The United Muslims Association of Florida, Tampa Bay Area Chapter is a group that openly and closely aligns itself with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and other Islamist organizations. Not long ago, it posted with pleasure on its website news that the University of South Florida (known in the bad old days of Sami Al-Arian's tenure as "Jihad U.") will include two courses on Islam in the Spring 2004 semester. (They are "Islam in World History," taught by William Cummings, and "Islam in America," taught by K. O'Connor). So far so good. But then UMA follows the news with this line:
In order to make sure that these professors, of course all in good faith, insha'Allah, [if God wills] portray Islam correctly, having some Muslim students in the classroom would be beneficial, even though these courses do not fill general requirements.
There you have it, in black in white: Islam at the university must be taught in a pious, Sunday-school manner. Implicit in this demand (note the "insha'Allah") is that such courses serve da`wa purposes, namely that they attract converts to Islam.
To make sure this is the case, an Islamist organization recruits Islamist students to make their presence felt. Presumably, should the instructor say something they disapprove of, the students will complain loudly and their grievances will be dealt with as legitimate, to the point that the careers of professors Cummings and O'Connor could well be affected. They will presumably feel pressure to present Islam and Muslims uncritically.
This process of apologetics is already well underway at university-level Middle East studies. I have documented one key symptom, the unwillingness of Middle East specialists to acknowledge the meaning of jihad. More broadly, my colleague Jonathan Calt Harris has shown how scholars avoid the whole topic of militant Islam.
On the high-school level, a prominent textbook and a widely-used curriculum unit, both for seventh-graders, overtly recruit for Islam in public schools. One even finds da`wa of this sort in publicly-supported television documentaries.
To which I say, Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to incipient dhimmitude, a state in which (among other features) non-Muslims dare not say anything critical about Islam and Muslims.
Back to the classroom: while students certainly have the right to attend the classes of their choice, in the spirit of staving off dhimmitude, I offer the services of Campus Watch to professors who find themselves subjected to pressure by an Islamist organization.