Spies in the Classroom: CAIR vs. Campus Watch

Cinnamon Stillwell is the West Coast Representative for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum. She can be reached at stillwell@meforum.org.


Nihad+Awad+Council+American+Islamic+Relations+1euk6wC6RH5lWhen on October 1, 2013, Samantha Bowden crept unannounced into the classroom of University of Central Florida communications professor Jonathan Matusitz, she wasn’t hoping to advance her education on the sly. Rather, Bowden, the communication and outreach director for the Florida branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-FL), was doing something of which Campus Watch has been frequently accused, but has never done: spying on a professor in an effort to embarrass him and, with luck, even harm his career.

Since its inception in 2002, Campus Watch (CW)—a project of the Middle East Forum that reviews and critiques Middle East studies in North America with an aim to improving them—has been charged with an array of outrageous calumnies. They include paying students to infiltrate classrooms as “spies” or “informers”; targeting “pro-Palestinian” professors; and tracking “anti-Israel” comments.” (Click here for a full collection of examples.)

Writing at his blog in 2005, University of Pennsylvania teaching assistant David Faris claimed to have been dogged by a Campus Watch “spy” for months: “At Penn, one of my semesters as a teaching assistant was deeply marred by an undergraduate Campus Watch spy . . . .” Faris flatters himself, as Campus Watch has never heard of him, then or since.

Hatem Bazian, a Near Eastern studies lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, declared in a 2006 interview that “he knew of students in his classroom who attended just so they could write down what he says, essentially spying on him.”

Ben-Gurion University political geography professor David Newman, in 2010, fantasized that Campus Watch “turns students into spies in the name of a specific political ideology.”

In 2010, Dorit Naaman, a film and media professor at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, wrote that Campus Watch “asked students to spy on their professors and track their ‘anti Israel’ record on a public website.”

Meanwhile, in a 2012 interview, University of Pennsylvania political science professor Ian Lustick maintained that “he has had students in his classes act as ‘spies’ for Campus Watch.”

While such colorful tales of intrigue make for a gripping story, Campus Watch defies anyone to provide proof that it ever sent paid “spies” into university classrooms. Can one of the accusers make available a paycheck stub or other written evidence to indicate that Campus Watch staff sought to infiltrate a professor’s classroom? Have any Campus Watch employees actually been apprehended sneaking into classrooms in the manner of CAIR’s Bowden?

Indeed, CAIR has been caught red-handed doing exactly that with which academia and its allies have fallaciously charged Campus Watch and instead of outrage, the incident has been met with silence.

The fact that CAIR—an Islamist outfit posing as a defender of civil rights, an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial (among other terrorist ties), and a recipient of illegal foreign funding—has been embraced by the Middle East studies establishment (click here, here, here, here, and here for just a few examples) likely has something to do with it. It turns out the only “spies” Middle East studies specialists are truly concerned about are those that threaten the politically-correct view of the Middle East; when it’s one of their own, they turn a blind eye. This the height of hypocrisy, not to mention a textbook example of projection.

Campus Watch challenges these professors to denounce CAIR’s harassment with the same fervor they’ve demonstrated over the years leveling spurious accusations of spying against CW. To do otherwise would be to demonstrate the hollowness of their concerns.

Cinnamon Stillwell is the West Coast Representative for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum. She can be reached at stillwell@meforum.org.

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Don’t miss Jamie Glazov’s video interview with Steven Emerson on “The Sordid World of CAIR”:

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  • SCREW SOCIALISM

    CAIR is a Colonialist, Arrogant, Islamist, Regressive organization which is funded by the Muslim Brotherhood.

    • defcon 4

      I don’t think the Muslim Brotherhood is the ultimate source of the funds — think islam0fascist petrocracies.

  • Gee

    I constantly see anti-semites projecting their fantasies upon Jews. This is the norm, especially among Islamofascists

  • Boots

    Just like our friends on the left, Islam has no problem using Alinskyite tactics… they can’t tell the truth because… in the words of Comrade Gore… it’s inconvenient. Get caught being their anti-Semitic selves… change the subject with false counter accusations which is a lot easier than defending your statements.

    • pekin

      Boots…watch for this CREEP, in Florida Political scene!!

      • Boots

        If we’re talking about Ms Bowden, I’d be surprised that as CAIR’s communications hack if she isn’t already involved in politics. What amazes me is there are liberal women who are willing to front for the most misogynistic, homophobic culture on the face of the earth.

        • pekin

          Write On, Boots ~ Florida Legislature!

  • tullamore

    names of any CAIR creeps at San Francisco State U?

  • Steve

    You know the expression don’t do as I do….do as I tell you. We need to get the message out there as often as possible to denounce CAIR.

  • Alan Kornman

    Hat Tip to The United West for breaking this story.

  • RalphV2

    CAIR is very adept at infiltration.

  • Father Dacius

    Islam is under siege, but not from foreign adversaries. They are at their very foundation unable to live in a post modern world without changing in some profound ways. Christianity changed, several times, Judaism constantly evolves and examines itself for error, Islam is unable to perform this function. The fact that they are nearly all fanatics means that unless they can take the whole world back to the 6th century, they will self destruct. And I’m not ruling out the 6th century thing-they might pull it off.

    • defcon 4

      I do not believe Islam can change, it’s doctrine that islam is already perfect as it was created by the most holey and perfect man in islam. And how would you go about changing it? To remove the genocidal, violent, antisemitic, supremacist vomit in islam would make it no longer islam, because this is what islam fundamentally IS.

      • Father Dacius

        I don’t believe any such effort should be contemplated. It is likely that all out war will be inevitable