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

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of Inclusive Excellence David Everett declared that “respect for the observant Muslims in that classroom should have superseded academic freedom.”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.

Read more at New York Daily News

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

While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy