Jihad Watch Board Vice President Hugh Fitzgerald discusses the state of scholarship about Islam and jihad in American universities today:
Asked about his experience after a year of teaching in America, a famous Russian scholar of my acquaintance said: “A strange place. In America, the best Russian scholars are spread out at very small schools. They are not in the big famous schools.” I leave it to others to judge the accuracy of that remark, or its possible applicability to other fields.
Particularly to the field of Middle East Studies. Of course, it is well known that some professors in American universities regularly intimidate, mock, and otherwise make life most unpleasant for their students who do not accept their propaganda. Several of them teach in the Middle Eastern and Asian Languages Program (MEALAC). There are numerous complaints about their behavior: start by googling “George Saliba” and “Hamid Dabahi” or “Joseph Massad”. Don’t think you can conceivably take a course on Islam, or anything to do with Muslim history, and dare to raise in class or anywhere else, such subjects as the dhimmi, and Muslim subjugation of non-Muslims. Nor should you show too great a knowledge of certain events in the life of Muhammad, or of the sayings of Muhammad. Best to stick to the Qur’an; better still, to the Michael Sells bowdlerized version, “Approaching the Qur’an: The Lyrical Suras.”
Students who nonetheless enroll in these courses, should take careful note of what is said and how they themselves are treated — especially when it comes to papers and exams.
One example: a student who graduated from in 2003 from a celebrated American university, and who had taken the course on Islam, reports that he was asked, on the final examination, to define the “Miraj.” He answered, correctly, that the Miraj is the Night Journey of Muhammad, one which Muslims believe took place from a site referred to in the Qur’an as al-masjid al-aksa — the furthest mosque — and that on his fabulous winged steed, Al-Buraq, Muhammad within the space of 24 hours ascended all the way into the sky as far as the Seventh Heaven, and then returned to the same spot.
The grader (a Muslim) gave him a failing grade for that answer, and a C overall. The grader wrote on the margin: “Why do you say that Muslims “believe” this? And you didn’t tell us that Jerusalem was the site of the Farthest Mosque. Why not?”
Now that blue book has been preserved, xeroxed, and some day it may come back to haunt that particular grader.
But the point here is that thought-control and intimidation are rampant. Yet the only professors who come close to being disciplined are the likes of Indrek Wichman, who made the mistake of sending an email critical of Islam in the heat of anger. Wichman was not intimidating students. He was not forcing them to study a subject and to report on it AS IF the student fully accepted the received Muslim version of events. He was expressing an opinion that was both rational and amply justified.
And if it was amply justified before, how much more justified is the opinion he expressed now that we have seen the hysterical and bullying and sinister reaction of local Muslims to it. Muslim students even demanded that he undergo “sensitivity training.” “Sensitivity training” about what? Was Professor Wichman not entitled to express his opinion? Should he be “trained” in a Re-education Camp, like the kind set up by Communist regimes, such as that of North Vietnam for the benefit of insufficiently-enthusiastic South Vietnamese?
Anyone in the Administration of that college who did not stand firmly behind Wichman deserves to be discharged. Alumni, take note.
As for the whole sinister idea about this enforced “sensitivity training” — one has to ask, what should one say about those who are raised up to hate Infidels? See Qur’an 9.29, see all of Sura 9, see a hundred passages in the Qur’an, see several hundred of the isnadically “authentic” Hadith. Should one say nothing at all about the aggressive demands by Muslims in the West to change the laws, customs, manners, and understandings of non-Musliims, in this country which possesses a political and social order based on the Constitution, a Constitution which in every important respect is flatly contradicted by the Shari’a or Holy Law of Islam?
Professor Wichman and others like him have nothing to apologize for. Their colleagues should rally round them. And so should the Administration of their colleges. No “sensitivity training” is called for, save perhaps for those Muslim students who have a hard time grasping the nature of free speech — but should start getting the hang of it, and accepting it, and all the other freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights and especially by the First Amendment.
And anyone else who fails to understand sufficiently those rights has no business running a university.