Monday, December 11, 2017

Campus Watch Exposes Islamists, Apologists, and Fellow Travelers at Georgetown University

A new Campus Watch report details how Georgetown University's Middle East studies faculty has radicalized in recent years to include not just the fellow travelers of previous decades but actual Islamist professors.

Islamists, Apologists, and Fellow Travelers: Middle East Studies Faculty at Georgetown University by Campus Watch, a project of the Philadelphia-based Middle East Forum, exposes this alarming increase in anti-American, anti-Israel, and anti-Western biases among professors, some Saudi funded, in the heart of the American capital.

"Georgetown's decades-long reputation as ground zero for apologists for Islamism is well deserved" said Winfield Myers, director of academic affairs at the Forum and head of Campus Watch. "But our research reveals alarming trends in its recent hiring and promotion of actual Islamist professors who propagandize for Islamist goals in their teaching and scholarship," Myers added.

As advisors to policymakers and politicians, Georgetown's faculty consistently misread the Middle East, as when John Esposito argued that Islamism was the surest path to democracy in the region, a theory proved false by events, for example in Egypt and Turkey. The report concludes that "the permeation of postcolonial theory and aggressive Islamism into academia has given rise to politicized scholarship that yields little useful expertise to policymakers."

The executive summary of the report is below

Executive Summary

Georgetown University's various Middle East studies (MES) faculty have a reputation as the most intolerant, ideological, anti-Israel, and pro-Islamist in the United States. This detailed new Campus Watch report, Islamists, Apologists, and Fellow Travelers: Middle East Studies Faculty at Georgetown University, demonstrates that this reputation is well deserved, but recent hiring trends promise an even more radical future.

The problem began decades ago with the old guard, scholars such as Michael Hudson, John Esposito, and John Voll who were trained in the once-rigorous disciplines that make up MES –history, languages, political science, religious studies, and more. They advanced then-fashionable theories of Arab nationalism, Islamic democracy, and anti-Zionism. Willful blindness to systemic problems in the region supported a revisionist historiography that actively undermined the earlier MES work. That these scholars uncritically embraced Edward Said's deeply flawed book Orientalism (1978) revealed how deeply politicized MES had become. Georgetown faculty adopted Said's anti-intellectual, know-nothing approach of labeling Western scholars (whose erudition he could never hope to match) as racist, imperialist Orientalists.

Said's malignant postcolonial reading of the region so dominated Georgetown's faculty that by 2005, when Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bestowed $20 million on the school, the transformation was complete. But the prince's largess was not wasted: it gave Esposito, founding director of the Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim Christian Understanding (ACMCU), an enhanced platform from which to spread a pro-Islamist message. Thus did Georgetown become the country's leading center of Islamist apologetics. Then matters got yet worse.

The past decade saw a new guard, consisting not merely of fellow travelers of the old guard, but of authentic Islamists, ascend. Chief among these is Jonathan Brown, who became director of ACMCU upon Esposito's retirement in 2015. A convert to Islam who has defended the practice of slavery, Brown represents a new generation of disciplinary leaders who see themselves not as apologists for Islamism, but proselytizers for it. Others include Osama Abi-Mershed, Felicitas Opwis, and Emma Gannagé.

From its perch in the nation's capital, Georgetown's MES faculty wields great influence on every branch of government as expert advisors, as well as on the media. The result, as the Campus Watch report concludes, is that "the permeation of postcolonial theory and aggressive Islamism into academia has given rise to politicized scholarship that yields little useful expertise to policymakers." Yet, "From underestimating threats to national security to misrepresenting empirical data, the impact is considerable."

This dangerous situation should be unacceptable to all those connected to Georgetown University; they should take immediate steps to ensure that the university ends its role as an Islamist outpost on the Potomac.


UK: Grammar schools 'contrary to common good' - Archbishop of Canterbury

The Archbishop of Canterbury has criticised grammar schools as "contrary to the notion of the common good". Speaking in the House of Lords, the Most Rev Justin Welby called for education to focus on "drawing the best out of every person", rather than a selective approach.

He said governments should not look to the past and "waste our time rummaging there for the solutions of tomorrow."

The archbishop led a debate on education, saying the country was now in a "fourth digital revolution" and schools had one of the "greatest challenges" in tackling the "seismic shift" when it comes to preparing children for the future.

However, he said "children of privilege continue to inherit privilege" and the system was not acting in a way to help everyone.

"The academic selective approach to education, one which prioritises separation as a necessary precondition for the nurture of excellence, makes a statement about the purpose of education that is contrary to the notion of the common good," the archbishop said.

"An approach that neglects those of lesser ability or because of a misguided notion of levelling out does not give the fullest opportunity to those of highest ability or does not enable all to develop a sense of community and mutuality."

His comments have been denounced by some MPs who back the schools. Conservative Andrew Bridgen told the Daily Mail: "[Mr Welby] is obviously entitled to his own views, but the evidence is that grammar schools are a great way for under-privileged children to escape poverty. "It is well known that they provide social mobility for the under-privileged."

Fellow Conservative MP Conor Burns also told the newspaper: "Many grammar school provide invaluable opportunities for children from both poor and rich backgrounds, and give them the opportunities they may not otherwise have."


Australian Universities becoming ‘increasingly hostile to free speech’

Australian universities have become increasingly hostile to free speech, with an audit finding most campuses have instituted policies, guidelines or charters that prohibit students from making “insulting” or “unwelcome” comments, telling “offensive jokes” or, in some cases, engaging in “sarcasm”.

Analysis by the Institute of Public Affairs has revealed 81 per cent of Australia’s 42 universities are actively hostile to free speech on campus as a result of censorious policies or actions taken by administrators or students.

A further 17 per cent potentially threaten free speech by maintaining policies that could stifle student expression.

Only one, the University of New England in Armidale, NSW, actively supports free speech on campus and is among a handful of institutions with a policy upholding intellectual freedom.

The University of Sydney has been named as the most hostile ­university. It topped the ranking, scoring 36 — more than double its nearest rival, Charles Sturt University.

Rather than its policies, it was Sydney University’s role in ­numerous censorship scandals, largely led by student activity, that had contributed to its score.

IPA research fellow Matthew Lesh, who carried out the audit, said many policies appeared to extend beyond the law, meaning students were more restricted as to what they could say or do on campus than out in the wider community. He cited the Racial Discrimination Act, which makes it unlawful for a person to commit an act “reasonably likely … to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate ­another person or a group” on the grounds of race or ­ethnicity.

“The vast majority of universities seem to have introduced policies that prevent behaviour without applying that reasonable person test,” he said. “They also extend the idea of offence to hurt feelings, or emotional injury or unwelcome ­behaviour.”

Sydney University vice-chancellor Michael Spence said he believed it was the role of a university to host debate on difficult topics and to encourage ­people to disagree. “While I recognise not everyone will agree with the university’s decision not to take a position on issues … I do believe that the right to express a view must be defended; this is codified in our charter of academic freedom,” Dr Spence said. [but not acted on]

“The University of Sydney supports academic freedom,” a spokeswoman said. [For Leftists only]


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