Saturday, May 20, 2017

UC Berkeley Pits Liberalism Against ‘Islamophobia’

By Michael Lumish

{Sponsored by Campus Watch and also published at Jihad Watch and Jews Down Under. Best wishes to Robert Spencer who is recovering from a recent attempt on his life in Reykjavik.}

Fast on the heels of the University of California’s anti-free speech “Battle of Berkeley”—in which hundreds of black-clad, left-wing, “anti-fascists” attacked Trump supporters in the streets—around five hundred students and scholars attended the weekend conference “Islamophobia & The End of Liberalism?”

The concept of “Islamophobia” was created as a political device to demonize critics of Islamic supremacism. Accordingly, the conference poster featured a righteously concerned Statue of Liberty embracing a young Muslim woman in a hijab as if to protect her from xenophobic Trump supporters. The clear implication was that the Western liberal tradition requires open borders and that Muslims as people, rather than jihadis as ideologues, are threatened by fellow Americans.

The fundamental question posed at UC Berkeley was whether “Islamophobia” represents a betrayal of the tradition of Enlightenment liberalism or its imperial, racist fulfillment. This query hovered over the eighth annual conference organized by Hatem Bazian, director of the University’s Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project, who blasted what he called “Trumpism.” Surprisingly, the participants from universities around the world did not settle for a pat answer.

Adnan Husain of Queen’s University in Canada argued that the "liberal concept of multiculturalism" is undermined by contemporary forms of aggressive, white, Western "crusaderism."

In a talk entitled "Liberal Islamophobia,” the University of Denver’s Nader Hashemi asserted that Hillary Clinton is anti-Muslim because during the 2016 presidential campaign she claimed that moderate Muslims represent a bulwark against “violent extremism.” In doing so, she allegedly reduced the American Muslim community into little more than a foreign-policy tool of the U.S. government.

Raja Abdulhaq, a graduate student in international affairs at Brooklyn College, claimed that the goal of white Western liberals was to transform Muslims into "carbon copies" of themselves.

Meanwhile, Long Island University philosopher Shaireen Rasheed maintained that the so-called "Western gaze" reduces Islam to a thing in need of reform, according to the standards of white Western cultural hegemony.

Thus, liberal concerns over terrorism, Sharia law, or the European immigration crisis are reduced to attempts to control, formalize, and channel Western Muslim identities into alienating, indoctrinating, and inauthentic white liberal molds.

When one asks if terrorism and Islamic supremacism inspire Western anti-Muslim bigotry, the response is to accuse the questioner of “Islamophobia.” The problem, we are to believe, is not terrorism or the spread of Islamic supremacism into Europe. On the contrary, according to the general attitude of the conference, these are merely the natural responses of a people oppressed under the weight of voracious white, Western, racist, colonialist, imperialist aggression.

In other words, the real problem is not Osama Bin Laden, but George W. Bush and Donald Trump.

What is perhaps most disconcerting about the conference was the tendency to embrace anti-Semitic anti-Zionism while claiming to oppose ethnic prejudice. A perfect example of this was the use of anti-Semitic cartoonist Carlos Latuff to promote the event. Latuff specializes in demonizing Israeli Jews as violently inhumane creatures in much the same way the Nazis did with European Jews in the early to mid-twentieth-century. This is akin to promoting racist caricatures of African-Americans while professing to fight racism. It is inconceivable that Bazian and other conference organizers would use Latuff’s vile work unknowingly. Their actions reveal their intent to legitimize anti-Semitism by using it at a UC Berkeley event ostensibly dedicated to fighting racism.

Ultimately, UC Berkeley’s “Islamophobia” conference contradicted itself in at least two ways. Foremost was the morally reprehensible act of espousing anti-Semitism in order to combat anti-Muslim bigotry. The other was its insistence that the larger Muslim world, comprised of 1.6 billion people, about one-quarter of the world’s population, are fundamentally victims of aggressive Europeans imperial excess. Centuries of Muslim empire-building aside, playing the victim card simply allows Bazian and his colleagues to continue their aggressions against the West under the guise of moral purity.


  1. Muslims have NO moral authority to talk about the failings of Liberal enlightenment. The fact that they think they do given all we have seen and heard since 9/11 only reinforces their perceived and undeserved superiority.

    1. Enlightenment liberalism is primarily concerned with the liberties of the individual in balance with the promotion of the common-good.

      It's expressed in the preamble to the Constitution in the imperative to "...promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty..."

      Many of Middle East Studies crowd, however, see liberal theory as the ideological underpinning of western imperialism and as a means to commodify, and co-opt, people "of color" for purpose of concentrating power to the benefit of a racist, white power structure.

    2. Then I think it is safe to say that introspection is clearly not their thing.

      Q: Why are they here? It seems to me that the western liberal tradition is working out pretty well for them. After all, white men could fill any and all of their academic positions. Do we really need to pay these people to tell us to go fuck ourselves? What to they have that's better? Where is it and why aren't they there?

    3. Well, I don't want to paint with too broad a brush, but the general trend in "Islamophobia Studies" is definitely "decolonial."

      I didn't discuss it above, but the first speaker broke down trends in Islamophobia Studies into discrimination theory, post-colonial theory, and decolonial theory. Bazian and the conference was primarily influenced by this last one.

      The idea was that Islamophobia, like all forms of racism, is not merely concerned with social prejudice but with maintaining a white, colonial agenda. The point of post-colonial theory, therefore, is to view racism in a manner free from the hegemonic colonial mindset. Decolonial theory, the current trend, takes the next step and considers the dehumanization of people "of color" from a perspective that stresses the need to decolonize marginalized peoples.

      Israel, needless to say, is considered a white "settler-colonial" transplant.

    4. Great. When will Islam start decolonizing its conquests and settler-colonial outposts? Perhaps they could start with "Palestine."
      When are these guys and dolls going to stop lying?

      Yes, Mike, there is western cultural hegemony in the West. We insist. We like our ideas, and it's our house. It might sound like an emotional reaction, but screw these Bozos. They don't need a bunch of grievance theories. They need to get off their candy asses and start asking why their culture has failed and ours has succeeded. And the answer isn't racism.
      Israel belongs to the Jews, white, brown, green, or orange. It doesn't get awarded to Islam because someone has a "people o'color" theory. It's all a bunch of warmed-over and dressed-up racist shit they're peddling.

      There are two words for the Jewish homeland in current usage, i.e., Israel and Palestine.
      The origin of the use of the term "Israel" has everything to do with Jews and nothing to do with Arabs or Islam.
      The origin of the term "Palestine" for this region still has quite a lot to do with the Jews, and still absolutely nothing to do with Arabs or Islam.

      Carlos Latuff has everything to do with antisemitic Jew hatred and zero to do with "social justice."

      There. I said it.

    5. "the innocent, lotus-eating people of the Middle East."


  2. The use of Carlos Latuff, the antisemitic cartoonist, is akin to the racist depiction of Jews all over the Muslim "world." It doesn't need to be compared to anything about blacks in the West, because Muslim culture has no shortage of flaming racism toward Jews and blacks, whites, non-Muslims.

    1. Here's a word that a few decades ago was ubiquitous. Perverse, as in, their ideas are perverse.

    2. One of the great ironies, of course, is that Muhammad held Africans in slavery. Groups like the NOI or BLM either do not know or simply do not care. The former indicates ignorance and the latter, hypocrisy.

  3. If my child were graduating from Notre Dame or anywhere and they dragged me to that ceremony and they decided to stand up and storm out in a public huff leaving me there to look like an idiot watching other people's kids graduate, I'd get up and leave too. And go home. And if they told me ahead of time what they were planning, I'd decline the invite and wish them well. Sorry but I have better things to do and won't spend a few thousand dollars and several days of my time to glorify your silly tantrum.

    1. Apparently their parents never put limits on their behavior as part of the child rearing process. The result is young adults of bad character.


    great satire:

    Being a highly educated, very well-informed, open-minded millennial I am an expert in the horrors of the Israeli occupation of very Arab, non-Jewish places like Hebron, Bethlehem, Shiloh and Bet-El. So when I heard that the Center for Jewish Nonviolence was seeking volunteers to help the downtrodden, extremely indigenous, non-colonial, non-violent Palestinians shake off the brutal occupation, I knew I had to sign up. My boss at the organic seaweed reclamation project was very supportive as was my spirit guide at Lotus Yoga Studio..... I engaged in a 1/2 hour hunger strike in solidarity with jailed Palestinian terrorists political prisoners. Soon after, I purchased a culturally appropriated Falafel and then our enlightened cohort were transported to Hebron, where about 500 Jews dare live (totally ruining the neighborhood).

  5. "The joke being told on Arab social media: that First Lady of the US entered the royal palace in Saudi Arabia and saw 155 women. She asked them who they were? They answered: we are the First Lady of Saudi Arabia."