Entries Tagged as 'Muslims'

Islamist Violence Harms Muslims the Most

November 9th, 2011 at 1:04 pm 25 Comments

According to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, order the reaction to the Paris fire-bombing of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo is another example of how fearful Western society is of offending Islamic extremists.

Hirsi Ali is the Somali woman who fled to Europe to escape an arranged marriage with someone in Toronto. She went to university and was elected to the Dutch Parliament. She migrated to the U.S. after collaborating on a documentary about the oppression of Muslim women (Submission) that resulted in filmmaker Theo Van Gogh being murdered and death threats against her.

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Norwegian Bomber Strived to be a White Supremacist Martyr

July 25th, 2011 at 2:28 pm 7 Comments

In the National Post, Jon Kay claims that Anders Behring Breivick, the 32-year-old Norwegian bomber, copied much of his manifesto from the provocative 1978 novel, The Turner Diaries, which was written by a white supremacist promoting the extermination of Jews and non-whites. Breivik’s approach is also described as resembling that of Islamic terrorists:

“To read The Turner Diaries is to understand that the worldly beliefs of right-wing terrorists such as Breivick are not nearly so different from Islamic terrorists as some might believe. Members of both groups imagine themselves to be “martyrs” fulfilling some ordained and holy purpose, for which civilization will one day thank them. (In his manifesto, Breivick repeatedly references his upcoming “martyrdom.”)

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Why Did Yale End Anti-Semitism Program?

June 22nd, 2011 at 5:57 pm 14 Comments

Much has been written about the recent closure of the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Anti-Semitism.

Many argue that the institute was closed for political reasons; the university maintains that it was closed for various academic inadequacies. The entire argument has, see to some extent, become circular.

It’s difficult to move forward in this debate because Yale has decided not to disclose the report of the faculty committee that voted to close YIISA. The debate is also missing the views of people who are central to the controversy — undergraduate students.

As a rising sophomore at Yale, a former intern with YIISA and the co-president of the Yale Friends of Israel student group, I hope to provide a much-needed perspective on YIISA’s closing. Professor Donald Green, director of the Institution for Social and Policy Studies (ISPS), argued that YIISA was shut down because it wasn’t successful enough in publishing articles in top-tier academic journals or in attracting students to its events.

YIISA’s success in these areas is debatable, but if these are truly the sole causes for its closing, then Yale must apply these same criteria even-handedly to other programs. Yet this has not been the case. Professor Green cited the Center for the Study of Race, Inequality and Politics as another example of an underachieving program that was shut down because it “failed to meet high standards for research and instruction.”

This, however, isn’t a valid comparison. This center was defunct for years before it was shut down in 2004 and the last published article from the center that I was able to find was from 2000.

Even more tellingly, Cathy Cohen, the professor who started the Center for the Study of Race, Inequality and Politics in 1995 left Yale for the University of Chicago in 2000. At this point, “Despite student efforts to encourage President Levin to protect CSRIP, the Center received no further funding”.

It took Yale four years, in other words, to shut down the center after its director had already left and it ceased receiving funding — and yet YIISA, which receives little University money, was shut down just as it was poised to grow. This is a glaring disparity.

Professor Green’s second point is that there was not sufficient student interest in the center when compared to programs such as Ethics, Politics, and Economics. This is, yet again, a problematic comparison. Unlike EP&E, the study of anti-Semitism is not a major at Yale, automatically limiting possibilities for student involvement. Secondly, Ethics, Politics, and Economics is – by definition – a much broader subject area: three entire disciplines.

Even if we disregarded all of that and assumed that there were no legitimate reasons for low student interest, it is clear that YIISA was attempting to fix its faults. The director, Charles Small, had begun efforts to reach out to the undergraduate community.

Last year, he hired me and two other students to involve the undergraduate community and spark more student interest. I was hired as a freshman and was only beginning to fulfill the purpose of my job. We were making progress, but we will now never be able to carry on our work.

Why did the University shut YIISA down rather than providing constructive feedback and allowing us to have a true impact? We appear to be left with the unnerving, but all too believable conclusion that this decision was politically motivated.

Because Yale will not disclose why it canceled the program, we have no choice but to presume that YIISA’s decision to address modern forms of anti-Semitism, particularly in the Muslim and Arab worlds, didn’t meet with approbation from an administration that would have preferred a less controversial – and less useful – but more politically correct study of Medieval, Christian, and European Anti-Semitism.

It seems, then, that Yale decided to shut YIISA down for daring to engage with a topic that is relevant and in need of scholarly exploration, and therefore controversial. Whatever faults YIISA had should have been highlighted and the institute should have been allowed to correct them.

Now, precisely because the university refuses to publish the results of the faculty committee’s deliberations, doubts will always remain about its motives. As a student, I would ask that Yale release the faculty review and encourage the reviewers to speak openly about their decision so as to better understand what transpired.

Amidst all this uncertainty, I do applaud Yale for their recent decision to reinstate some form of an initiative studying anti-Semitism and I hope that this new institute will not shy away from the very relevant, albeit controversial, anti-Semitism that plagues the world today.

Islamic Hearings: Pete King Is No Joe McCarthy

June 15th, 2011 at 11:14 pm 48 Comments

If you believed the advance warnings, troche you probably thought Rep. Peter King (R-NY) used Wednesday’s congressional hearing to continue his push to deport or inter the vast majority of American Muslims.

Naturally, buy viagra that’s not true at all.  But given the way the House Homeland Security Committee Chairman’s hearings on homegrown Islamic radicalization and terrorism have been covered, you could well imagine that the Representative from Long Island is combining McCarthy-era hysteria with World War II-style racial prejudice.

King has been a target of liberal media outlets since January, when he assumed the committee’s chairmanship and announced his plans to investigate Islamic radicalism at home. In March, the New York Times published an editorial alleging that the first hearing was “designed to stoke fear against American Muslims.”  The Times Editorial Board even leveled a personal attack against Rep. King, accusing him of “spreading fear and bigotry.”

So when this week’s hearing on radical Islam in U.S. prisons was announced, the media geared up for another circus and prepared the predictable assaults on Rep. King’s intentions and character.  Even Congressional Democrats joined in: 50 of them signed a letter warning King against “jeopardizing the trust between Muslims and law enforcement.”  It was as if King were burning a Koran in the Cannon House Office Building.

Disappointingly for his critics, King’s hearings were conducted in a manner that was responsible and decorous, if not exceedingly informative.

King assembled a group of knowledgeable witnesses familiar with prison populations and discussed a topic that every person in the room admitted was valid, though admittedly exaggerated. The witnesses, including among them a sociology professor from Purdue and the commanding officer of the Los Angeles Police Department Counter-Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau, agreed that some prisoners were exposed to radical Islam while behind bars.  While there was disagreement over the scope of the danger, the witnesses and representatives could not deny the existence of a potential threat.

Even King’s most vehement opponent, Rep. Laura Richardson (D-CA), could only muster resistance on the grounds that “focus on one particular group on the basis of race or religion can be considered discriminatory.”

This stale gripe may placate the left’s instinctive political correctness, but it is a straw man that deliberately obscures the real issue.  In a surprising show of alertness, King responded, “Your party had control of this committee for four years and not one hearing on skinheads, Nazis, Aryan Nation, on white supremacists at all. We are not going to spread ourselves out to investigate everything, which means investigating nothing.”  But then again, I was only surprised because I read the Times.

There was no foaming-at-the-mouth racism for King’s critics. Instead, King repeatedly reassured the audience that most Muslims are patriotic Americans.  And there was no revelation of a grand Muslim conspiracy for the genuinely prejudiced.  King didn’t even get the full media spectacle he relishes so much.

Peter King is no Joe McCarthy and today was evidence for that point.  He managed to uncover a relatively minor, though real, problem that may merit some sort of federal response.  The Times must be so disappointed.