As discussed in an earlier post, the launch ceremony also included representatives of two organizations headed by Youssef Qaradawi and an organization tied to the global Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas fundraising, and support for Al Qaeda. Another post reported that Georgetown University academic and Global Muslim Brotherhood supporter John Esposito was amongst the event speakers who also included Qaradawi himself.
The GMDR has devoted an unusual amount of space to this topic because we believe that the formation of the center represents a highly significant coming together of Qaradawi and Ramadan, the two most important leaders of the Global Muslim Brotherhood. Qaradawi is known as a virulent anti-Semite often referred to here as the most important leader of the global Muslim Brotherhood, an acknowledgement of his role as the de facto spiritual leader of the movement. In 2004, Qaradawi turned down the offer to lead the Egyptian Brotherhood after the death of the Supreme Guide. Based in Qatar, Sheikh Qaradawi has reportedly amassed substantial wealth through his role as Shari’ah adviser to many important Islamic banks and funds. He is also considered to be the “spiritual guide” for Hamas and his fatwas in support of suicide bombings against Israeli citizens were instrumental in the development of the phenomenon. A recent post has discussed a video compilation of Qaradawi’s extremist statements.
The fact that major U.S. universities feel comfortable with associating themselves so closely with Qaradawi and his representatives speaks volumes as to how rapidly the Global Muslim Brotherhood is becoming legitimized as a mainstream political force.
Related posts:
  1. IIIT Holds Discussion On Islamic Studies in American Universities.
  2. Launch Ceremony For New Qatar Islamic Center Organized By U.S. Universities, Qaradawi Organizations, And Group With Ties to Hamas and Al-Qaeda
  3. Qaradawi Center Inaguarated In Qatar
  4. Muslim World League Conference Criticizes Israel; Calls For Islamic Studies Chairs At Western Universities
  5. Georgetown Academic John Esposito Spoke At Launch Of New Qatar Islamic Center
The Qatar Foundation has identified Georgetown academic John Esposito among the list of speakers at recent the launch for the new Islamic center in Qatar to be headed by Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Tariq Ramadan. According to the Qatar Foundation report, the following individuals of note spoke at the event:
  • Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development;
  • Dr Tariq Ramadan, Director of Research Center for Islamic Legislation and Ethics
  • Dr Jasser Auda, Deputy Director of Research Center for Islamic Legislation and Ethics
  • Sheikh Yusuf Al Karadawi, President of the International Union of Muslim Scholars
  • H.E. Sheikh Dr. Mustafa Ceric, Mufti of Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Mr. Yusuf Islam, Yusuf Islam Foundation
  • Prof. John Esposito, Director of Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University, USA
Dr. Esposito, a former U.S. State Department advisor, has espoused views consistent with Brotherhood doctrine and during the 1990′s was known for his claims that Islamic fundamentalism was, in fact, democratic and posed no threat to the U.S. Dr. Esposito has at least a dozen past or present affiliations with global Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas organizations including having served on the advisory board of the Institute of Islamic Political Thought in the U.K. headed by Azzam Tamimi, a leader in the U.K. Muslim Brotherhood and often described as a Hamas spokesman. Dr. Esposito has also served with global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi on the Steering Committee of the Circle of Tradition and Progress and enjoyed a close relationship with the United Association For Studies and Research (USAR), part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee and part of the Hamas support infrastructure. In 2005, Saudi prince Alaweed bin Talal, a financial supporter of the global Muslim Brotherhood, donated $20 million to the Center for Muslim Christian Understanding at Georgetown, headed by Dr. Esposito.
An earlier post reported on the formation of the Research Center for Islamic Legislation and Ethics (CLIE) which appears to be a highly significant coming together of Global Muslim Brotherhood leaders Tariq Ramadan and Youssef Qaradawi, noting that the Deputy Director is a close associate of Qaradawi’s at the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS).The new center appears to be the latest in the series of research centers being established by the Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies (QFIS). A subsequent post reported that the launch ceremony for Center was co-organized by a group that included five U.S. universities, among them Georgetown University, together with representatives of two organizations headed by Youssef Qaradawi and an organization tied to the global Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas fundraising, and support for Al Qaeda.
Related posts:
  1. Launch Ceremony For New Qatar Islamic Center Organized By U.S. Universities, Qaradawi Organizations, And Group With Ties to Hamas and Al-Qaeda
  2. BREAKING NEWS: Tariq Ramadan And Youssef Qaradawi Come Together At Launch Of New Qatar Center To Be headed By Ramadan
  3. Georgetown Academic “Redefines” Jihad
  4. Georgetown Academic Joins Global Muslim Brotherhood In Accusations Of Israeli “Massacres”
  5. John Esposito And IIIT Together In Beruit
MEMRI has posted a report titled “Isma’il Haniya’s First Regional Tour Transforms Him From Hamas PM in Gaza to Regional Palestinian Leader.” The report begins:
In late December 2011, Hamas prime minister in Gaza Isma’il Haniya made an official tour of the region that included visits to Egypt, Sudan, Turkey and finally Tunisia. This was his first official trip abroad since the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip five years ago. Especially noteworthy was his five-day visit to Tunisia, on which Haniya was accompanied by 20 of his government officials, and which came in response to an invitation by the new Tunisian government, headed by Hamadi Al-Jabali of the Islamist Al-Nahda party. Haniya was the first leader to visit Tunisia after the establishment of the new government there.[1] He was greeted at the airport by Tunisian Prime Minister Al-Jabali, government ministers, and Al-Nahda party chairman Rached Al-Ghannouchi, and was received by an honor guard and a band playing the Palestinian and Tunisian anthems – honors usually reserved for visiting heads of state.[2] During his visit, Haniya met with Prime Minister Al-Jabali, President Munsif Al-Marzouqi, government ministers, Constituent Assembly Chairman Mustafa bin Ja’far, and senior Al-Nahda officials, including Al-Ghannouchi.[3] In his meeting with the president, Haniya invited him to visit Gaza and the latter accepted the invitation.[4] Haniya toured several cities and visited a number of mosques, and delivered a Friday sermon to an audience of thousands at a mosque in Kairouan. In the capital Tunis, he was granted the special honor of attending the conversion ceremony of a Frenchwoman converting to Islam. Haniya’s Tunisian hosts expressed their belief in the legitimacy of the Hamas government and Haniya as its head. Hamas, for its part, indeed regards the visit to Tunisia, and the entire regional tour, as an indication of its growing acceptance in the Arab and Muslim world. Haniya stressed that the tour broke the political and economic siege on Gaza, and emphasized the connection between the Tunisian and Palestinian revolutions. He promised to continue on the path of jihad and resistance, and to refrain from recognizing Israel or relinquishing a single inch of Palestinian soil.
Read the rest here.
A series of earlier posts covered various aspects of Haniyeh’s tour.
Related posts:
  1. MIDEAST CRISIS: Hamas Prime Minister Congratulates Ghannouchi On Return To Tunisia
  2. Hamas Prime Minister To Tour Middle East
  3. WAMY Sponsors 1000 Palestinian Students At Hamas-Linked University In Gaza
  4. RECOMMENDED READING: “Rachid Ghannouchi Praises A Saudi Scholar Who Advocated That The Earth Is Flat”
  5. Gaza Prime Minister In Tunisia; Says Latest Peace Negotiations “Futile”
Reproduced with permission from the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report.