UCLA Honors Sharia Apologist Khaled Abou El Fadl

Judith Greblya co-wrote this article with Cinnamon Stillwell, the West Coast Representative for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum. Send email to jgreblya@aol.com and stillwell@meforum.org.


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Retraction: FrontPage Magazine wishes to retract a quote attributed to Professor George Bisharat of the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law, which appeared in the original version of the article below. The statement, “[B]ut when I dug deeper and spoke with the dean, it was clear to me that it was the Jews. The Jews were behind a united attempt to silence academic freedom,” was never made and, therefore, it has been removed from the article. We apologize to Prof. Bisharat for the appearance of this quote. 

Academic self-congratulation reached new heights at the University of California, Los Angeles on March 21, 2012, with “An Event Honoring Professor Khaled Abou El Fadl.” Abou El Fadl—Omar and Azmeralda Alfi Distinguished Professor in Islamic Law and chair of the Islamic Studies Interdepartmental Program at UCLA—was feted by the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies, the UCLA School of Law Journal of Near Eastern and Islamic Law, the UCLA School of Law Muslim Law Students Association, and the UCLA School of Law Critical Race Studies Program. Eighty students, professors, and community members gathered to commemorate “the world’s leading authority on Islamic law and Islam, and the prominent scholar in the field of human rights,” according to the event description. In reality, Fadl is an apologist for radical Islam who routinely denies valid concerns over the human rights abuses inherent to Sharia (Islamic) law while charging its critics with “Islamophobia.”

Cheryl Harris, Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Professor of Civil Liberties and Civil Rights at UCLA, opened the event by hailing Abou El Fadl as a hero in “the struggle against Islamophobia in America.” Persecuted for the “sins he has committed . . . from the sin of being a scholar to standing up against the egregious vilification of Muslims in the West,” Abou El Fadl—in Harris’s fevered imagination—is a victim of slander from both liberals and conservatives. Ratcheting up the melodrama even further, she then declared that “the Korematsu trope has been recycled in the post-9/11 world against Muslims,” referring to the 1944 United States Supreme Court case deciding the constitutionality of the order to intern Japanese-Americans during WWII. This ludicrous comparison has been made on more than one such occasion; it never seems to lose its appeal to academic peddlers of victimhood.

Continuing this theme, George Bisharat, a law professor at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, reveled in sinister—albeit imaginary—campaigns to stifle academic freedom. He focused on a March 2011 Hastings conference that he organized titled, “Litigating Palestine: Can Courts Secure Palestinian Rights?” The conference featured a roster of anti-Israel speakers advocating the delegitimization of Israel through U.S. courts—otherwise known as lawfare. Because of the radical, one-sided nature of the conference, local Jewish leaders expressed their reservations to Hastings dean Frank Wu, who subsequently canceled his welcoming address and the law school’s official co-sponsorship. Bisharat objected to Wu’s actions, telling the San Francisco Chronicle that “opponents had wrongly accused the conference of ‘Israeli-bashing.” Yet journalist Stephen Schwartz, who attended the conference and reported on it for Campus Watch, wrote:

In fact, that’s exactly what took place at the conference. The anti-Israeli rhetoric of the participants was notably extreme, and even bizarre. . . . Hastings officials were correct in withdrawing their sponsorship and canceling the participation of their dean in this effort.

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  • RonCarnine

    Well UCLA here's another "islamophobe" checking in. Are you guys Idiots. Have you not looked into "Sharia" law at all? Where females are 2nd class citizens and non-Muslims are third class citizens? Do your students not swear to protect the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic when they become "officers of the court"? As a law enforcement officer I investigated the claims of Islam and found them to be anything but the "religion of peace". Sharia law orders beatings, executions in the most vicious of ways, limbs amputated, and requires the testimony of two women for every one man. You honor that? Have you not read this man's writings? Are you there? Do you ever listen at all? I think not, the lights are on at UCLA but no one is at home. Do you keep up at all on currents events? Did you not see the burned bodies of Nigerians in today's news? Boko Haram has the same doctrinal outlook as this man and you honor that? Unbelievable. All alumni should stop sending money to you until you wake up and look at the real world. You are an institution of "higher" learning? Higher than what?

  • Schlomotion

    These Muslim rallies at universities appear to be carbon copies of the Zionist ones. There really isn't any part of this article that cannot be easily reversed and make the same sense:

    "Academic self-congratulation reached new heights at the Harvard University, Cambridge on March 21, 2012, with “An Event Honoring Alan Dershowitz.” Distinguished Professor in US-Israeli Law and chair of the Jewish Studies Interdepartmental Program at Harvard—was feted by the Harvard Center for Near Eastern Studies, the Harvard School of Law Journal of Near Eastern and Israeli Law, the Harvard School of Law Jewish Law Students Association, and the Harvard School of Law Critical Race Studies Program. Eighty students, professors, and community members gathered to commemorate “the world’s leading authority on Israel and Judaism, and the prominent scholar in the field of human rights,” according to the event description. In reality, Dershowitz is an apologist for radical Zionism who routinely denies valid concerns over the human rights abuses inherent to Israeli expansionism while charging its critics with “Antisemitism.”

    Now really, Alan Dershowitz is not up Harvard's rear end like that, but Jewish groups have these kinds of self-congratulatory hoedowns all the time. It's probably where the Muslim groups found out how to do it.

    • Ghostwriter

      And you,Schlomotion are a vile anti-semite and an idiot.

      • Schlomotion

        That's a lot like Muslims telling women in T-shirts that they are naked, or chastising people for owning dogs. The epithets you use are so amazingly out of date. It's like being cursed out in 1870's Yiddish.

  • http://www.blancosblog.com R Field

    Follow the money. How much did UCLA receive from Saudi Arabia to install their Islamic studies chair? Everyone in the USA that cares for the freedoms and liberties their ancestors fought for needs to be Islamophobic, there is just cause ! No Go Zones next for LA. Wake up and defend yourselves. R Field Toronto Canada.

  • SoCalMike

    The Left, so-called liberals and progressives, don't feel like their feet are on the ground if they aren't helping people mass murder, destroy and enslave the free people of the West whom they despise more than anything.
    Government money tends to poison those who touch it and parasitic professors get paid lots of taxpayer money in spite of their idiotic whining about being poor.
    Sherman Jackson and Susan Slymovics are blinded by ideology. They can't see what's in front of their eyes because they can only see what they already believe and can't possibly see what they don't believe.
    Ideologues are mentally crippled yet regarded as our "best and brightest." Read Worst and Dimmest.

  • Davidka

    I was recently at the UCLA main library and was astonished to see someone in full chadoor, revealing nothing but his or her eyes. There was no way to know the identity of the person or even if it was male or female. Nor was there any way to know what the person could have been concealing when going in or out. I spoke to a campus policeman who said it is outrageous, but the employees in the library are under orders to allow such concealment and not to see whether anything is being taken out (such as valuable books) or anything unusual is being taken in and left there. Basically, people wearing Islamic guard are exempting from all normal security and anti-theft precautions and treated specially.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    I didn't have time to read this article but the title, “UCLA Honors Sharia Apologist Khaled Abou El Fadl” did catch my eye. Since Islam first and foremost requires all Muslims to submit totally, completely, and unconditionally to the will of Allah (i.e, Sharia), while at the same time forbidding the freedom of conscience, and then enforcing that tenet by making blasphemy and apostasy capital offenses, is there any true Muslims that do not apologize for Sharia (i.e., the will of Allah)? Indeed, not apologizing for Sharia would constitute blasphemy, which under Islam is a capital offense.

    Hence, what is so surprising about El Fadl apologizing for Islam? I don't get it. Indeed, what would be more surprising is if El Fadl refused to apologize for Sharia, as that would constitute blasphemy, which again is a capital offense.

    Are is it surprising that UCLA honors a Sharia apologist? Again, if that is what is so surprising, then someone is severely asleep at the wheel, as practically every Middle East Studies Department throughout Europe and the USA has been hijacked and co-opted by a cabal of delusional anti-American Leftists and Muslim covert and deceptive non-violent jihadists financed by millions of OPEC petro-dollars.

  • Ken

    There's not a hint that anyone commenting here has actually read the professor's work. There's as much diversity of thought in Islam as there is in any other religion.