The true nature of jihad has been clouded in recent decades by academic apologists and Islamists who seek to deny the classical, historic meaning of the term: holy war by Muslims against non-Muslims. A new generation of Middle East studies professors is, unfortunately, continuing this tradition of misleading the public. Among them is Darryl Li, who teaches anthropology and law at the University of Chicago. MEF's Stacey McKenna reports today at the Iconoclast of the New English Review on a lecture Li delivered last month at the University of Pennsylvania:
Last month, in one of the last public lectures before universities shut down in-person gatherings in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Darryl Li, an assistant professor of anthropology and lecturer in law at the University of Chicago, ventured to Philadelphia to address an audience of about twenty-five graduate students and professors at the University of Pennsylvania's Middle East Center (MEC).
The topic was his new book, The Universal Enemy: Jihad, Empire, and the Challenge of Solidarity, which deals with the Balkans crisis of the early 1990s. Li was introduced by MEC's interim director, John Ghazvinian, who made a point of noting that the Center is a federally funded National Resource Center under Title VI of the Higher Education Act. Ghazvinian said that, in practice, that meant attendees were requested to fill out evaluation forms to be reported back to the government. Given the ongoing concerns expressed by several members of Congress about the misuse of Title VI federal funds by Middle East studies centers, Ghazvinian's request might have been a savvy strategy to demonstrate Penn's commitment to transparency and apolitical scholarship. If so, he only partially succeeded.
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