I wrote Kevin Barrett an email asking him these questions. Here are his answers. I am sick of writing my responses to his ramblings (although I thought people would be interested in learning SPECIFICALLY what he says he's going to teach), so, for my response, I will just direct you to this blog, which said it best in a posting titled: UW and Barretinejad.
What specifically are you going to teach students about 9/11?
BARRETT: As one small part of the introduction to Islam course, I will expose them to the debates about the facts and meaning of 9/11 and "Islamic terrorism" in general, and try to encourage them to think critically and independently, challenge authority (including my own) and make up their own minds. One such debate is occurring in the academic community, both here and abroad, and there are several defensible positions, including:
• extremist attack by a very dangerous foe—this means war
• extremist attack by a wildly over-rated foe that got incredibly lucky—the 9/11 death toll was the equivalent of a month or two's traffic fatalities, and you're more likely to get hit by lightning than get killed by these terrorists
• "blowback" hypothesis—this is the natural result of American imperialism
• "inside job" or "complicity" hypothesis
Another is the implicit debate between the dominant American interpretation (9/11 was an attack on America by Muslim extremists) and the dominant Muslim interpretation (9/11 was an inside job designed to legitimize American wars of aggression). Students need to know what Muslims think about 9/11 and the "war on terror" even if they don't agree—ESPECIALLY if they don't agree.
The students will be reading a whole book and several articles, adding up to over 300 pages, supporting "extremist attack by a very dangerous foe—this means war." The "got lucky" and "blowback" hypotheses will be presented briefly, and students will be steered toward sources if they wish to learn more about these. The "complicity" hypothesis will be represented by the Nafeez Ahmed and Enver Masud essays, which add up to maybe 70 pages. Ahmed's scholarship is impeccable, and Masud represents the majority Muslim opinion. I will encourage students to think critically and come to their own conclusions, not parrot what they think my views are.
What is the reaction you have received locally and around the country?
Overwhelmingly positive. I've gotten an incredible outpouring of amazingly articulate letters of support. The small minority of negative emails are so inarticulate (full of mis-spelled words and mindless insults, and showing such complete ignorance of the factual debate about 9/11) that they hearten and amuse me.
What is your reaction to the provost's decision?
I am pleased but not surprised. Firing a university instructor for their personal political views expressed on a radio program would pretty much end academic freedom as it is currently understood. The University of Wisconsin, with its tradition of "fearless sifting and winnowing" and its motto "the truth will set you free," was not the best place for the enemies of academic freedom to pick a fight. I see this as one small step toward restoring the Constitutional liberties that were taken from us in secret during the months BEFORE 9/11 when the Patriot Act was being written, the illegal NSA wiretapping program was being ordered, the 9/11 and anthrax attacks were being planned, and the "whole new world after 9/11" was being designed.