Hatem Bazian, director of the Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project at Berkeley's Center for Race and Gender, offered a startling revelation recently to Religion News Service (RNS): Muslims at American colleges and universities are suffering through a horror show of hatred, bigotry, and discrimination. "The Muslim is presumed guilty" on American campuses, Bazian declared, "and as such, (they) experience verbal harassment, bullying, even physical attacks. But the assumption is that the Muslim is the instigator." Considering the large number of fake "Islamophobic" hate crimes, this claim is dubious at best, but RNS runs with it at face value. There are powerful people in the United States today who very much want you believe this sort of thing.
Bazian is not alone. The California chapter of the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) claims that "nearly 40% of the Muslim students experience harassment or discrimination, based on their religious identity, from peers, campus administrators and other personnel." As evidence, RNS offers a recent graduate of San Diego State University, Amna Omar, who claims she was told that she was "oppressed" during a classroom discussion about her jilbab, a full-body covering. The student who told her she was "oppressed" also told her to "go back home," and neither the professor nor any other students rushed to defend her.
This is a far cry from Bazian's nightmare scenario of verbal harassment and physical attacks. In fact, it hardly amounts to anything at all. There are rude classroom exchanges every day, and for the most part, they aren't trumpeted as evidence of a deep and systemic racism or hatred. But there is clearly an agenda at play here, as there is virtually everywhere these days. "Experiences like Omar's," RNS reports solemnly, "are compounded by constant slights such as the lack of spaces to pray, a deficit of chaplains as well as meal and exam schedules that don't accommodate Muslims' religious needs."
Those things may be true, but they are less evidence of a deep bias against Muslims than they are an indication of the fact that the Muslim presence in the United States is relatively recent, such that colleges and universities are relatively new targets of Islamic advocacy groups' demands for accommodation. However, "some students and their advocates are now pushing for recognition that anti-Muslim bias is as much a problem as discrimination against other ethnic or racial groups and needs to be addressed in similar ways."
Islam is neither a racial nor an ethnic group, but whatever, Muslim students are supposedly having a very hard time. Shafiqa Ahmadi, co-director of the Center for Education, Identity and Social Justice at the University of Southern California's Rossier School of Education, claimed that "Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bias on campus has had a negative effect on Muslim students' quality of engagement with faculty and their peers inside and outside of the classroom. Additionally, they face anti-Muslim sentiments and Islamophobic acts, which impact their sense of belonging in their academic programs as well as their overall campus experience, especially when Islamophobic incidents are not taken seriously and addressed by faculty and administrators."
But Hatem "Hate 'em" Bazian is part of the faculty at UC-Berkeley (he is also the head of a group with multiple ties to the jihad terror group Hamas). As director of the Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project at Berkeley's Center for Race and Gender, he is a professional whiner in the business of Muslim victimhood, dedicated to bringing as much attention as possible to incidents, real or imagined, in which Muslims are victimized.
This is pure, unadulterated hogwash. On American campuses today, Muslims are a protected victim class, given special accommodation and recognition in view of the alleged "Islamophobia" of the larger society. I've had personal experience with this when speaking at numerous colleges and universities. At virtually every campus where I've ever spoken, I've been received as if I were Jack the Ripper, smeared in the campus media before the appearance and then shouted down during it. These things happened because I am widely defamed as an "Islamophobe," and these students had been programmed to think that "Islamophobia" is a massive problem. Meanwhile, if a freed Gitmo terrorist appeared at any of those campuses and started screaming, "Allahu akbar! Death to America!," he would be hailed as a hero.
That is the effort of the work of Bazian and his colleagues. But Bazian and his allies have to keep the victimhood narrative going, no matter how preposterous it is, or else the gravy train runs out.