Only in academe can a panel discussion on Islamic terrorism turn into an exercise in obfuscation and denial. Titled "Shooting Rampage in Paris: Free Speech, Anti-Semitism, Freedom of Religion, Islamophobia," the recent University of California, Berkeley panel—which promised to "start a dialog" on the Charlie Hebdo and kosher supermarket attacks in Paris—featured six professors from a variety of UC Berkeley departments. This mixture produced an array of contrasting views, yet neither of the two Middle East studies specialists involved—anthropology professor Saba Mahmood and Near Eastern studies lecturer Hatem Bazian—addressed the topic in a forthright manner, but deflected controversial issues and issued apologias for terrorism.
In the latest Campus Watch research, CW West Coast representative Cinnamon Stillwell and contributor Rima Greene report on the panel; their article appears today at Jihad Watch:
As befitting his role as director of UC Berkeley's Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project (IRDP), Hatem Bazian devoted the bulk of his talk not to Islamic terrorism, but to the mythical scourge of "Islamophobia." . . . Claiming that the "Broader Muslim community in Europe feels like it's under siege," Bazian lamented that, "Their inclusion and integration is predicated on their accepting to be insulted to be part of civil society," as if being held to the same standards as others constitutes inequity. He claimed to have documented a wave of "violence across the continent directed at Muslims," yet, artfully dodging the need for evidence, complained that because "they don't get reported . . . these cases do not get the attention required."