Jennifer King posted an analysis in July 2005, "Know Islam," in which she argued that "Islam is in fact the real inspiration of the terrorist regime that threatens the world today." I don't agree with this point of view but do believe that in time of war there should be "a freewheeling discussion about the Koran, jihad, radical Islam, Islamist terrorism, and related topics."
Today, shortly after Harvard University announced a $20 million donation for Islamic studies from Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal of Saudi Arabia, King sent a copy of "Know Islam" to Doug Gavel, media relations manager at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government. Here is the full text of Gavel's response to her:
Subject: Re: ISLAM & TERRORISM
To: [Jennifer King]
Date: Sat, 17 Dec 2005 09:12:44 -0500
and bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla
Comments: (1) This is an odd form of media relations. (2) The level of discourse at Harvard seems to have degenerated since I long ago spent time there. (December 17, 2005)
Dec. 28, 2005 update: I had checked with Doug Gavel before going public with this story, making sure to hear his side of the story. His reply to me ("Hello, I would appreciate it if you removed me from your lists. thanks, Doug") puzzled me (he is on no list of mine) but as it did not contradict Jennifer King's account, I posted the above information. Gavel then heard from a number of my readers ("I have been beseiged by emails which I do not appreciate") and wrote to me to explain the situation:
the gibberish "blah blah" message was sent by me, but was only done as by mistake, as it was intended to be sent to a friend who had sent me a silly message. It was NOT intented as a response to Mr. King or to her article, which I have not had the opportunity to read. I hope you understand that I am not an academic nor a scholar, but an administrator, who certainly has no expertise in these issues being deliberated on your blog.