We’re constantly told that Muslims in the West abhor jihad terrorism and reject the understanding of Islam that gives rise to it. Yet jihad terrorists base their appeal to peaceful Muslims on teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah. And the jihad that is raging now in Iraq and Syria is drawing many Muslims from Western countries where all the Muslims are assumed to be peaceful and against violent jihad. The cognitive dissonance between the popularity of the jihad in Iraq and Syria for young Muslims in the West and the official understanding of what Muslims in the West believe is, of course, never explained.
A former professor at the University of Calgary says he left his tenured position after colleagues refused to respond to his concerns with students spreading radical Muslim views.
Aaron Hughes, a prolific author on religion who holds a PhD on Islamic studies, said he once found a message scrawled in Arabic across his classroom’s chalkboard endorsing Islamic Jihad and Hamas, widely considered a terrorist group by western countries.
…by the U.S. State Department, among others.
Hughes, who is Jewish, said he interpreted the message as anti-Semitic, but he said the university declined to remove the offending student from his class.
Of course. That would have been “Islamophobic.”
“I would have to go teach this class as a victim staring my aggressor in the face,” he said.
Hughes, who now teaches at the University of Rochester, said he’s not surprised by reports of Calgarians travelling abroad to fight with extremist groups, given what he experienced. He wondered whether influences on university campuses are helping to fuel this movement of young men waging jihad in Syria and Iraq.
Now that’s a tough one!
The professor and researcher said he also saw a young Muslim stand up during a University of Calgary memorial service for the 9/11 terrorist attacks to say, “Islam will always stand up for those who are dispossessed.” Later, he saw a student wearing a Hamas headband.
Hughes’ comments have again highlighted fears of homegrown radicalization in Calgary and raised questions about the line that divides freedom of expression from hate speech….
Riyaz Khawaja, a Calgary Muslim leader, said the message Hughes found written on his blackboard backing Hamas is out of step with the tenets of his religion. He said he has become troubled with reports of Calgarians fighting alongside extremists, which he said was the result of a gross misinterpretation of his religion.
But Khawaja doesn’t explain, and the Calgary Herald doesn’t ask him, why this “gross misrepresentation of his religion” is so widespread that thousands of Muslims all over the world have gone to Syria and Iraq to join the jihad.