Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Don't Know Much About History

On Monday I returned to my Detroit alma mater, Wayne State University, to hear Daniel Pipes’s lecture on “The Threat to Israel’s Existence: Why It’s Back, What It Means.”

The lecture was co-sponsored by our friends at the Anti-Racist Blog, Stand With Us, as well as the Zionist Organization of America.

The audience of 150-200 were predominately Middle Eastern young people, and overwhelmingly hostile to Dr. Pipes. As we noted earlier, the scheduled lecture led beforehand to some protests, tearing down of posters, and handing around literature defaming Dr. Pipes as a racist and defender of the hated apartheid State of Israel.

As reported at the Anti-Racist Blog, the main organizers of the anti-Pipes activities was a group called Anti-Racist Action, (ARA), (not to be confused with the Anti-Racist Blog). ARA is a completely knucklehead hate group with an incomprehensible philosophy that allows them room to preach hatred, silencing of opponents, and violence in their efforts to stamp out “racism,” “homophobia,” etc.--and Israel.

Dr. Pipes’s lecture was a brief one, followed by a contentious question-and-answer period. It was evident from the nature of the “questions” that Dr. Pipes’s opponents were determined to attack his point of view, and badly unprepared to do so. One young lady made the mistake of prefacing her "question" to Dr. Pipes by admitting that she knew little of history, which she likened to "mumbo-jumbo." Her lack of foundation didn't prevent her from holding a strong opinion about the history of Israel and the Middle East.

This young lady wasn't the only one there who was a stranger to Islamic history. One significant moment came after Dr. Pipes, attempting to discuss Islam's failure to adopt the practice of charging interest, and the continued, unexamined, practice of slavery. At the mention of Islam's historic practice of slavery, there was a spontaneous reaction from the audience, outraged at the suggestion that there is slavery in Islam. The following video clip, posted by Anti-Racist Blog, records the moment right after which the audience began jeering Dr. Pipes for stating Islam’s historical practice of slavery.

Dr. Pipes’s astonishment, and mine, were genuine. Most of the other antagonistic comments and disrespectful questions were prepared in advance--poorly so--but they were clearly not spontaneous.

This reaction was spontaneous. These students were just as shocked as the Columbia students were when Ahmadinejad said there were no homosexuals in Iran. No one showed up expecting to hear that. But in contrast to what Ahamdinejad said, there is no basis upon which these Muslim students can deny the practice of slavery in Islam. (“Islam's Wretched Record on Slavery”).

Yet I was convinced these young people really do believe that Islam and slavery have nothing to do with one another. This reflects not only on their historical ignorance, but especially on the dishonesty of their Islamic teachers. Is it such a wonder that so many American Muslims believe there were no Islamic hijackers in those planes on 9/11?

These young people are quite devoted to their religion, about which they seem to know very little.


Anti-Racist Blog: Exposing Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism on American College Campuses said...

Great take on what transpired.

The audience’s conduct was reprehensible, but Pipes handled himself well.

For more videos of the event, please see:

Michael said...

Clancy, thanks for talking about this.

And thanks, also, for your comments at UMD's Michigan Journal, on Ms Mahfouz's column. You saved me the trouble of saying the same things!

T.R. Clancy said...

Hi Michael

Yes Ms Mahfouz is quite opinionated, which is fine, but not quite careful about her facts. She did a piece 2-3 weeks back denying that Ahamdinejad called for Israel to be wiped off the map, accusing MEMRI of mistranslating something else. Thanks for commenting.