Cinnamon Stillwell

I’m the West Coast Representative for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum that focuses on Middle East studies. I was a political columnist for SFGate.com (San Francisco Chronicle online) from 2004-2008. I've written for the American Thinker, Frontpage Magazine, Family Security Matters, Accuracy In Media, Newsbusters, Israel National News, The Jewish Policy Center, J-The Jewish News Weekly of N. CA, Intellectual Conservative and many others. More info at CinnamonStillwell.com.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

UCLA Professor Praises Zimbabwe's Dictator Robert Mugabe

As further evidence of the not-so-great minds inhabiting higher education, political science professor and director of the UCLA Globalization Research Center on Africa, Edmond J. Keller, recently made the following statement about Zimbabwe's destructive dictator, Robert Mugabe:
Mugabe has tried to start programs that would increase indigenous business opportunities, but the high inflation rate, the worthless Zimbabwe currency; and a vibrant civil society which has become anti-government make it impossible for him to hold on to power.
That's funny, last I checked, Mugabe had been in power for 28 years. And he's been destroying the country (once labeled the "bread basket of Africa" and now mired in poverty and tyranny) ever since.

Indeed, Keller's commentary brings to mind Sen. Patty Murray's (D-Wash.) ludicrous remarks in 2002 praising terrorist leader Osama bin Laden for allegedly "building day care" and "health care facilities." It's the "enemy of my enemy is my friend" syndrome, and it's rampant on the left. Siding with America or the West, however appropriate in some cases, must be avoided at all costs.

Considering that Keller made his statement to The Final Call, the "official communications organ" of the Nation of Islam, which titles the article in question, "West demands regime change for Zimbabwe," it begins to make sense. Not to mention that Keller's specialties include "Afro-Marxist regimes." Too bad it's the African people who are being oppressed by their, er, great leaders.

But I'm sure Zimbabwe's Movement for Democracy leader, Morgan Richard Tsvangirai, appreciates the support from his "brothas" in revolution.

Update: A reader alerted me to photos of Mugabe's excessively luxurious and gaudy palace, details of which appear in this article in The Sun. Quite a stark contrast to the starvation and poverty subsuming Zimbabwe, but par for the course, unfortunately, for African dictators and beyond.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Middle East Studies Profs. Still Peddling Peaceful Jihad

My latest Campus Watch blog post looks at academic obfuscation when it comes to the concept of jihad and contrasts it with Islam scholar Robert Spencer's enlightening speech on the subject at Stanford University earlier this month:
In his 2002 Commentary article, "Jihad and the Professors," Middle East Forum director Daniel Pipes makes a compelling case for "the nearly universal falsification of jihad on the part of American academic scholars." Rather than acknowledging the aggressively military nature of jihad (otherwise known as "holy war"), such academics would have us believe that it consists either of defensive warfare, a struggle for spiritual and personal improvement, or the promotion of social justice. Here are a few of the quotes he cites in the article:

Jihad as "usually understood" means "a struggle to be true to the will of God and not holy war."

Dell DeChant, professor of world religions, University of South Florida

"…in the struggle to be a good Muslim, there may be times where one will be called upon to defend one's faith and community. Then [jihad] can take on the meaning of armed struggle."

John Esposito, founding director of the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University

Jihad is "resisting apartheid or working for women's rights."

Farid Eseck, professor of Islamic studies, Auburn Seminary

Six years later, it would be nice to conclude that the situation has changed. But the academic apologists inhabiting the field of Middle East studies continue the obfuscation. The following is just a sampling of the sort of misleading and, in some cases, deceptive definitions of jihad these professors have been peddling:

"It is clear that military warfare is the lesser jihad, and the greater jihad is against the forces that prevent human beings from being human, as it were."

Mary Richardson, professor of history, Tufts University (source: Tufts Journal)
Continue reading "Middle East Studies Profs. Still Peddling Peaceful Jihad"

Update (4/30): Robert Spencer explores the true meaning of jihad at Human Events. His article comes in response to three federal agencies' recent edict to personnal to avoid the terms, "jihadist" or "jihad" in discussing Islamic terrorism. It seems our government and our nation's Middle East studies professors have something in common.