Saturday, June 1, 2013

Scholarship at Work at Berkeley: Hatem Bazian

Gary Fouse

Hatem Bazian

Hatem Bazian is a professor at UC Berkeley who has sullied the pages of this otherwise noble blog on many occasions. Even at a place like Berkeley, this character stands out. As previously noted, he is a two-trick pony who is involved in bashing the state of Israel and whining about all the Islamophobia he perceives all around him. He is also a co-founder of something called the Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project at UCB. He apparently has also coined a phrase called "Sudden Ignorance Syndrome", which should appear prominently on his curricula vitae. As previously reported here, he has spoken often at UC Irvine, where I teach part-time, during the annual anti-Israel events every May sponsored by the Muslim Student Union.

In the wake of the Boston bombing, Bazian is hard at work producing "scholarly" documents like the one below complaining about the "backlash" against Muslims (which basically consists of a couple of Bostonians allegedly shouting curses at some Muslim lady in the days after April 15.)

As to the rush to blame Muslims for the bombing, I myself held off speculating until the Brothers Tsarnaev were identified as the suspects. In addition, most of the mainstream media were speculating that it might have been the work of right-wing white militia or tax protesters since it occurred on April 15. I am thinking specifically of CNN's Wolf Blitzer and the mad hatters at MSNBC. They were dead wrong. If anyone else speculated it was Muslims, they turned out to be correct.

I also note that Bazian quotes that unimpeachable source, Media Matters for America ("a non-profit research group dedicated to debunking conservative falsehoods in the media" ), which is a notoriously biased source and little more than an arm of the Democratic Party even though they enjoy tax-exempt status. The reference to Media Matters is in connection with a statement made by Frank Gaffney on April 20, by which time, we knew the bombers' identities.

Bazian then goes into a scholarly discussion of "Sudden Ignorance Syndrome", an affliction suffered by racist whites toward Muslims in general. He refers to Daniel Pipes (a Bush appointee" no less), Sudden Jihad Syndrome, and wild connections between Muslims and terrorism as he approaches his dramatic introduction of Sudden Ignorance Syndrome which has something to do with white American racism and connecting Muslims to terrorism though I have never heard any serious person claim that all Muslims are terrorists or even most of them. In fact, with rare exceptions, Americans have acted very fairly and responsibly in not blaming innocent Muslims for 9-11, the Boston bombing, or any other act. To be sure, there is anger and mistrust out there. I see it in print every day, but how many American Muslims have been murdered because of their faith since, say, 9-11? I am aware that a Sikh man was shot and killed in the days after 9-11 and the killer thought he was Muslim. We have the attack on the Sikh temple in Wisconsin, but it has not been established that the killer thought they were Muslims-only speculated. There was also a case a few months ago back East, where a mentally-deranged woman pushed an Indian man in front of a subway train and said she didn't like Sikhs and Muslims. Have there been any other cases of a Muslim being murdered in America by a non-Muslim because of their faith? We thought we had one in El Cajon, California a year or so ago, but that turned out to be charged to her husband. (He is still waiting trial.)

As to insults, assaults or vandalizing mosques, I have spoken out against those when reported and charges filed.

But you know what Dr Bazian doesn't mention in his scholarly work on hate? He says nothing about the on-going persecution of Christians and other religious minorities from one Islamic nation to another from Egypt to Indonesia to Pakistan to Sudan to Iran to Syria to Iraq--shall I continue?

Keep in mind that Bazian himself has been accused of being intolerant towards Jews. He has been accused of telling a university crowd at Berkeley to look around and note how many buildings had Jewish names on them. He has been accused of saying the San Francisco State University campus paper had "Jewish spies" (Bazian was a student there at the time.)  He has been accused of quoting that fuzzy little hadith about the Final Day when the Jews will hide behind the trees and rocks, which in turn will call out to the Muslim, "Oh Muslim. There is a Jew hiding behind me. Come and kill him." He has been accused of calling for an intifada in the US.

In May of 2010 at UC Irvine, I confronted him with those quotes (minus the one about the campus paper)  and asked if they were accurate. You can read about that exchange here.

Here are some other sources for the reported statements attributed to Bazian.

But let us return to this scholarly piece by Bazian: I allude to where Dr Bazian attempts to insert some 
scholarly language into this screed:

"The Bad Muslim is anyone that continues to have an expressed attachment to his/her religion and applies it as 
an epistemic basis for their life and engagement in the world. For sure the Sudden Ignorance Syndrome is only 
capable of binary level and dimwitted analysis, which in actuality is a self-constructed binary shaped in a mirrored 
mental vacuum and obfuscated for the quick media cycle to appear as if it is an authentically self-constituted and a 
diversely engaged counterpart."

(Don't ask me. I only have a masters degree.)

From there, Bazian goes on to the usual historical  litany of grievances against anything that is Western or white. He even dredges up the Vietnam war.

At the end, however, is where Bazian suddenly reveals his own ignorance syndrome when it comes to free speech (pun intended).

"The Sudden Ignorance Syndrome is real and one can’t escape it or those affected by it, since they
 pollute the airwaves around the clock and are sitting ready for a phone call to jump into action.

What is needed from civil society is to reclaim the airwaves and to demand that, publicly owned
and governmentally regulated through the FCC as they are, they should not be used to spread racism, 
bigotry and Islamophobia. In reality, we must explore ways to engage in a systematic legal challenge to the 
ability of racists to use public resources in order to spread their brand of  bigotry, since we all collectively 
own the airwaves and rent them to media outlets and companieson the understanding that they are to be 
utilized for the general good. Racism should be defined as the process of disrupting human potential and it 
should have no place on a publicly owned resource."

Translation? Bazian is obviously on board with that Defamation of Religions resolution that the Organization 
of Islamic Cooperation is trying to push through the UN that would call on member nations to criminalize any 
expression critical of Islam.

First of all, our public air waves are not being used to spread hate, bigotry, or Islamophobia, whatever 
Bazian's definition of Islamophobia is. Granted, the blogosphere has the entire range of sites from those 
who hate all Muslims (and others) to sites that support and promote Islamic terrorism itself.

What he is really referring to is certain writers or commentators holding an honest and frank discussion
about terrorism, hate toward other religions, and whether Islam itself is or is not a factor. This is a topic of 
international interest and paramount importance that affects our freedom and our very lives.  Sorry, Professor, 
but given the world situation, such a discussion is legitimate, and we have something in this country 
called a First Amendment. In addition, before you and your allies accuse everyone of holding negative 
opinions about Muslims and hatred, you should pay more attention to cleaning up your own back yard.

You could start by researching into the names of others who have spoken at that same podium 
as you during the Muslim Student Union anti-Israel  extravaganzas every May at UC Irvine through the years.

Amir Abdel Malik Ali
Mohammed al Asi
Abdul Alim Musa

....and so many others.

File that in the Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project files.

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