by Andrew Harrod
Whittemore House, Washington DC.
At the 2018 Middle East Dialogue conference at Washington DC’s Whittemore House last month, George Mason University Professor Darrell Norman Burrell whitewashed Islamism and exaggerated Islam’s role in American culture. His “Islamophobia” lecture reflected the gathering’s sometimes ahistorical radical chic that political commentator Mark Bruzonsky captured succinctly in earlier remarks. Together, their willful distortions of reality offered a microcosm of systemic moral and intellectual problems besetting Middle East studies.
Declaring Hamas leaders are “more dignified, more thoughtful, more aware of history” than popularly perceived, Bruzonsky also claimed that “Jewish Zionist ideology . . . is the real reason we don’t have peace.” Recalling his meeting with Hamas leaders Abu Marzook and Ahmed Yousef, he noted bitterly that it took place before the “Israeli lobby got Hamas declared a terrorist organization.” Burrell himself could have written Bruzonsky’s outlandish conclusion: “The problem is not Palestinian rejectionism; the problem is Jewish and American rejectionism.”
During his talk, Burrell lamented the “prejudice, hatred of Islam and Muslims,” conflating Islam, an idea, with individuals facing prejudice. He cited survey statistics demonstrating that many “Americans believe Islam is at odds with American values” without analyzing the merit of such beliefs. One LifeWay Research survey “challenged” him with four in ten protestant pastors who “agree that Islam is dangerous and promotes violence.” These ministers should “really try to seek wisdom and understand,” Burrell insisted.
Burrell’s value-free analysis extended to his discussion of the controversy surrounding Keith Ellison who, as Congress’s first Muslim member, made his oath of office upon a Quran. He noted that Ellison used a copy of the 1733 George Sale English-language translation of the Quran that Thomas Jefferson had owned, but omitted that Sale’s foreword calls the Quran “so manifest a forgery.” Burrell claimed absurdly that “Jefferson based his contribution to the Declaration of Independence” on different religious texts, and “the Quran being one of them.” In reality, “Jefferson was no fan of Islam,” as Muslim-American academic Amir Hussain has written and as Jefferson’s eighteenth century dealings with the Barbary pirates indicate. His landmark 1786 Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom cited as its guiding example the “holy author of our religion,” the Judeo-Christian biblical God.
Displaying his cultural relativism, Burrell equated Islamic hijab doctrines for women’s dress to nuns’ habits or wedding veils. This glosses over the obligatory nature of veiling in places such as Iran, as well as Islamic doctrine that considers unveiled women shameful and subject to sexual abuse. He falsely claimed that Islamic veiling was “banned” in France, when in fact a 2011 French law only prohibited full face coverings, such as the burqa.
In contrast, Burrell was extremely critical of Christianity and declared that 1995 Oklahoma City bomber “Timothy McVeigh was a protestant,” although no evidence shows that McVeigh had religious beliefs beyond childhood upbringing. Burrell asked why “we don’t really have a lot of discussions of: is Christianity a dangerous religion?” There are “extremes in all religions,” he equivocated, referencing the canard that distorts Christian symbols so as to portray the Ku Klux Klan as a Christian organization.
Employing politically-correct neologisms such as “micro-aggression,” Burrell fretted over a nonexistent “Christian privilege” rather than the actual impositions of jihadism or sharia law. At “work, I can put a Christmas tree up, I can say “Merry Christmas,” and people don’t think anything of it. But if I am from a different faith, then all of sudden people might feel uncomfortable,” he claimed. Apparently, Burrell has never heard of a “war on Christmas” or legal and economic threats to Christian, not Muslim, beliefs about sexual morality.
Burrell’s solution to “Islamophobia” was increased interfaith interaction. More diverse corporations would have greater creativity, and it “really influences the bottom line.” He accompanied a slide displaying cake ingredients with the inane statement, “When you put it all together, that is how you make the cake.”
In fact, it’s how you make a mess of history, culture, and politics, not to mention reason itself. If the hallmark of supposedly learned experts is a determined use of intellectual and moral relativism to deny truth, lie about history, and insist on switching evil with good, then such sophistic proclamations deserve rejection. So long as the Middle East studies establishment legitimizes and empowers such pernicious propaganda, it will remain a discipline in crisis, the sick man of academe.
Andrew E. Harrod is a Campus Watch fellow, freelance researcher, and writer who holds a Ph.D. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a J.D. from George Washington University Law School. He is a fellow with the Lawfare Project. Follow him on Twitter at @AEHarrod.
Watch the Prof dance, Watch the Prof prance, Lost in his taqiyya trance, Watch as the Liars' Fire consumes his pants.
There are “extremes in all religions,” he equivocated... Hmmmm... Now let me see... How many religions put to death between 70 and 100 million people as Islam did in India in a fit of moral superiority...
How much is Burrell is being paid by CAIR and other Muslim groups to write this article supporting and advocating Islam? Islam is a false religion by a dead prophet, Mohammed, who will spend time in hell for eternity. There is no redemption or liberty in Islam as women and men either submit to sharia law or die. Islam is incompatible with Christianity or judeo values and we not allow Muslims into the United States. Belgium and other Western European countries are finding out that is was a great mistake to allow Muslims into the country as their culture and values are disintegrating.
The Ku Klux Klan is a Christian organization just as surely as ISIS is Islamic; witness the following creed. CREED OF KLANSWOMEN America for Americans, As Interpreted by the Women of the Ku Klux Klan The Kluxer, March 8, 1924 WE BELIEVE in the fatherhood of God, the brotherhood of Jesus Christ, and the eternal tenets of the Christian religion as practiced by enlightened Protestant churches. WE BELIEVE that church and state should continue separate in administration and organization, although united in their mission and purpose to serve mankind unselfishly. .... WE BELIEVE that under God, the Women of the Ku Klux Klan is a militant body of American free-women .... The fact that the Klan has been denounced by all mainline denominations is paralleled by the fact that ISIS and/or terrorism has been denounced by the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada , the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils , Organization of the Islamic Cooperation and others.
Lloyd De Jongh
The KKK is acting in contravention of Christian teachings in the New Testament. Christ did not behead people including young children, rob caravans, marry and sleep with little girls, preach violence against the Kufar, assassinate critics, claim that the Jews must all be killed to bring the end times - but Mohammed did. All of those acts are in accordance with the Quran and Sunnah of Mohammed, while the KKK is a violation of the words and actions of Christ.