Skip to comments.Berkeley students must tweet on Islamophobia
Posted on 02/05/2014 2:51:04 AM PST by rickmichaels
In 2002, when Prof. Daniel Pipes launched his Campus Watch initiative to monitor the mixing of politics with scholarship on American universities with regard to the Mideast, he was condemned as engaging in McCarthyesque intimidation.
His initiative was derided as a war on academic freedom. One Islamist group labelled Pipes the grandfather of Islamophobes.
However, 12 years after Pipes first raised the flag of Islamist penetration of U.S. universities, it appears the scholar of Islam, with a dozen books to his credit, was right to be concerned.
Two weeks ago, I received a panicked message from a student enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley.
He wrote: Ive been told by one of my professors I will be required, as part of my grade, to start a Twitter account and tweet weekly on Islamophobia. I cant help but feel this is unethical. This is his agenda not mine.
The professor conducting this exercise was Hatem Bazian as part of a course titled, Asian American Studies 132AC: Islamophobia.
When I asked him to elaborate on his concerns the student wrote: There are 100 students in the class, all of us forced to create individual Twitter accounts. Im not wholly clear on what our final project is yet (I find it very interesting that he excludes both the Twitter account requirement AND the final project from his official syllabus), but we have to meet with a group in San Francisco, and our class will be surveying people of color on the impact of some ads put out by (anti-Sharia blogger) Pamela Gellar. Now Im no Pamela Gellar fan, I think shes nuts, but I feel ... between the Twitter stuff and the final project hes basically using us as unpaid labor to work on his agenda.
I wrote to Prof. Bazian, who co-founded Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at Berkeley, asking why he was using his students to pursue what appeared to me to be a political exercise meant to propagate a specific message to the Twitterverse.
Bazian replied, without referring to Islamophobia:
My course is designated as an American culture community engagement scholarship class Students are asked to send at least one posting per week on something related to the course content, be it from the actual reading or anything they read or came across.
When I asked him why all the tweets by his students so far are about Islamophobia, he replied:
The class is titled De-Constructing Islamophobia and the History of Otherness (Students) are asked to post based on examining Islamophobia through looking at earlier historical examples.
The fact remains Prof. Bazian appears to be using his position of authority to make 100 students mostly non-Muslims tweet about Muslim victimhood in America, irrespective of how its defined or whether it exists.
No student I have seen on Twitter has yet posted a tweet saying Islamophobia is a myth, nor has any student challenged the validity of the term.
Here is a sampling of tweets by Prof. Bazians students:
One tweeted: How difficult it is to be a Muslim woman in America; Another wrote about Islamophobia in Canada; while a third tweeted, One perspective of Islam is to view it as inferior to the West. Where does this notion of cultural superiority come from?
Prof. Bazians students were in junior school in 2002 when Campus Watch raised the issue of the mixing of politics with scholarship. Today, they would appear to be examples of that exercise.
> One perspective of Islam is to view it as inferior to the
> West. Where does this notion of cultural superiority come
Probably comes from the kinds of things reported at the following site.
The pig’s website:
Said site, and others like it, led directly to my tag line.
This would be no problem for me.
I would not do it.
Excellent comment by someone at the original site of this article:
“Antelope who are on alert when sensing lions nearby are hardly displaying phobic behavior.”
If you’re not “Islamophobic”, you’re not paying attention.
Well, Islam is a war plan, and began as such.
And the “student” wrote quite eloquently.
The kid signed up for a class called “Islamaphobia.” He shouldn’t exactly be surprised that he’s expected to write about Islamaphobia.
If he disagrees with the Prof’s positions, then that is what he should write. That’s how I got a couple of my best grades. My Profs loved it ‘cause it showed I was paying attention...unlike most of the folks in the class.
Just do two things....first make sure that you can restate the Prof’s point of view in a respectful way, this shows that you understand his position. Then, make sure you can make a well reasoned argument for an alternative point of view.
If he does this, I suspect he will get a good grade.
This is Berkeley, not some podunk community college.
One more point, though...I would never, ever have taken any class that had either “De-Constructing” or “Otherness” in its title.
IT COMES FROM THIS!....
1400 years 250 MILLION innocents murdered by the prophet" followers!!!
Drop the class.
Compare and contrast is a good approach to dilemmas like this. For example, compare and contrast Islamophobia is the U.S. to the Arab world's hostility to Jews, Christians, Hindus, and others. That is a discussion that could be usefully explored, in a respectful and open-minded way.
There’s a difference between delivering a paper nobody out of a TA will read and posting on a extremely public forum. If the kid wants to criticize Islam on a paper the worst that can happen is a bad grade, if he doesn’t agree with the official line. If he makes similar criticism on twitter, he could get in a bad position.
If that happens, he’ll get all the knowledge on “islamophobia” he’ll ever need.
On further thought, this is at Berkeley, and the students may perhaps be presumed to be relatively bright, and capable of creative thinking. How about comparing Islamophobia to the notorious “Klanophobia” of black Americans in the Jim Crow era South.
There are ways to open Twitter accounts without really identifying yourself.
And if he keeps his comments reasonable and thoughtful, then he shouldn’t have any problems. If he starts screaming for people to nuke Mecca, then he may have some trouble ;-)
Students & parents are going into debt for this.
If this is a non-required class I have little sympathy.
I could, you could. One of 100 students on a class in Berkeley, with an open account made in purpose for this effect, I’m sure he’s not taking his privacy for granted.
The problem is not “reasonable and thoughtful”. The problem is, he can’t speak openly. There will be no criticism; no “islamophobia is a myth” tweets. If they were, newspapers would notice (They already did! That’s why we’re talking now here!), shady people would notice, is he taking the risk?
That happening would be a good thing, mind you. It would be a real impressive class. But how many classes are there about “social repercussions of drawing Mohammed, theory and practice”?
The prof’s name is hatem?
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