Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Islamophobia on American Campuses
By Karin Friedemann
Khaleej Times, April 26, 2009
Muslim parents from around the world once sent their children off to
school in America with simple warnings against wine and song, but now Muslim
students must be prepared to face Islamophobic incitement.
political activism makes college exciting, Muslims need to be aware that
autonomously managed local Muslim Student Association university chapters
are outclassed by well-funded, hierarchically coordinated Jewish and
Neoconservative organisations, which actively work to undermine Muslim
The Jewish Anti-Defamation League, which blacklists
professors for failure to teach the Zionist version of the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict, labels MSA an "Anti-Israel" organisation and
keeps detailed files on its activities.
Steve Emerson's Terrorism
Awareness Project published a "Student's Guide to Stop the Jihad on Campus"
manual for organising "Islam-Fascism Awareness Week," whose stated goal is
"to show the connections between the MSA and the international jihad."
IFAW sponsored a panel discussion on "Islamic Totalitarianism's Threat
to Civilisation" with the Ayn Rand Institute and screened propaganda films.
MSA chapters deal separately with such assaults on Muslim religious
dignity. Usually they hold a protest or a counter-event. No coordinated
national plan exists to oppose malicious professional anti-Islamic
incitement. Muslim students clearly need protection and guidance from their
An MSA student from University of Texas complains: "David
Horowitz and his Islamophobic gang, which include the likes of Robert
Spencer, Daniel Pipes, Michael Savage, Sean Hannity, Wafa Sultan, Ann
Coulter and many others, have called on student organisations sponsoring
IFAW to distribute petitions to MSA members denouncing terrorism and the
Hadiths of Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him)… these petitions have been
written in such a way that no Muslim could possibly sign it without
denouncing their religion." The Jewish Organisation of America in
consultation with Hillel sued Michigan State University for permitting
Muslim students to wear graduation stoles inscribed with the Shahada. They
equated the Muslim declaration of faith with support for Hamas and claimed
this threatened Jewish students' civil rights.
The Harvard Crimson
recently reported Harvard Islamic chaplain Taha Abdul-Basseer came under
attack because he addressed a student's questions about apostates "in the
context of the evolution of an Islamic legal doctrine." This aggressive,
prejudiced dissection of Islam stigmatises the religion as fundamentally
different from Judeo-Christianity, intrinsically incompatible with American
values, and results in the marginalisation of Muslim scholars.
college student, Aafia Siddique was active in MSA and managed a religious
information (da'awah) table in the MIT student center. Today Aafia is a US
political prisoner because Islamophobes like Nonie Darwish denigrate Aafia's
faith as something unacceptable: "They are not trying to be part of the
American way of life, they are not trying to be a part of our culture, they
are here with an agenda to make Islam the law of the land." Peer pressure
has the dangerous effect of rendering Muslim youths vulnerable to
Zionisation on American campuses. Muslim students trying to be "progressive"
in the eyes of fellow students begin defending Jewish sensitivities against
anti-Zionists and acting as spokespersons for the Holocaust or gay rights.
Parents and leaders within communities sending their children to America
for school should protect and organise the Muslim students. Wealthy Jews
provide Jewish students with campus organisational headquarters, where
members create databases of Jewish students' personal information gleaned
through friendly phone calls and Sabbath dinner party invitations. The
Jewish community arranges free trips to Israel and special access to
internships throughout industry and government.
The Muslim Students
Association needs both to create similar databases of supporters or of
potential supporters and also to make connections with friendly student,
religious and professional organisations in order to compete with Jewish
social networking. Muslim think tanks need to observe the competition.
Harvard University's Catholic Student Center is integrated with the
monumental St. Paul's Church, and the Hillel building is modern and glassy,
designed by Moshe Safdie, architect of the new Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.
Ultra-Orthodox Lubavitcher Jews have their own Chabad House operating under
auspices of Alan Dershowitz and Ruth Wisse.
Harvard, which is the
foremost intellectual institution of the US establishment, has no
pan-Islamic cultural student building for meetings, prayers, social events,
or creating political infrastructure. The Harvard Islamic Society meets in a
room near the Buddhist Dharma Society in the basement of an undergraduate
dormitory, just past the laundry room, recycling bins, and
The wars over global domination and the debates about which races or
nations have the right of self-defense and which do not are first fought in
academia. As intellectuals poke the surface of pro-Israel bluster, they find
there is nothing behind it. Islamophobic ideologies exist in a vacuum of
reason. Despite vulgar and hostile pro-Israel campus organisations, many
friendly Jews attend pro-Palestine events. For all its drawbacks the USA
still offers more freedom of speech and freedom of religion than Europe for
those students who want to sharpen their pencils for a battle of ideas.
Karin Friedemann is a Boston-based writer on the Middle East affairs and