Manufacturing ‘Islamophobia’ at UC Berkeley

Scholars of the Middle East would do well to follow the lead of the Associated Press (AP), which last year struck the political term “Islamophobia” from the new edition of its widely used Stylebook, explaining that “‘-phobia,’ an irrational, uncontrollable fear, often a form of mental illness should not be used in political or social contexts, including ‘homophobia’ and ‘Islamophobia.’” Given that the word was invented in the early 1990s by a Muslim Brotherhood front organization, the Northern Virginia-based International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT), in order to silence critics of Islamism by branding them as irrational racists and hate-mongers—according to former IIIT member Abdur-Rahman Muhammad who was present at the time—AP made a wise decision.

In contrast, the field of Middle East studies—in partnership with organizations such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an Islamist outfit linked by the United States government to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood posing as a defender of civil rights—has become one of the key proponents of the myth that “Islamophobia” is sweeping the nation. Professors of Middle East studies regularly use the phrase in both public lectures and the classroom, while producing books, op-eds, reports, and programs devoted to the promulgation of this deliberately misleading term.

At the forefront of this effort is the Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project (IRDP), a program of the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Race and Gender directed by Near Eastern studies senior lecturer and notorious anti-Israel activist Hatem Bazian. Bazian, co-founder of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), has links to Hamas through his work with KindHearts and through SJP’s sister organization, the Muslim Students Association. In addition to annual conferences devoted to the subject beginning in 2010 (information is available here and here), the IRDP produced the inaugural edition of its Islamophobia Studies Journal in late 2012.

As with IRDP conferences, the journal was fashioned in collusion with CAIR and Berkeley’s “Islamic University,” Zaytuna College. Zahra Billoo, executive director of CAIR’s San Francisco Bay Area chapter, and Zaid Shakir, Zaytuna College cofounder and senior faculty member, serve on its advisory board, along with controversial Oxford University Islamic studies professor Tariq Ramadan and University of California, Davis anthropology and women’s studies professor Suad Joseph. Editorial board members include Rabab Abdulhadi, San Francisco State University associate professor of ethnic studies and race and resistance studies, and a senior scholar in the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Initiative;  Munir Jiwa, founding director and assistant professor of the Center for Islamic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley; and Hatem Bazian. All share the dubious achievement of furthering the politicization of Middle East studies.

In keeping with the postcolonial, postmodern, racialist language that characterizes UC Berkeley’s Center for Race & Gender, the Islamophobia Studies Journal is filled with the sort of ideological jargon that radical academics habitually substitute for reasoned debate. In the table of contents and the editorial statement alone, terms such “Otherness,” “social justice,” “speak truth to power,” “racial formations,” “the Muslim Other,” “the ‘inferior’ global other,” and “Western epistemic racisms” numb the mind and deaden the senses. Ahistorical and culturally relativistic comparisons to the Jewish experience serve to comfort those inclined to view all “Others” in the same light. Bazian’s contribution, “Muslims – Enemies of the State: The New Counter-Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO),” paints Muslim-Americans as victims of a persecutory fervor he likens to anti-communism—a trope he has been hawking furiously since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

While academic journals of this sort may have a limited audience, the IRDP has been involved with more populist ventures over the years. In 2011, CAIR and the Center for Race & Gender held a joint news conference on Capitol Hill in order to unveil a 68-page report titled, “Same Hate, New Target: Islamophobia and Its Impact in the United States.” It falsely charged a number of public figures with contributing to the scourge of “Islamophobia,” including Middle East Forum founder and president Daniel Pipes. Both Pipes and Campus Watch were blatantly mischaracterized, while the report stretched credulity to portray a country in which Muslims live in fear. The Islamophobia Studies Journal carries on this tradition.

The entire enterprise rests on a falsehood for, in fact, “Islamophobia” as a phenomenon that results in physical harm to Muslim-Americans is practically nonexistent. According to the latest FBI hate crime statistics, the majority of religiously motivated hate crimes in the U.S. are committed against Jews. A study conducted by the Center for Security Policy, “Religious Bias Crimes against Muslim, Jewish and Christian Victims: American Trends from 2000-2009,” shows that hate crimes against Muslim-Americans have remained relatively low and have trended downward since 2001. David Rusin, a research fellow at Islamist Watch, covered the subject extensively in a recent article, noting that:

A detailed analysis of FBI statistics covering ten full calendar years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks reveals that, on a per capita basis, American Muslims, contrary to spin, have been subjected to hate crimes less often than other prominent minorities.

Why then are the number of academic programs, reports, and journals devoted to combating “Islamophobia” on the rise? Simply put, it’s in the interest of Islamists to paint a picture of Muslim victimization in order to silence legitimate voices of criticism. In the latest evidence of its years-long decline into politicized scholarship and teaching, the field of Middle East studies has become a principal vehicle for this endeavor.

UC Berkeley and the IRDP are willing accomplices. The latter’s 2011 annual conference was titled, “Islamophobia Production and Re-Defining Global ‘Security’ Agenda for the 21st Century,” an apt name as “Islamophobia production” is precisely what the IRDP has done since its inception. Brainwashing students, obscuring the true picture of life for Muslims in America and sowing the seeds of division are the inevitable result—just as the Islamists intended. Academe should demonstrate the same level of intellectual integrity as the AP and dispense with the manufactured, discredited term “Islamophobia.”

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  • AdinaK

    Ahh….Islamophobia, a made up out of whole cloth bugaboo to silence free speech re Islamic subjugation –

    Their end goal, the imposition of Shariah Law, is viable if silence is imposed –

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel –

    • @DeucePrez

      Ahh….antisemitism, a made up out of whole cloth bugaboo to silence free speech re zionist subjugation….

      • AdinaK

        It's okay…climb back into your fevered sewer…night…night…Mahmoud…Besides, Zionists in Israel don't scare easily!

        Adina kutnicki, Israel –

      • LBJeffries

        "Ahh….antisemitism, a made up out of whole cloth bugaboo to silence free speech re zionist subjugation…."

        I hate to inform you, but anti-Semitism was coined by and propagated to this very day by anti-Semites. A bit of a difference there. Sorry if that jerks your knees.

        Since you can't argue with the facts, I guess you just let your misplaced emotions take over. The fact is that anti-Semitic attacks in the U.S. (one of the most friendly countries in the world to its jewish citizens) far outnumber attacks against people for simply being Muslim. Sorry that that doesn't conform to your particular form of bigotry – the slandering of the State of Israel, the Middle East's only democracy, whose Arab citizens (and other minorities you completely ignore, i.e., they don't matter) enjoy more rights than in ANY Arab country.

        You see, for centuries Jews lived at the pleasure of others. Sorry, but jewish rights are no longer conditional on your approval. They're non-negotiable. Those days are gone. It's done.

        It's not Jews who are against Arabs/Muslims, but quite the other way around. Whilst all the obscurantist rantings of Islamists and opaque writings of certain "academics" can change your perceptions of the facts, the facts themselves, I'm afraid, stay the same.

        • kaz

          and most of those anti-semitic attacks in the usa are committed by our dear muslim invaders. yet, while the israeli variety of jews withstands the onslaught of the entire world's vicious hate filled muslims, the american variety welcoms the islamic invasion, and votes for toxic liberals, unless a toxic muslim is available, and then the jewish vote goes to the muslim. explain that.

      • Mary Sue

        and what about "homophobia"?

      • Mary Sue

        Earth to guy with his head in the clouds: There is NO "zionist subjugation". There is only Communist Subjugation, or Islamist Subjugation.

    • Ghostwriter

      I'd like to say something to @DeucePrez. I don't remember Israelis screaming for the deaths of Americans. Much of the Middle East does that ALL the time.

    • Mary Sue

      They saw trhe runaway success of the coining of "homophobia", obviously.

  • @DeucePrez

    When will ASSociated Press discontinue using antisemitism?

    • LBJeffries

      "When will ASSociated Press discontinue using antisemitism?"

      If you and your "friends" have your way, probably never.

      But oh look! You've managed to highlight the word ASS in Associated press. How clever of you! How proud you must be of that big muscle in your head.

    • Mary Sue

      who gives a rat's rectum about the Associated Press? Eff 'em.

  • @DeucePrez

    RearEndmag is an online, right-wing, nut-job rag!! The only give the bigoted opinions from those on the far right fringe of society who oppose anyone or anything not White and Christian.

    • RoguePatriot6

      I'm not white and happen to agree with alot of what they publish.

    • Mary Sue

      so what's your excuse?

  • The Inverse

    Berkeley setting up parking lot for camels?

    • LBJeffries

      The problem with Berkeley – when you set up a mini-society based on hedonism with a terrible guilt complex, masochism is sure to follow.

  • The Inverse

    Diapers for heads being sold on Telegraph Avenue?

  • @DeucePrez

    I hate all dem joos because I have such a tiny pecker.

  • kafir4life

    muslims are savages. Even muslims understand this. Most know that allah the moon god was invented by the pedophile mohamat, who was also responsible for shatting the terror guide, the koran.

    • Mary Sue

      oh man how bad was what that guy said, I missed out! :(

  • mike elmore

    Lets just call it dimmiphobia. This at least might get people curious about the problem.

  • Marty

    Wasn't it Andrew Klavan who stated that islamophobia is the irrational fear of being beheaded. Anyway, there are still campuses that are not intimidated and explore the many violent aspects of islam, inclduing the one I'm privileged to teach on. Our students receive the truth about islam as a totalitarian ideology not at all dissimilar from fascism and communism. No dhimmitude here.

    • warren raymond

      Please do mention it and make sure people know. Nowadays Islam is the religion of the professors, and its becoming increasingly difficult to find a college that teaches reality without the blinkered glasses of PC.

  • tina

    throw them all out, along with the "Treasonous" U.S. govt.

  • garyfouse

    Hatem Bazian is a two-trick pony, who talks only of Islamophobia and his hate for Israel. As a part-time teacher at UC Irvine (for 14 years) who has seen this character speak on multiple occasions, I say in my opinion, he is an embarrassment to the UC system. Unfortunately, he has much company.

    Billoo spoke yesterday at UCI on women's rights in Islam. During q and a, she did concede that the penalty under hudud sharia law for adultery (both men and women) is death by stoning. As for her notorious poster telling Muslims not to speak to the FBI, she explained it was a decades-old poster used by many activist organizations over the years, that CAIR had decided it was not accurate legal advice, but that everybody had the right to remain silent and have an attorney present, blah blah blah.

  • D.M. Murdock

    Islamophobia is indeed a bogus JIHADI term used to insult us into subjugation. It could become dangerous in the sense of a "mental illness," for which we could all be institutionalized, drugged, lobotimized. Or killed, since "Islamophobia" is a REJECTION OF ISLAM, which in turn can be construed as an "insult," punishable under sharia law by imprisonment and/or death.

    If there is any REAL "phobia" on this planet at the moment, it's INFIDELOPHOBIA, which is expressed every day in violent attacks against non-Muslims globally.

    We need an "infidelophobia watch" website with all of these attacks on non-Muslims, purely and IRRATIONALLY because they are non-believers.

    We should also be circulating these anti-infidel posts under the hash tag #infidelophobia.

  • Questions

    Notice how Muslims equate any opposition to their intimidation with a "phobia," as though dissent from Islam represents some sort of irrational aversion needing a "cure." That these intellectual pygmies now have launched a journal solely devoted to peddling this jejune fiction is, well…wholly in character.

  • Moishe Pupick

    F., 01/25/13

    Yeah, the late Nick Berg and the late Daniel Pearl were both islamophobic– and with damn good reason. The ivory tower liberal eggheads at Cal have sold their intellectual integrity for a lot of oil $. They are simply useful idiots, enablers on the jihad path to a worldwide caliphate. Sadly, Jewish leftists are among this motley crew. Don't assume that G-d will tolerate these Amalekites forever. (or to use a secular metaphore, the fat lady ain't sung yet. . .)

    • kaz

      the liberal eggheads could not have gotten a mud nickel for their intellectual integrity. what they are selling is our homeland, and our freedom.

  • xavier823

    Follow the money . Berkley as well as Harvard , Georgetown , Notre Dame and the list goes on all have received millions of dollars by the Saudis to start middle eastern study programs with the underlining goal of promoting Islam. The ancestors of the Arabs quickly learned that the Rome Empire had become so corrupt that every politician and any institution could be bought in Rome. Today's Arabs have learned the same thing about the U.S.

  • garyfouse

    Below you can watch the video of Zahra Billoo at UCI on Thursday speaking on women's rights in Islam. At the start, one of the MSU asked me (unsuccessfully) not to videotape the event.

  • rivkah f.

    It certainly provides employment and probably tenure and perks … maybe that is part of the reason for these Islamophobia publications, surveys, courses, events, programs, videos, etc.

  • kaz

    our islamic friends confuse the way things are with the way things ought to be. the entire infidel world OUGHT to be overrun with islamophobia. our islamic friends are well aware that any infidel with any sense at all WOULD be profoundly islamophobic, and they are extending the compliment of assuming that we infidels actually do have enough good sense to be absolutely islamophobic. nothing could be further from the truth, as the loons at ucb, as well as in our treasonous governmen, our traitorous media, and well as other denizens of insane asylums, looney bins, and nut houses daily demonstrate by prostrating themselves at the feet of islam, kissing the feet of their executioners.

  • mike

    funny how any critique of Muslim society is called Islamophobic and yet these same Leftists deny anti-semitism when blaming Israel for everything and anything. I

  • Ghostwriter

    Unfortunately,much of the Muslim world have given us good reason to be afraid of them. Not the least of which,their constant screaming of "Death to America" which they every five seconds.

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