In the Name of Fighting Islamophobia, a Minnesota College Fires a Professor for Blasphemy

Dec. 29 2022

Teaching an art-history survey course this fall, a professor at Hamline University—a small liberal-arts college in St. Paul, Minnesota—dedicated a class session to Islamic art. That day, the professor showed students two medieval paintings of Mohammad, both by Muslim artists, and discussed the various Muslim attitudes toward such depictions. The president of the campus Muslim Students Association soon complained of Islamophobia, and Hamline administrators then announced that the instructor had been dismissed. Jonathan Zimmerman writes:

One Hamline faculty member—just one—publicly defended the professor, writing an essay for the [student newspaper] that pleaded for a historically informed discussion of the paintings. Two days later, the paper removed the essay from its website. And the day after that, in a message to all university employees, Hamline’s President Fayneese S. Miller and Associate Vice-President of Inclusive Excellence David Everett declared that “respect for the observant Muslims in that classroom should have superseded academic freedom.”

How about non-observant Muslims, and everyone else in the class? They get no respect. Nor does academic freedom, which was established to protect faculty against precisely the kind of attacks that sank the Hamline professor.

In dismissing its professor, Hamline claimed to be striking a blow for “inclusive excellence,” to quote David Everett’s grimly Orwellian title. But it actually reinforced ugly stereotypes of Muslims as intolerant, small-minded, and provincial. And it excluded the views of anybody else—including many Muslims—who might see the world differently from the offended students. That’s not excellence; it’s cowardice.

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Read more at New York Daily News

More about: Academia, Art history, Freedom of Religion, Radical Islam

Condemning Terrorism in Jerusalem—and Efforts to Stop It

Jan. 30 2023

On Friday night, a Palestinian opened fire at a group of Israelis standing outside a Jerusalem synagogue, killing seven and wounding several others. The day before, the IDF had been drawn into a gunfight in the West Bank city of Jenin while trying to arrest members of a terrorist cell. Of the nine Palestinians killed in the raid, only one appears to have been a noncombatant. Lahav Harkov compares the responses to the two events, beginning with the more recent:

President Joe Biden called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to denounce the attack, offer his condolences, and express his commitment to Israel’s security. Other leaders released supportive statements as well. Governments across Europe condemned the attack. Turkey’s foreign ministry did the same, as did Israel’s Abraham Accords partners the UAE and Bahrain. Even Saudi Arabia released a statement against the killing of civilians in Jerusalem.

It feels wrong to criticize those statements. . . . But the condemnations should be full-throated, not spoken out of one side of the mouth while the other is wishy-washy about what it takes to stave off terrorism. These very same leaders and ministries were tsk-tsking at Israel for doing just that only a day before the attacks in Jerusalem.

The context didn’t seem to matter to some countries that are friendly to Israel. It didn’t matter that Israel was trying to stop jihadists from attacking civilians; it didn’t matter that IDF soldiers were attacked on the way.

It’s very easy for some to be sad when Jews are murdered. Yet, at the same time, so many of them are uncomfortable with Jews asserting themselves, protecting themselves, arming themselves against the bloodthirsty horde that would hand out bonbons to celebrate their deaths. It’s a reminder of how important it is that we do just that, and how essential the state of Israel is.

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Read more at Lahav’s Newsletter

More about: Jerusalem, Palestinian terror