When Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney announced last month that Walid Phares -- a Lebanese-American Christian, adjunct professor of jihadist global strategies at the National Defense University, and former Middle East studies professor at Florida Atlantic University -- would be a special adviser on the Middle East and North Africa, it elicited howls of fury from the usual suspects. Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) -- an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation Hamas funding case and the chief Islamist organ in the U.S. -- sent a letter to the Romney campaign stating CAIR's predictable objections, while publications such as the Daily Beast, Salon.com, and Mother Jones followed suit with error-filled hit pieces.
Phares's moral clarity on Islamism and jihadism do not sit well with those who would rather engage in apologetics and obstructionism. This explains why his fiercest opponents have included some of the worst from the field of Middle East studies.
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