In the wake of the al-Qaeda attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11, 2012, the seizure of the American embassy in Cairo, Egypt, and the ensuing anti-American protests and riots throughout the Middle East—the latter ostensibly over an anti-Islam YouTube film trailer that originated in the U.S. months earlier—what do Middle East scholars have to say about the turmoil in the region?
As self-styled supporters of "academic freedom," are they rushing to defend First Amendment rights instead of kowtowing to Muslim religious sensibilities? Are they denouncing the prospect of self-censorship rather than pushing YouTube to pull the "offending" video by claiming that it constitutes "hate speech?" Are they standing up for religious freedom instead of encouraging Americans to adhere to Sharia law-driven prohibitions on blasphemy? Are they putting aside their anti-Western biases and laying blame where it belongs instead of on America and Israel?
If the following quotes from Middle East studies academics are any indication, the answer to all those questions would be a resounding No!
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