Tashfeen Malik (l) & Syed Farooq
Such has been the reaction to the December 2 mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, which authorities were slow to describe as a terrorist attack, despite early evidence that married shooters Syed Rizwan Farooq and Tashfeen Malik had radical sympathies, including with ISIS. This led to speculation that, not coincidentally, omitted the actual culprit.
University of Michigan history professor Juan Cole maintained that "white supremacists" are a greater threat than "al-Qaeda-style terrorism." He disregarded the significance of the terrorists' Middle Eastern names, alleging that they "may or may not be very pertinent to the incident," and condemned "politicians and pundits" for making "hay with the threat of 'terrorism.'" He attributed the perpetrators' motives to the likelihood of "someone going postal over his work situation" or "workplace violence linked to some sort of grievance."
When asked to reassess his initial reaction, Cole instead proffered a more ridiculous excuse:
Actually the evidence is that Farook was subjected to considerable workplace bullying. If this were something primarily beyond workplace rage, why not hit a target with security implications?
Steven Salaita, the would-be University of Illinois professor currently teaching at the American University in Beirut, denied that (American-born citizen) Farook's "foreign culture" had any bearing on his "terrible deed," instead blaming it on "political violence . . . endemic to the United States." He accused Americans of complicity in "the supposed deviance of Farooq's shooting" due to their "endless, adamant justification of U.S. bloodletting throughout the world" and, for good measure, of "hating Arabs and Muslims."
As'ad AbuKhalil, a political science professor at California State University, Stanislaus, took umbrage at reporters covering the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)'s post-attack press conference for asking about Farooq's religion:
[O]ne reporter asked one of the people on the stage: "was he religious?" Why does that matter? A terrorist is a terrorist regardless whether he/she is religious or atheist.
Just days after the attack, Hatem Bazian, fulfilling his mandate as director of the highly politicized Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project at the University of California, Berkeley, tweeted:
Islamophobia in America and Europe has reached a tipping point and civil society discourses are filled with racist venom toward Muslims.
Likewise, Muqtedar Khan, director of the University of Delaware's Islamic Studies Program, fretted about the allegedly "hostile" environment for Muslims in the U.S., blaming Republican presidential candidates for acknowledging that "this is war."
Columbia University's Hamid Dabashi, purporting to speak for the "countless innocent victims" of "ISIS thugs and their sympathizers in San Bernardino," launched into a diatribe against "the fear-mongering Islamophobes and relentless warmongering"; the "lowest common denominators of fear, hatred, and suspicion"; and, in case he omitted anything, "the wanton cruelty of imperialist warfare, [and] the colonial occupation and domination of other people's homeland."
Once again, Middle East studies professors have shown their true colors. San Bernardino, the largest Islamic terrorist attack in the U.S. since September 11, 2001, has betrayed the moral relativism, obfuscation, and anti-American prejudices of academe. These are not scholars pursuing the truth, but partisans seeking to conceal the undeniable: global jihad's rising body count.