You may recall Nicholas Damask. He is the Scottsdale Community College (SCC) professor about whom I wrote here at FrontPage several weeks ago, when Muslim students threatened his life for observing that Islam teaches violence. Damask was repudiated by the college, which tried to force him to apologize until reminded that punishing a professor for telling unwelcome truths is still a bad look for an academic institution in the United States. Damask, however, is not out of the woods yet: the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has now filed suit against the college for daring to step away from the fictions and fantasies it has foisted on most colleges and universities in their teaching about Islam and terrorism.
The Arizona Republic reported that the Arizona chapter of CAIR “filed a lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court against Scottsdale Community College and one of its professors for teaching material that it says condemns Islam.”
You probably didn’t realize that it was illegal to condemn Islam in the United States. It clearly isn’t illegal to condemn Christianity or Judaism; it happens all the time, and those who do this are celebrated by all the elite classes and glitterati. But condemning Islam, well! That’s another matter altogether. Islamic law (Sharia) forbids criticism of Islam on pain of death, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has been working for years at the United Nations to intimidate Western countries into adopting Sharia restrictions on speech in the guise of restrictions on “hate speech.”
CAIR’s lawsuit against SCC is of a piece with that initiative. The lawsuit asks that SCC and Damask “stop teaching the materials in question until they ‘do not have the primary effect of disapproving of Islam.’”
That’s right: “disapproving of Islam” will get you hauled into court these days, even if your disapproval is based on the facts, as Damask’s was. All this trouble began when a Muslim student took exception to these three quiz questions:
- Who do terrorists strive to emulate? A. Mohammed
- Where is terrorism encouraged in Islamic doctrine and law? A. The Medina verses [i.e., the portion of the Qur’an traditionally understood as having been revealed later in Muhammad’s prophetic career]
- Terrorism is _______ in Islam. A. justified within the context of jihad.
Damask explained: “All quiz questions on each of my quizzes, including the ones in question here, are carefully sourced to the reading material. On this quiz, questions were sourced to the Qur’an, the hadiths, and the sira (biography) of Mohammed, and other reputable source material.” And indeed, the three questions reflect basic facts that are readily established by reference to Islamic texts and teachings and numerous statements of jihad terrorists themselves.
But true to form, CAIR identifies these truths as “hate.” David Chami, an attorney for CAIR, said the lawsuit was designed to stop prevent Damask from “continuing to poison the minds of students. We have enough hate in this country. We have enough divide. We don’t need our professors inflaming those seeds of hatred in students.” About CAIR’s ties to Hamas, which is really in the business of inflaming seeds of hatred, Chami was silent.
Chami was also silent about the fact that the entire lawsuit is based on false pretenses. The suit contends that the Muslim student who complained, Mohamed Sabra, “was forced to make a decision; either disavow his religion or be punished by getting the answers wrong on the quiz.” But this is false on its face, as “Damask attempted to explain that the goal of the quiz was to discuss the motivation of terrorists, not whether something is right or wrong under Islamic doctrine.” And indeed, the motivations of jihad terrorists, and their views of Islamic doctrine, are what they are no matter what Mohamed Sabra thinks of them. But apparently he and CAIR would prefer you didn’t know that.
CAIR also objected to Damask’s use of material by counterterror analyst Walid Phares, calling him “a known Islamophobe who openly promotes anti-Muslim ideologies.” They use their prior defamation as evidence that he is not to be taken as a reliable authority now. This is a very common tactic, little noted and never resisted by the targets.
And here again, Lorraine Longhi of the Arizona Republic doesn’t think it is worth noting that CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas terror funding case — so named by the Justice Department. CAIR officials have repeatedly refused to denounce Hamas and Hizballah as terrorist groups. Several former CAIR officials have been convicted of various crimes related to jihad terror. CAIR’s cofounder and longtime Board chairman (Omar Ahmad), as well as its chief spokesman (Ibrahim “Honest Ibe” Hooper), have made Islamic supremacist statements about how Islamic law should be imposed in the U.S. (Ahmad denies this, but the original reporter stands by her story). CAIR chapters frequently distribute pamphlets telling Muslims not to cooperate with law enforcement. CAIR has opposed virtually every anti-terror measure that has been proposed or implemented and has been declared a terror organization by the United Arab Emirates. CAIR’s Hussam Ayloush in 2017 called for the overthrow of the U.S. government. CAIR’s national outreach manager is an open supporter of Hamas.
Why the silence on all that, Ms. Longhi?
Meanwhile, another attorney for CAIR, Raees Mohamed, scolded Damask: “Don’t you think you should have disclosed that to your students or put a disclaimer? What we see is an utter lack of true academic discussion.”
The irony, it burns. Here is Hamas-linked CAIR confronted with some actual academic discussion amid the entire academic establishment dancing in lockstep to its tune, and it is determined to stamp out even this tiny expression of dissent. It’s just another effort in the Left’s overall attempts to destroy the freedom of speech, which is why it is so important for Damask and SCC to prevail. But given the proliferation of Leftist judges today, their victory is by no means assured.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 19 books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is The Palestinian Delusion: The Catastrophic History of the Middle East Peace Process. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here