Setting The Record Straight

Campus Watch corrects false allegations made against it.

Response to:

Academe's Obligation to Counter Anti-Muslim Sentiment
by Akbar Ahmed and Lawrence Rosen
The Chronicle of Higher Education
April 3, 2011

False allegations of suppressing free speech
Misc. Corrections

Campus Watch Responds:

In a Chronicle of Higher Education essay filled with errors and half-truths, Akbar Ahmed, Pakistan's former ambassador to the U.K. who now teaches Islamic studies at American University, and Lawrence Rosen, an anthropologist at Princeton and adjunct at Columbia Law, attempt to paint Campus Watch as an enemy of Islam:

Fear of Muslims has been exacerbated by professors in the booming field of terrorism and security studies, who not infrequently characterize Islam as an inherently violent religion. Those who speak favorably of Islam come under fire from organizations like Campus Watch, which monitors what professors are saying and applies its substantial resources to challenging the reputations of those with whom it disagrees. This has created an ugly atmosphere on some campuses, as professors teaching courses on Islam may have to worry about how their remarks might be reported and how that may affect their careers.

Campus Watch--which monitors Middle East studies but has little to do with the fields of terrorism and security studies--has never in its history critiqued anyone who speaks "favorably of Islam." To do so, we would have to attack CW's founder, Daniel Pipes, who has for years insisted that, "militant Islam is the problem, moderate Islam is the solution."

Moreover, we do not challenge the reputations of professors, per se; we challenge their scholarship and public lectures when they are politicized, tendentious, and intolerant of opposing views.

In their claim that critiquing the scholarship and teaching of professors can create an "ugly atmosphere" on campus, the authors indulge in a favorite pastime of the contemporary professoriate: claiming the mantel of victimhood when outside groups or individuals dare to question their work. As we've noted so often in the past, among the professions, only the denizens of academe claim exemption from criticism. Others of seemingly stouter constitution expect their work to be held to a high standard: lawyers, medical doctors, businessmen, and even politicians rarely swoon and faint in the face of criticism.

Ahmed and Rosen make their claims under the banner of tolerance--of fighting anti-Muslim sentiment. Their charges might be more convincing if the authors refused to engage in precisely the kind of small-minded bigotry they decry.

(Posted by Winfield Myers)