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Pipes' Bashing at Uni of Toronto

Reader comment on item: Islamists, Get Out

Submitted by Patrick McGee (Canada), Nov 4, 2005 at 16:35

I've just attended the first panel at "Notes from the Field: Prospects and Challenges for Canadian Research in the Middle East and Islamic Studies post 9/11" at the University of Toronto, Nov. 4-6.

The general thesis of the meeting is that Mid-East studies in the USA is too "confrontational", and due to the "privatization of funding" at Universities there is an ongoing threat towards academic freedom, which was attributed to small but significant groups, specially named as Daniel Pipes, Media Watch, and Martin Kramer.

Pipes' method of "attack" was referred to as "crude" by Z. Lockman, who more generally referred 'the assault on academic freedom....on purely ideological grounds .... at an unprecedented level". The scholars continually spoke about the need for academic freedom and diversity, despite the obvious contradiction that all of them at the conference represented only one side (ie - nobody cared when each speaker made negative comments towards Washington, Bush, "Pro-Israeli" scholars, etc).

Moreover, Lockman, as well as UofT's new president, David Naylor, spoke about "the growing interest" in the middle-east, failing to note the obvious: that unlike the growing interest in Buddhism, which can be attributed to scientific studies of meditation, the smiling face of the Dalai Lama, etc, the "growing interest" in the middle-east is a reaction to the increasing violence over there, and the threats and actions made against western democracy and israel, etc. There was even the absurd comment that one doesnt have to open the international section of the paper to read about Islam, because its now in the local news. This is supposed to be a reflection of our newfound interest? Tell that to the owner of one of the 500 burnt cars in Paris.

Of course, those conflicts, along with the comments coming out of Iran last week, have yet to be mentioned. Of course, however "American hegemony" is a common theme, but nobody mentions that if radical Islam had its way it would be more imperialistic in every sense of the word. Leila Fawaz, I should mention, told about how her students wanted to read more moderate views of the middle-east, instead of the extreme pro-palestinian side and the extreme Israeli-side, the latter represented by Pipes and Dershowitz. Quite the teacher she must be, for her students to think of either scholar as an extremist (let alone as structually equivalent to the pro-palestian extremists).

Pipes, if I can paraphrase Mark Steyn, is the new Voldemort to her, as she instead referred to "Dershowitz, and another scholar who has been mentioned twice and who isn't worthy of being mentioned again". I had to leave after the first panel, but so long as I'm allowed back in this weekend I'll continue my review....

official website of the Panel: http://canmes.concordia.ca/Workshop.htm

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