Which Pennsylvania institution do you think is doing the better job educating its students about Islam, West Chester University or the Municipal Police Officer Education & Training Commission?
The answer lies in a comparison between a conference West Chester University hosted recently called "Islam In America: Understanding Intercultural Differences" and a course the Commission is mandating for its law enforcement personnel, "Radical Islam: A Law Enforcement Primer."
The panelists chosen for the West Chester University program appear to have been plucked from a who's who of apologists for Islam.
There was Iftekhar Hussain, chairman of the Council on America Islamic Relations (CAIR) for Pennsylvania. The U.S. Department of Justice, labeled CAIR as part of a Hamas-affiliated conspiracy in the United States. "Since its founding by Muslim Brotherhood leaders," says Justice, "CAIR has conspired with other affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood to support terrorists."At the conference, Mr. Hussain portrayed CAIR and other like-minded groups such as the Muslim Public Affairs Council, the Muslim American Freedom Foundation, Islamic Society of North America and Muslim Students Association as merely civil-rights or benign social organizations. When he was asked whether the terrorist-front group, the Holy Land Foundation, helped finance CAIR, Mr. Hussain dismissed the allegation as the amount was only $5,000. When he made the unsubstantiated claim that hate crimes against Muslims were increasing, but then told that the FBI found hate crimes against Muslims were actually decreasing, he called the FBI findings "lies."
Then there was Imam Hassan Qazwini. In the 1980s, just after the onset of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Qazwini immigrated to Iran with his family. In 1998, he founded the Young Muslim Association, aimed at educating Muslim American youth. He also heads a mosque that hosted avowed anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan. When Minister Farrakhan called Jewish Americans "forces of evil" with a "Satanic mentality," Imam Qazwini and his congregants gave Minister Farrakhan a standing ovation. At the WCU conference, he described "jihad" as "the inner struggle one has to go through to be a better person … not to gossip, not to steal, not to lie." He made no mention that radical Muslims understand "jihad" to mean Islamic revolution, and the motivating force behind Muslim terrorism. He claimed: "Over 99 percent of Muslims are peace-loving and law-abiding" when most experts say 10 percent are radical Islamists. At 120 million people, this is equal to about one-third of the population of the United States. Imam Qazwini is also reportedly a close associate of Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, spiritual leader of the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah, which has murdered scores of Americans.
But if these special guests of West Chester University, ( and its numerous co-sponsoring university groups) didn't show up, WCU could have relied on their in-house propagandists.
Dr. Lawrence Davidson, professor of history, teaches courses in modern Middle Eastern history and is the author of America's Palestine: Official and Popular Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood. In a January 2009 article in Counterpunch, Dr. Davidson defends the terrorist group Hamas, (a group that openly calls for the murder of Jews), and makes the patently false and hysterical claim that Israel (not Hamas) "has slowly turned the Gaza territory into a besieged ghetto "and accuses Israel of "committing crimes against humanity" without any evidence to support his scurrilous accusation. He offers not a word about Hamas stealing U.N. aid meant for the people of Gaza.
In the same article, Dr. Davidson puts forward other delusional ranting that causes not a stir among university officials, probably because it fits neatly into their agenda of teaching falsehoods about Israel. Dr. Davidson writes that the United Nations Security Council, which includes Libya, China and Russia "follow[s] the lead of their basically pro-Zionist governments," and that "resistance groups of Gaza had only their home made missiles to fight back offensively." The fact that the U.N. confirmed Gazans fired at Israeli civilians using Iranian supplied and Chinese-made Grad and Katyusha rockets (smuggled through Egypt) is immaterial. He, like the debunked Jimmy Carter, accuses Israel of being an apartheid society, despite the fact that 10 Arab Israelis serve in the Knesset, one Arab Israeli serves on its Supreme Court and several other Arab Israelis serve as diplomats and cabinet ministers. Not to mention Israeli Arabs and other minorities enjoy equal rights and have a higher standard of living than Arabs in other Middle Eastern lands.
At the conference, he asked and answered his own question: "Why were we attacked on 9/11? According to Bush, because Muslims hate our values." Of course, President Bush differentiated between the Muslim faith and radical Islam. But Dr. Davidson kept Mr. Bush's distinction a secret. Dr. Davidson openly admitted coercing his students to attend this one sided conference, saying "some of the students have been dragooned here — it's for your own good." Some faculty members dangled the carrot of extra credit in front of their students, making it difficult to choose not to attend.
Then there is Dr. William Leslie Hewitt, professor of history and graduate coordinator, who doesn't attempt to hide his contempt for America. At the conference he exclaimed: "There is "self-delusion" among Americans. We think of ourselves as a peaceful people" but do not use the term "genocide" to describe what Americans have done to, say, native Americans … .Our historical approach is a violent one … . When the U.S. invades a country, we call it 'offering democracy." No one offered an opposing view.
And let's not forget Dr. Helen Schroefper, assistant professor in the department of philosophy/religious studies who developed courses on Women and Religion, Religion in America, and Islam. What better candidate to whitewash Islam's violent tendencies toward women. She cited Quran Sura 4:34 which instructs men to "beat them [women] lightly," and spun it as a positive thing, saying "this is meant to limit violence against women, not encourage it, … ." But the fact is "The Quran says the Husband should first verbally admonish her, next ground her to the bedroom like a child, and finally when all else fails, to beat her." See: http://www.bible.ca/islam/
Perhaps out of professional courtesy, Dr. Davidson invited retired Penn State professor of Middle Eastern history Dr. Arthur Goldschmidt. Dr. Goldschmidt — who not surprisingly collaborated with Dr. Davidson on a book — made outlandish statements such as "militant Muslims only want people to respect them" ignoring the fact that militant Muslims pose a critical threat to Western society. He said: "I have a fairly positive attitude about the Muslim Brotherhood," a view shared by Osama Bin Laden deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri and Sayyid Qutb, the man who inspired the formation of al-Qaida. He claimed that "Muslims are more likely to suffer from war and violence than to initiate them" when in fact there are currently 17 conflicts or wars in the world begun by Muslims. See http://en.wikipedia.org
But the most insulting, self-servicing and laughable invective from Dr. Goldschmidt was in telling the students to beware of the works by Daniel Pipes and Robert Spencer as these men are not scholars. It's understandable that Dr. Goldschmidt would steer his students away from Mr. Pipes and Mr. Spencer, as people like Dr. Goldschmidt are on their radar screen. Daniel Pipes' CampusWatch monitors distorted teachings about Islam on college campuses and Robert Spencer's latest book, Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam is Subverting America Without Guns or Bombs, describes institutions of higher learning like West Chester University, and professors like Dr. Goldschmidt and Dr. Davidson perfectly: "American universities have become propaganda centers not only for the anti-American Left, but for stealth Jihadists and their allies — the apologists who are dedicated to lulling Americans into believing there is no jihadist threat."
When the Zionist Organization of America suggested to WCU interim President Dr. Linda L. Lamwers that balance be added to the program, and offered to make recommendations prior to the opening of this conference, she shot us down, despite the fact that their announcement reads: "Don't Be Surprised If We Add Special Guests!" She justified her response to us in a letter with this gem:
"I do want to point out that West Chester University has proudly established a Holocaust and Genocide Education Center which has offered of a number of courses."
Either its Holocaust Center has failed to teach, or Dr. Lamwers has failed to learn that when Nazism first came on the scene it too was not taken seriously. But by the time its tyranny was finally understood, it was too late.
A more honest approach to the study of Islam occurs about 50 miles northwest of West Chester where the Municipal Police Officers Education & Training Commission offers a course to its law enforcement personnel to "illuminate the foundations of radical ideology known as Jihadism and make clear that "radical Islam poses an ominous and ever present threat to the West in general and to the United States and its allies in particular." The course was developed to "better understand the mindset, motivations and actions" of the various radical Islamic groups.
It is interesting to point out that while both the university and the Commission claim to present "an understanding" of Islam, it is the Commission's training course that discusses the verses in the Quran that call for the killing of non-believers, the abrogation of Jewish and Christian scriptures, and that Islam means "submission to the will of Allah." While the training course reiterates that most Muslims observe only the moderate teachings of Islam, the university doesn't even acknowledge the threat of radical Islam.
Contributors to the Commission's training course include Dr. Emir Caner, the dean of Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary and a former Muslim; Dr. Mark Gabriel, who has a doctorate in Islamic history and culture and is a former Muslim; Dr. Lawrence Goodson, a professor of Middle East Studies in the Department of National Security and Strategy at the U.S. Army War College; and Dr. Walid Phares, a Senior Fellow and Director of the Future Terrorism Project at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, born and raised in Lebanon.
Unlike West Chester University which promoted the white washing of the meaning of "Jihad," the Commission's training manual quotes Dr. Phares: "Jihad is not benign, and the West's denial of that fact is terribly ironic. The United States is paving the way for its own defeat by blurring its vision, confusing its mind and moderating its reactions to the early danger signs."
Where WCU allows Dr. Goldschmidt to give short shrift to the dangers of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Commission's training course clearly warns that the "Muslim Brotherhood is the operational organization that controls the Islamist movement and its ideology helped spawn various radical groups including Hamas." The course includes the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood Hasan Al Banna's article, "The Way of Jihad" which includes the following passage: "Think not of those who are killed in the Way of Allah as dead … whosoever fights in the Cause of Allah and is killed is victorious."
The irony here is that one Commonwealth of Pennsylvania institution is training its police to protect people from an evil that another Commonwealth of Pennsylvania institution denies even exists. Go figure.
Leonard Getz is national vice president of the Zionist Organization of America; Steve Feldman is the executive director of the Greater Philadelphia District of ZOA.