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Perhaps the problem is with weak news reporting, then

Reader comment on item: Arguing over "Jihad and the Professors"

Submitted by Terri Wonder (United States), Jul 13, 2003 at 19:10

Dear Dr. Pipes:

I have read the strand of letters in response to your article about Jihad and the Professors and your reply to those professors' letters with much interest. Specifically, I am not surprised that the newspaper reports from which you gleaned your information reported perhaps only half of the knowledge those professors may have conveyed to their audiences about the meaning of jihad in Islam.

This happens frequently at special lectures at USF (aka "Jihad U" or "University of suicidal Fanatics"), where I attend school. Half-measured reporting also occurs at USF in terms of the rallies that have been held in defense of Sami Al-Arian and overall support of Palestinian Islamists through the MSA leaders and students. For example, I have attended in the past two years the same rallies that get reported by the local and campus media. I once observed a Jewish counterprotester have her flag ripped out of her hands and found out later that this demonstrator also had her car keyed and egged inside and out several times, yet for some reason the media does not report or even bother to find out the things I see or that the Jewish students on campus experience and convey to me.

The papers also never report that the videos of Palestinian rock throwers (among other incidents) at Israeli police shown at my school's MSA booth at Wednesday's Bull Market last fall placed the MSA in clear violation of its own constitutional charter as a designated religious group that must refrain from political advocacy. Now, I know who the reporters are and that they are present at these events when I am, yet they report only only half of what I observe and a lot of what I observe is not very peaceful demonstrating on the part of some Muslim students. Nor is any of it conducive to positive interfaith relations. I would also point out that through the summer of 2002, the MSA website still maintained that Sami Al-Arian was the MSA's faculty advisor. Could it be, therefore, that he was the one who established the divisive tone of the MSA and is at least partly responisble for that poisoned atmosephere I describe involving some of the Jewish and Muslim students on campus? Ironically, now that Sami is in jail and has limited conversation with the outside world since his arrest, the tensions on campus have simmered down and the MSA has retreated in its blurring of religious-political advocacy, which I am told is the result of complaints issued by other students who objected to the MSA's politicization.

Where are those student reporters who are willing to report that, in fact, the MSA had become so politicized, that by last year a schism had developed in it, such that a new group formed, indicating a need for what I would term a religious reformation on the USF campus? Half-measured reporting is indefensible whether on- or off-campus, but it is most onerous on-campus, where students are supposed to learn and practice the principles of honesty and due diligence in whatever kind of inquiry they make, whether that inquiry is academic or journalistic in nature. So I suppose the upshot at USF is that not only have some professors capitulated to pro-Islamist advocacy, but also they are blind to the student hostilities that have happened on or near campus, which just goes to show you how truly out-of-touch some of them can be with not only what's happening elsewhere in the world regarding militant Islam, but also right underneath their office windows.

Frankly, the term "Ivory Tower" doesn't begin to describe the out-of-touch nature of some USF professors in terms of the meaning of holy war or their belief in the benign nature of Third World mass social movements like Islamism. USF was a Citadel before Judy Genshaft fired Al-Arian, and many of USF's professors held office hours in Ivory Minarets, oblivious to the violence conveyed through the MSA and by some of its members when Sami Al-arian was its faculty advisor.

Very truly,
Terri Wonder

P.S. I'd really like to see the full text version of the statments those professors made about the meaning of jihad, wouldn't you? Maybe their utterances were fully reported and they just won't admit they didn't do a very good job at fully presenting the fruits of their research.
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