An article about Islam most amazing for what it doesn’t say

I already knew that UC Berkeley was going to host a “scholarly” conference aimed at reconstructing Islamophobia. The promotional material, complete with the names of radical Islamist speakers, made it pretty clear that the conference’s focus would be on whitewashing Islam, as opposed to addressing a canker in one of the world’s major religions. Well, what can one expect of UC Bezerkeley, a school that used to be described as Kremlin West?

However, I did expect a little more of the San Francisco Chronicle, not because it’s anything but a liberal newspaper, but because I thought its own journalistic pride would demand at least a bow to the realities of terrorism in today’s world. How silly of me. The paper manages to report on the conference with one inverted allusion to 9/11 (you’ll see what I mean below) but otherwise without mentioning anything about the world-wide acts of terror perpetrated daily in Islam’s name.

I’m not going to fisk the whole piece, but let me give you a preview into what the article contains. It opens with some eye-catching puffery about Obama’s middle name and whether women with headscarfs should be searched at airports. From there, it explains that these questions and others are being addressed by world renowned scholars at a Berkeley conference, at which

the professors aim to study and understand how a religious identity of 1.2 billion people around the world has become fused with a monolithic set of beliefs and racial category. Under this dynamic, the beliefs of a Muslim engineer in Silicon Valley are rendered the same as those of a shopkeeper in Baghdad or a Hamas politician.

Perhaps the public is justifiably confused because, too often, the engineer in Silicon valley keeps his mouth shut about the distasteful beliefs of that Hamas “politician” — don’t they mean terrorist? — or because “man in the street” polls of Muslims show that their views are in remarkable harmony with their more activist brethren.

The article does the obligatory comparison to other groups that have been considered dangerous, including Jews. It makes no reference to the fact that Jews, for example, were considered dangerous only by taking the absence of evidence as proof positive that they were weaving dangerous behind the scenes conspiracies. Antisemities were wedded to the notion that, when it came to the horrors that Jews were planning on visiting on the world, the absence of evidence definitely wasn’t evidence of absence.

In that same vein, neither the conference nor the article give any consideration to the difference between an amorphous conspiracy theory unsupported by any concrete evidence whatsoever and this:

I guess that kind of more subtle analysis was a bit beyond the academics gathered in Berkeley.

The panelists spent a lot of time focusing on how unfair it is for people to attack Obama’s middle name and Muslim past. I actually think it’s stupid, too, but that’s because I don’t believe Obama has any religious affinity for Islam. I think that, more significantly, he has a Leftist affinity for those who champion radical Islam, and that this attitude is much more dangerous than any lingering longing he might have for a prayer session in the mosque.

The panelists apparently did mention 9/11, but only to put it in context: It started up attacks on Muslims that were comparable to the Spanish Inquisition:

Panelists at the conference traced the roots of Islamophobia well before Sept. 11, 2001: They include slavery, colonialism and the Spanish Inquisition against Jews and Muslims beginning in 1492.
Cultural phenomenon

Marquette University Professor Louise Cainkar presented a paper about hate crimes against those of Arab origin, a category that includes Christians but is often conflated with Muslims in post-Sept. 11 pop culture. In analyzing patterns in the Chicago area, she found that hate crimes were fewest in African American neighborhoods in the South Side, despite the high prevalence of Arab shopkeepers. But anti-Arab hate crimes were highest in “white flight” suburbs. A mosque in a southwestern suburb of Chicago came under a “three-day siege” by neighbors after the Sept. 11 attacks and had to be protected by more than 100 police officers in riot gear, Cainkar said.

As for me, I hold no truck with the Spanish Inquisition, since my ancestors too suffered from its effects, which is how they ended up in Hungary, rather than staying in Spain all those hundreds of years ago. Be that as it may, a little historical context is useful. The Spanish Inquisition’s primary focus was heretical Christians, not Muslims or Jews. Those who raise the Spanish Inquisition as an indictment against the West for its treatment of Muslims are confusing it with the fact that, at about the same time, in the 15th Century, Spanish Nationalism developed and took shape in the persons of Ferdinand and Isabella. They spearheaded the movement to drive out of Southern Spain the Muslim conquerers who had installed themselves there centuries before. In other words, the Muslims were kicked out because the indigenous people rose up against their Imperialist oppressors, something that should leave Leftists rejoicing. And as always when there was upheaval, everyone went after the Jews.

What’s very clear from the news report is that neither the conference participants, nor the reporter, have any interest in the much more compelling question of radical versus non-radical Islam, and whether anything can be done to make the latter less passive and more vocal. The obvious purpose of the conference is to whitewash Islam, and the Chron happily, and without any shame, went along with that approach. As I said at the start, the Berkeley would host this academic travesty is unsurprising, but I naively expected that the Chron would at least pay lip service to the facts on the ground (almost 11,000 acts of terrorist since 9/11 in the name of Islam), without joining in the Berkeley whitewash.

UPDATE:  Welcome LGF readers!

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Comments

  1. 11B40 says

    Greetings:

    At the risk of throwing anchors to a drowning woman, a while back, there was a brouhaha about UC Berkeley accepting research funds from an oil company, BP, I think. The comical Chronicle went on about the conflict of interest and sure to be forthcoming corruption of a revered academic institution. Not long after, the Chronicle reported that the same institution was to receive a bunch of Saudi money. No concerns about that, though.

  2. rockdalian says

    But anti-Arab hate crimes were highest in “white flight” suburbs. A mosque in a southwestern suburb of Chicago came under a “three-day siege” by neighbors after the Sept. 11 attacks and had to be protected by more than 100 police officers in riot gear, Cainkar said.

    This is news to me, despite living in the next county south of Cook, Will county.
    The closest event I could find in the Chicago Tribune archive is this from the abstract:

    Police blocked protesters from approaching the Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview at a similar rally Wednesday night.

    http://tinyurl.com/4hfmf7

    This is from a USA Today article:

    Police turned back 300 marchers — some waving American flags and shouting “USA! USA!” — as they tried to march on a mosque in this southwest Chicago suburb late Wednesday. Three demonstrators were arrested, said Bridgeview Police Chief Charles Chigas. There were no injuries and demonstrators were kept blocks from the closed Muslim worship place.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2001/09/13/backlash.htm

    This from a Chicago Reporter article:

    In Bridgeview, mobs of demonstrators attempted to protest the terrorism by creating a terror of their own toward local Muslims. Hundreds turned up at an angry march on Bridgeview’s Mosque Foundation, prompting scores of arrests for disorderly conduct. Dozens of cars and trucks drove up and down the southwest suburb’s Harlem Avenue border, with people waving flags, leaning out of windows and shouting, “USA! USA!”

    findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0JAS/is_1_31/ai_82065080

    Nothing I could find even remotely suggested anything like a “siege” occurring.
    None of the articles mentions the number of police nor the gear they were wearing.
    You should note the placements of the articles within their respective papers. None were on page one, which would almost be certain had the events unfolded the way Professor Louise Cainkar described them.

  3. says

    At some point I couldn’t take the Chronicle anymore and cancelled it after many years of readership. They called to ask why and I told her left wing bias. That wasn’t a choice on her computer screen – the options were something like too much money, don’t have time to read it, that sort of thing – nothing about the content.

  4. Ymarsakar says

    Panelists at the conference traced the roots of Islamophobia well before Sept. 11, 2001: They include slavery, colonialism and the Spanish Inquisition against Jews and Muslims beginning in 1492.
    Cultural phenomenon

    The Spanish Inquisition was a political phenomenon, not a cultural or Papal/Catholic/Church doctrinal matter.

    Marquette University Professor Louise Cainkar presented a paper about hate crimes against those of Arab origin, a category that includes Christians but is often conflated with Muslims in post-Sept.

    These people are the ones that try to injure the lifeguard while they are drowning. They sure as heck can’t use their energy for something productive like swimming, saving their own lives, or saving somebody else’s life. So they’ll use that energy to brain whomever they can. Key word is “can”, however, since you “can’t” criticize Islam without vocal chords or a head attached to your body.

    The statistics they use are massaged carefully using psychological warfare and propaganda principles. Unless you know the basic foundation and data on which such works were produced, you won’t be able to see the line between truth and illusion amongst the stats and claims.

    For a half way competent statistician (used phonetics and spelling logic to come up with that word: what’s amazing is that it is valid) or propagandist, massaging data to say what you want it to say is not very difficult. The difficulty arises in encountering enemy propaganda and having to deal with enemy actions and plans. If your data was collected according to your plans and if your stats were crafted based upon your data and your plans, then there is nothing really all that difficult about making yourself some statistical justifications for your ideology and faction.

  5. Allen says

    I love how these self-appointed scientists do their “science.” Take a premise as true and run like mad. I must admit I’m becoming UC Berkeley Phobic. Anything that comes out of there I immediately distrust.

    Besides, how exactly would you “research” this? I suppose that I take a vicarious pleasure from the fact that the UC system administers Livermore and Los Alamos. I wonder what that must do, phobia wise, to the folks at Berkeley.

  6. says

    Perhaps the public is justifiably confused because, too often, the engineer in Silicon valley keeps his mouth shut about the distasteful beliefs of that Hamas “politician” — don’t they mean terrorist? — or because “man in the street” polls of Muslims show that their views are in remarkable harmony with their more activist brethren.

    Or the western-class educated (doctors, engineers) who end up in jihad and everybody around them says “such a nice guy, helpful to everybody, always smiling, hard to believe he could do such a thing”

  7. says

    Islam whitewashing aside, the Chronicle has become a useless, crappy rag. There is practically nothing to read in it. The weekend issue is the worst, filled up with all kinds of mindless fluff in syndicated pieces about trivia.

    This is in fact true of most US papers, including NYT and WaPo, who are going so low in desperation for readers that they publish propaganda by Hamas and refuse to say if they pay for them (given that funding terrorists is illegal).

    The US print media is finished, like so many other aspects of intellectual life. It has to do with the collapse of education and an ignorant audience unable to reason. It’s the ideal target for islamist and leftist propaganda, because it’s unable to distinguish between it and facts and analysis.

    oao
    http://fallofknowledgeandreason.blogspot.com/

  8. Danny Lemieux says

    I don’t know how to put it into terms less crude, but the spread of Islam throughout the Middle East and into Europe and Africa was and continues to be a pretty significant hate crime in and of itself. It’s not as if they spread the faith by politely knocking on doors. It’s not without reason that people refer to Dar al Islam’s frontiers with Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddism as the “crescent of fire”.

  9. Brad says

    rockdalian,

    It is a well known fact that most violence in the Chicago area emminates from the white suberbs. The south side, as the article suggests, is a oasis of peace. I grew up in Glen Ellyn, and I clearly remember the gangs of Glenbard West letter jacket wearing punks taking the train to the city to harrass and visit violence on the peaceful residents of the south of Roosevelt road inhabitants. To this day I cringe when I remember the sight of the track and gymnastics thugs returning to “The Glen” with blood dripping down the green and white jackets. These punks would carve kill marks in their forearms to gloryify the moment. It happened man, exactly as this “woman of academia” remembers it.

  10. pst314 says

    “[Chicago] Police blocked protesters from approaching the Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview at a similar rally Wednesday night.”

    The Chicago Tribune has done a number of articles on the extremist teaching that prevails at that mosque. It is no more outrageous for 21st Century Americans to protest outside that mosque than for Americans in the late 1930′s to protest the Nazi-front German-American Bund organization.

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