‘Islamophobia’ Thought Crimes at Berkeley [Excerpts]
What’s an “Islamophobia”-promoting academic to do when there simply aren’t enough hate crimes to sustain the mythical narrative that Muslim-Americans are persecuted for their religion? The Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project (IRDP) at the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Race & Gender came up with a brilliant idea for this spring’s Fifth Annual International Islamophobia Conference: they invented a thought crime called “latent Islamophobia.”
According to the conference description and “inspired by [the late Columbia professor] Edward Said’s work on Orientalism,” “Islamophobia” can be broken into two categories: latent and manifest: Latent Islamophobia is founded upon an unquestionable certitude that Muslims trend “towards despotism and away from progress.” They are constructed and “judged in terms of, and in comparison to, the West, so it is always the Other, the conquerable, and the inferior.” Manifest Islamophobia “is what is spoken and acted upon.”
Near Eastern studies lecturer, IRDP director, and conference convener Hatem Bazian supported this blatant effort to condemn thought, as he promised in his opening remarks that this effort would eventually be a “field [and] a distinct area of study” called “Islamophobia studies.”
This is no idle threat. In addition to producing annual UC Berkeley conferences and the Islamophobia Journal, Bazian said IRDP’s plans include:
Saeed Khan, a lecturer in history and Near East and Asian studies at Wayne State University, spoke on the second panel about “Islamophobia, the Conservative Movement, and the Creation of the Muslim Menace.” Khan is also a fellow at the Detroit-based Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, which co-commissioned a flawed May, 2013 study alleging “Islamophobia” in the San Francisco Bay Area, of all places, that was co-authored by Bazian. He critiqued what he called “the conventional wisdom among Tea Party conservatives and other Islamophobes” that “Muslims are infiltrating every aspect of American society, particularly education” by quoting a 2008 article on the unconstitutional insertion of Islamic curriculum into American public education written by this author. He then made a nonsensical comparison: Cinnamon Stillwell, from here in the Bay Area. . . . She definitely takes the line that in spite of the “soft jihad” that is taking place, a soft crusade about the Christianity of the Founding Fathers is perfectly acceptable in public schools in a construct that is supposed to have separation of church and state.
Khan’s alleged concern for separation of church and state would be more convincing were he to apply it to the very real threat outlined in the article in question, not to a nonexistent Christian “soft crusade” that its author did not reference.
He later complained about efforts in “Texas and Florida” to combat the use of biased textbooks in K-12 education, mischaracterizing valid concerns over the whitewashing and falsifying of Islamic history as opposition to inclusion and objectivity: A world history text is being reviewed to extricate Islam from the curriculum, or at the very least, to try and remove any reference to Islam that would be seen as objective or—in their estimation, the same thing—biased toward Islam.
During the question and answer period, Khan actually complained that the “backlash” against Muslims after the 2013 Boston bombing that was predicted by speakers at last year’s Islamophobia conference never happened. Referencing a Boston Globe article titled, “Inclusive Spirit Reassures Muslims After Bombings,” he concluded: This portrays Muslims being unnecessarily and unreasonably paranoid. It showcases the magnanimity and largesse of an American society that didn’t cause a backlash.
We couldn’t have put it better ourselves.