Would any journalist portray a BP board member, even one who also holds an academic job, as a dispassionate observer of oil and reprint his industry-aligned remarks without noting his corporate affiliation? Not likely. So why should it be acceptable for reporters to quote an Islamic studies professor regarding Islam in America, but fail to mention his roles in Islamist organizations — especially when he parrots their talking points under the guise of scholarship?
Ihsan Bagby is an associate professor of Islamic studies at the University of Kentucky. He also sits on the board of CAIR, serves as a board member at large for ISNA, and is the general secretary of MANA — terror-stained Islamist groups, one and all. A Muslim convert who once asserted that "there is no way we can be fully committed to the institutions and ideologies of this country," he frequently appears in articles voicing views typical of CAIR, ISNA, and MANA. However, more often than not, reporters identify him by his academic title only, thus giving an Islamist perspective the air of objectivity and keeping readers in the dark about his unsavory ties.
A few examples from August show Bagby, labeled exclusively as a professor, pushing standard Islamist themes of U.S. Muslims under assault and undercounted (emphasis added below):
New York Times: "'What's different is the heat, the volume, the level of hostility,' said Ihsan Bagby, associate professor of Islamic studies at the University of Kentucky. 'It's one thing to oppose a mosque because traffic might increase, but it's different when you say these mosques are going to be nurturing terrorist bombers, that Islam is invading, that civilization is being undermined by Muslims.'"
McClatchy: "Ihsan Bagby, an associate professor of Islamic studies at the University of Kentucky, said conservative Christians long have been a source of anti-Islamic rhetoric, but more secular voices are now in the mix. … Bagby said that Americans' long-held suspicions of Muslims are 'made more virulent by these groups.'"
Wall Street Journal: "Several surveys have arrived at figures of 2.4 million [U.S. Muslims] or lower. But Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, says those surveys have 'real weaknesses,' and cites an estimate of seven million. He referred further questions to Ihsan Bagby, associate professor of Islamic studies at the University of Kentucky." (By actually noting Hooper's CAIR work, the writer reinforces the impression that Bagby is separate from CAIR. The article then presents Bagby's numbers, criticized elsewhere as bogus.)
Media malpractice never ends. Earlier this year, IW caught the Philadelphia Inquirer ignoring the radical history of Siraj Wahhaj. A more recent and subtle example from Reuters sees Ayman Hammous, leader of the Staten Island branch of the Muslim American Society, described merely as a "parent" and "physical therapist" petitioning for Muslim holidays in schools.
Readers, keep an eye out for the press whitewashing Islamists — and make yourselves heard.