By Andrew Harrod
For Stockton University Professor Nazia Kazi, President Barack Obama in his announcement of Osama bin Laden’s May 2, 2011, killing was “easily washing the bloodstained hands of U.S. global dominance.” Such America-hating, leftist cant characterized her February 19 lecture at Georgetown University’s Saudi-established Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU).
ACMCU’s Bridge Initiative against “Islamophobia” hosted Kazi for a presentation of her latest book Islamophobia, Race, and Global Politics, before many Georgetown faculty and staff among an audience of about thirty. ACMCU professors Jonathan Brown, Yvonne Haddad, Tamera Sonn, and Jonathan Voll appeared with Bridge Initiative associates Susan Douglass and Jordan Denari Duffner. From the wider Georgetown faculty came Muslim chaplain Yahya Hendi and terrorism expert Bruce Hoffman. Former Foreign Service Officer Benjamin Tua joined, as did former CATO Institute scholar Stanley Kober.
ACMCU Bridge Initiative Senior Research Fellow Kristin Garrity Sekerci introduced the event’s Western guilt-tripping tone with the tiresome progressive, virtue-signaling “land acknowledgement.” “Islamophobia is rooted in racism, colonialism, capitalism, white supremacy, and imperialism,” the United States’ supposedly dominant characteristics, she said, without noting any such elements in Islamic history. Georgetown University lies, she reminded us, “on the unceded lands of the Nanichoke people and the Piscataway people” and “was built and funded by . . . enslaved labor.”
While “Never forget” has become the “brand name of 9/11” since bin Laden orchestrated Al Qaeda’s September 11, 2001, attacks, Kazi castigated Americans for “deep forgetfulness” of America’s superpower evil. Rather than jihadist threats plaguing the world, Kazi found true terror in a leftist litany of ills like the “warmer ocean temperatures” that according to her perfervid take on the climate “have led to devastating hurricanes.” Likewise “anyone should feel terrorized of this country’s prison-industrial complex, which doesn’t lock up bad guys” but “America’s poor, particularly those of color, as a tool to mask America’s economic problems.”
That “Americans have come to see their country as a global force for good” reflected for Kazi Karl Marx’s theory of an ideological camera obscura in which “a dominant ideological belief is a perfect inversion of what actually exists.” She mocked the perceptions that “police are sworn to serve and protect” or “in America that hard work and determination are all that is needed to climb the social ladder” or that “Iran is a threat to the United States.”
Gloom and doom economic forecasts meant for Kazi that “longstanding legacies of enslavement” have “baked into the economic system” racism, while “regions of the world are systemically dispossessed” by past abuses. Meanwhile this open borders advocate bizarrely worried about denying immigrant access to capitalist America. She condemned as “really peculiar and perverse” that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) “meant to secure our homeland, is also the entity that is tasked with monitoring migrants.”
On an ideological roll, Kazi next distorted the origins of jihad, which is a dangerous ideology as old as Islam itself. Counterfactually, she claimed American policies “exacerbate a problem that we can trace [only] back to the Cold War and the roots of terror itself.” Kazi condemned the post-9/11 Guantanamo Bay detention center as “America’s very own Muslim-only prison,” as if anyone else but jihadists should be there. She attributed only aggression, never self-defense, to Americans in a dangerous world. “Islamophobia” involves the “menacing presence of military bases on foreign soil,” not protection for countries threatened by Iranian expansionism.
She naively wondered why democracies cannot avoid alliances with dictatorships such as the “totalitarian monarchies in Gulf countries, who receive handy support from the United States even as they behead citizens.” Myths of American omnipotence provoked her to state that the Saudi “kingdom would not exist were it not for the U.S. State Department” and “companies like Chevron.” In reality, Saudi Arabia emerged in 1932 from local conflicts before the 1938 discovery of Arabian Peninsula oil.
Kazi’s one conspicuous concession to realpolitik came in connection with condemning America’s 2003 regime change in Iraq. The brutal tyrant “Saddam Hussein did some unsavory stuff” (e.g. gas the Kurds). By contrast, she asserted the commonplace falsehood that he “kept at bay the forces of that terrorism that the U.S. sought to be fighting.”
ACMCU faculty’s questions were fawning. Brown asked about getting students to “break free of orthodox history paradigm and think more critically” while Denari-Duffner noted the “really great material in the academy on ‘Islamophobia.’” Kazi mused in response about how America’s “established history of white supremacy” means “it is no easy task to be in the classroom at the heart of empire,” as if her ideological ilk didn’t control the academy.
Her radical chic rhetoric is unsurprising given that she noted her readings of individuals like the academic fraud Ward Churchill. He infamously described 9/11 World Trade Center workers as “little Eichmanns” whose role in global capitalism merited Al Qaeda’s righteous rage on behalf of the wretched of the Earth. She also declared that reading Howard Zinn’s debunked screed The People’s History of the United States “changed my whole life.”
Kazi’s malignant view of America would enrage many taxpayers and parents who fund her pernicious worldview at Stockton University and beyond. Posing as victims despite their vice grip on higher education, contemptuous of the system and people who make their lives possible, Kazi and her allies exemplify the moral and intellectual rot in Middle East studies. Mal-educated students, misused resources, and a raft of “experts” undermining national security are an unacceptable return on American investment. Absent extensive and lasting reform, this toxic discipline should be defunded and shunned.
Excellent article !!
Really...?? This is the greatest societal contribution that Andrew Harrod could make last Friday...?? No doubt, Nazia Kazi "and her ilk" are not simply over the top, but far over the top and falling down the other side. Yet the vast majority of Americans understand that America (along with the rest of the world) is fighting an eminently justifiable war against terrorism. And, despite the acknowledged excesses, we are confident in the basic, underlying righteousness of America, itself. So, when crusaders, of either extreme, force simplistic diatribes on their readers, they convince few (even though the echo-chambers of the already-convinced reverberate with their hackneyed "team cheers" -- only the credulous submit themselves so unreservedly to these virtual reality-based purveyors of "the truth"). Most of us know that truth is found somewhere between the poles. Likewise, most of us will try to make changes, even little changes, that move us closer to perfection. For one's own sake, we ought not wholeheartedly "buy in" to all that Kazi is "selling". And, for the exact same reason, nobody ought to accept all of Harrod's knee-jerk denials. If reminders of simple truth induce guilt, that's not entirely a bad thing. As any psychological therapist knows, guilt may produce helpful changes. But to do so, it must first overcome the pre-existing childish self-centredness.
People like Kazi are a dime a dozen in academia. What they fail to see or will never admit is that the ills of the Middle East cannot be constantly blamed on Israel, America, and the West. The Arab world is a cesspool by their own making over many centuries. Yet Middle East Studies in our universities peddle nothing but pro-Arab, pro-Muslim, anti-Israel, anti-America post colonial rot. WE are tired of hearing these Middle East imports come here and demean our country. The real reason the Arab world is so screwed up is very simple and can be put into one word. ISLAM.