The American left’s favorite jihadist?

At least in terms of turning herself into a household name, Linda Sarsour has come a long way in a very short time.

Linda Sarsour

She first came to the attention of most of us on January 21, the day after the presidential inauguration, when she was one of the major speakers at the Women’s March in Washington. As executive director of the Arab American Association of New York and a spokesperson for the National Network for Arab American Communities, she was one of the event’s four co-sponsors.

Sarsour (right) with Gloria Steinem

Sarsour might have come and gone without making much of an impression on viewers around the country except for a couple of things. She wore a hijab. She began her speech with the words “as-salāmu ʿalaykum.” She said she would not respect Donald Trump. And she charged that Americans Muslims had been “suffering in silence for the past fifteen years” – in other words, 9/11. While omitting to mention any of the countless acts of jihadist terror that have taken place during those fifteen years, she painted a picture of post-9/11 America as a nightmare of Islamophobia.

Bernie Sanders

Sarsour presented herself as a progressive feminist. But it soon emerged that she is a champion of Hamas, of the treatment of women in Saudi Arabia, and, not least, of the introduction of sharia law into the United States. That didn’t keep her from being praised by Bernie Sanders, being named a “Champion of Change” by the Obama Administration, and being cheered on by a wide range of major figures and organizations on the left.

Tony Kushner

In response to criticism of Sarsour, much of it coming from the right, a group of 100 prominent Jewish figures, including Angels in America playwright Tony Kushner, signed a letter defending her. A gay Israeli actually felt obliged to pen an article for the Forward headlined “On LGBTQ rights, Linda Sarsour Is No Ally,” while Judea Pearl, the father of Daniel Pearl, wrote a similar piece for the same publication entitled “Why Linda Sarsour Is a Fake Feminist.”

Siraj Wajjah

Amid all the chaos and controversy, Sarsour has since moved from triumph to triumph. In June she delivered the commencement speech at the City University of New York School of Public Health. And in early July, she made headlines with a speech given at the convention of the Islamic Society of North America. She began the speech by thanking an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center – one Siraj Wajjah. She went on to savage the Trump administration, whose members she described as “fascists and white supremacists and Islamophobes,” and spoke darkly of “the potential chaos that they will ensue [sic] on our community.” She then suggested that she and her audience – and, presumably, Muslim-Americans generally – would “stand up to those who oppress our communities” and expressed the hope that “Allah” would accept that resistance “as a form of jihad.” Rejecting the idea of assimilation, she affirmed that Muslim-Americans’ “top priority” is “to please Allah, and only Allah.”

Matt Duss

Matt Duss, a foreign policy adviser to Sanders and contributor to The Tablet, actually defended Sarsour’s appalling remarks, specifically her use of the word “jihad.” He tweeted: “If you’re a journalist shaming @lsarsour’s choice of words instead of helping readers better understand them, you’re bad at your job.”

Kathy Griffin

Lee Smith, writing in The Tablet, compared Sarsour with comedienne Kathy Griffin, who had recently received extensive media atttention by posing with a bloody Trump mask. Like Griffin, suggested Smith, “Sarsour wanted to have it both ways – get lots of attention for having done something sensational, and then play the role of victim when some of the attention invariably turned critical.” In short, Sarsour “has become a very adept self-promoter.”

Another jihad enthusiast from Salford University

Salford University

When we saw the headline and subheads of a July 1 article in the Daily Mail about an unsettling development at Salford University, the first thing we did was look up Salford University, because we weren’t even sure which country it was in. It turns out to be in England – specifically, in Manchester. In fact, Salman Abedi, the suicide bomber who took 22 lives at that Ariana Grande concert, was a student there.

The Mail story was about another Muslim student at Salford – one Zamzam (yes, Zamzam) Ibrahim, the president of Salford’s Student Union. Zamzam, a recent recipient of a Bsc degree in Business and Financial Management, was elected to her Student Union office in March. She has also been elected to a leadership position in the National Union of Students (NUS). During her campaign for the latter office, she claimed that there had been a 41% rise in anti-Muslim hate crime in the UK since the Brexit vote and opposed the “PREVENT” strategy, a UK government policy that is intended to keep terrorist events from taking place and that Zamzam calls “racist.”

Zamzam Ibrahim

But that’s nothing. The Mail discovered that during the last few years, Zamzam has shared a good many strong opinions on social media. Specifically, she has expressed a desire to “oppress white people,” has said that she considers “friendship between men and women…un-Islamic,” and has wished that everyone would read the Koran, because it would lead to “an Islamic takeover!”

After the Mail‘s discoveries were picked up by other news media, another British newspaper, the Independent, gave Zamzam space to defend herself. She argued as follows. First, she’d made the comments quoted by the Mail back in 2012, when she was only 16; they were, in other words, the “adolescent comments of a young girl” who was “struggling with my view of the world and my place in it” and “grappling with the deep injustices I could see around me and trying to figure out how I could make the world a better place.”

Second, the Mail had “twisted” her comments “to make them seem far more sinister than they ever were intended to be.” Third, she has since grown up, and the comments cited by the Mail “do not reflect my views today.”

One reader who commented on Zamzam’s article noted a couple of important details in her piece. First, an apparently deliberate error: in 2012, she was 18, not 16. Second, some of her offensive messages don’t date back to 2012 – they’re only a few months old.

Another reader noted that Zamzam, although given plenty of space by the Independent, hadn’t explicitly rejected any of the assertions she’d made in her social-media messages. Instead, she’d made use of the opportunity to slam the image of Islams served up by the “right-wing media” and to play the victim – not just any victim, mind you, but one belonging to an intersectional bonanza of officially recognized identity groups: a woman, a black, and a Muslim.

Zamzam with unidentified friend

“The question to Zamzam,” stated the reader, “is whether she has changed her beliefs in this period or she continues to hang onto them. Has she for example changed her views on whether males and females can mix in public and private places?….Does she for example still feel that Muslims are the oppressed and not the oppressors of Jews, Christians, yazidis, Armenians, converts to other religions, disabled and LGBT communities and many others living in their midst?”

Indeed, those are the questions. It seems clear even from Zamzam’s Independent article that she still views Muslims as an oppressed group. What, one wonders, did she post on social media after a student from her university committed that massacre at the Ariana Grande concert? We’ve tried to find out, but without success, because Zamzam – who, in every picture and video we can find of her, is wearing a hijab – appears to have deleted her social-media accounts.

America’s most dangerous professor?

No sooner had we spent a week covering some of the more appalling useful idiots on California university faculties – much of our information being taken from the invaluable Canary Mission website – than that site trumped itself with a new report on a man whom it calls “the most dangerous professor in America.”

Hatem Bazian

As a graduate student, Hatem Bazian ran the Palestinian students’ group at San Francisco State University and the Muslim Students Association at Berkeley. Now a lecturer in UC Berkeley’s Department of Ethnic Studies, he also serves as provost and as a faculty member at Zaytuna College for Muslim Studies, which he co-founded. He also founded Students for Justice in Palestine as well as Berkeley’s Center for the Study of Documentation of Islamophobia.

Canary Mission cites a 2004 event at which Bazian asked an audience at Berkeley: “How come we don’t have an intifada in this country?” Though he later claimed he was not calling for violence, he said at another event: “The only language that the slave master understands is the language of violence.” In addition, he refused to condemn terrorist actions by Hamas and Hezbollah. In 1999, Bazian was reported by the Detroit News to have cited with approval a line from the Hadith: “The Day of Judgment will not happen until the trees and stones will say, ‘Oh Muslim, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him.’” In a 2017 lecture, Bazian identified Middle East scholars Martin Kramer, Daniel Pipes, and Steven Emerson as “Islamophobes.”

After 9/11, he published a largely incoherent, semi-literate, and altogether strange series of statements about Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and PLO leader Yasir Arafat: “Sharon has been working earnestly to create or fomenting [sic] internal tension within the Palestinian Authority in such a way that can bring about a decision from an inside group, which no longer views Arafat [sic] actions to be in their best interests, and undertake his assassination.” He went on: “Sharon have [sic] decided that it would be better for Israel to have the Islamic forces in charge of Palestinian affairs because he would have more sympathy in the West fighting ‘Islamic Fundamentalist’ terrorism….We most certainly will hear some Israelis with the distinct N. Y. English accent remained [sic] all of us of the often used cruel statement that the ‘Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.’”

As one commentator wondered years ago, apropos of these odd reflections: “How can university deans and chancellors, in good conscience, hire professors who cannot speak or write grammatically? How do those same professors maintain credibility, let alone win Ph.D.s, when they cannot pass a standard written English test?”

The Canary Mission website describes Bazian as a “chameleon”: “In the academic world, he is slick and intellectual. In his writings he has a sophisticated anti-Zionist narrative that delegitimizes the Jewish people’s history, identity and connection to Israel…[A]t rallies the veneer falls away and we see his crude racist rhetoric — a rhetoric that is aggressive and pro-violence.” The website added that Bazian was unusually menacing because of his “mesmerizing influence over many students.” Canary Mission further noted the importance of his role as founder of the SJP, chapters of which have held events at which members chanted “Intifada, intifada, long live the intifada” – which, Canary Mission pointed out, is “exactly what Bazian preaches.”

Lying about Israel: Saree Makdisi

Saree Makdisi

Today we’re continuing our look at Saree Makdisi, a nephew of slimy academic fake Edward Said and a vicious UCLA anti-Semite in his own right. Yesterday we glanced at a Los Angeles Times op-ed in which he served up a stunning defense of the unvarnished Jew-hatred of veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas. But Makdisi has actually been a fount of mischievous L.A. Times contributions. In another one of these propaganda tidbits, he complained about “attacks on academic freedom” and “the intimidation of students” on U.S. campuses.

Edward Said

Was he referring to the widespread harassment of Jewish students (and faculty!) by Muslims and their ideological allies? As the Honest Reporting website noted, “it is Jewish and pro-Israel (or even just neutral) students who are intimidated, delegitimized, harassed, excluded, discriminated against, held responsible for Israel’s actions, targeted with anti-Semitism, have had to hide from a violent anti-Israel mob and be extracted by the police, and been disrupted and shouted down and silenced to stop them speaking the truth to defend Israel against BDS lies.” But no, Makdisi wasn’t referring to any of this. He was referring to the fact that the torrents of anti-Semitic rhetoric churned out by himself and other academics in American universities were now being monitored and reported on by their critics. Never mind that Makdisi’s writings about Israel and the Palestinians are often riddled with lies, and that his critics quote him with meticulous accuracy.

Milan Chatterjee

The specific concern of Makdisi’s op-ed was a course at Berkeley that, as Honest Reporting put it, “distorts the history of the Jewish connection to Israel, denies Israel’s right to exist, and explores how Israel might be destroyed, no doubt making things feel even more uncomfortable and unsafe for Jewish and pro-Israel students.” Honest Reporting also quoted a student leader, Milan Chatterjee, who actually left UCLA because of the intense level of harassment he endured at the hands of Makdisi’s BDS thugs. But Makdisi expresses no concern for such kids – on the contrary, if they’re feeling discomfort it’s because they’ve been exposed to a truth. The real victims, those who are really being intimidated, according to Makdisi, are him and his fellow pro-Palestinian heroes. The Honest Reporting site had a cogent reply to this nonsense: “Tell that to the Jewish students at the UC Irvine who had to barricade themselves to escape a BDS mob trying to violently disrupt an event.”

Tamar Sternthal

In yet another oped, published in January 2016, Makdidi called for an academic boycott of Israel. Replying to it, Tamar Sternthal of CAMERA complained that the lies in his L.A. Times op-eds “would earn a failing mark on a high school paper.” As an example of his falsehoods, Sternthal cited Makdisi’s claim that “there is not a single high school in the Palestinian communities in the Negev desert in southern Israel.” Sternthal replied: “In fact, there are more than 40 high schools for Bedouin students in the Negev.” Another Makdisi lie: “Israeli universities systematically fail their Palestinian students.” On the contrary, wrote Sternthal, Israel’s Council for Higher Education runs an undergraduate scholarship program for 650 Arab students: “Why would Israel allocate millions of shekels just for Arab students simply to systematically flunk them out?” Lies, lies, lies. Somewhere up there, Makdisi’s deceit-ridden uncle Edward is smiling.

 

Daniel Tutt, Islamophobia salesman

Daniel Tutt

We’ve been looking at Daniel Tutt, who when he’s not teaching at Marymount University and publishing dense, pretentious academic papers celebrating postmodern Marxist philosophy is working hard trying to sell general audiences on Islam sometimes via films or lectures or interviews, sometimes via pieces for popular media, such as the Huffington Post and something called the Islamic Monthly.

In these pieces, one of his signature moves is to start out by briefly mentioning a recent act of terrorism, and then to pivot quickly to the supposed anti-Muslim backlash thereto. One 2013 essay, for example, began as follows: “While the dust has yet to settle on the horrific Boston Marathon bombings by the Tsarnaev brothers, Muslims have already felt the impact of their association with Islam. We have witnessed a rise in Islamophobic discourse in the popular media and blogosphere….” (And the rest of the article, of course, was entirely about “Islamophobia.”) Two years later, he published a piece that began as follows: “In the wake of the tragic attacks in Paris and Beirut, Islamophobic rhetoric and hate crimes have already begun to surge. Across the country, we have politicians making calls to suspend refugee resettlement, hate crimes and mosque arsons have already begun to intensify…..”

Boston Marathon bombing

Islamophobia! Throughout his general-audience oeuvre, that’s Tutt’s favorite topic. In one essay, published shortly after the 2016 elections and entitled “Islamophobia and the Coming Trump Era,” Tutt charged that “incidents of bullying, discrimination, and hate crimes directed toward Muslims, and those perceived to be [Muslims],” had risen since Trump’s election. He provided no evidence to support this claim, and made no mention of the recent rise in acts of jihadist terror. On the contrary, instead of recognizing that there are legitimate reasons for concern about Islamic ideology, Tutt disparaged what he described as a “far right” and “highly conspiratorial and radically racist” view that “Islam is an exceptionally intolerant and violent religion.”

A fear of “the browning of America”?

He also offered up a bizarre theory – namely, that the presidency of Barack Obama, a black man, caused “white America” to experience “a climate of paranoia where Islamophobia functioned as the tip of the iceberg to a much wider fear over the ‘browning of America.’” This theory, of course, ignores the fact that Obama would never have been elected (and re-elected) president if millions of white Americans hadn’t voted for him. Nor does Tutt’s theory explain why a nationwide fear of the “browning of America” should manifest itself as Islamophobia rather than, say, as a fear of, or prejudice against, Hindus, Sikhs, Baha’i, Jainists, or, for that matter, members of predominantly black Protestant denominations.

Theodor W. Adorno

In a January 2016 academic essay, “Elements of Islamophobia: The State, Class and Capital,” Tutt served up some more original thought, arguing that American voters’ concerns about unlimited and unvetted Muslim immigration was “reminiscent of the infamous ‘Jewish problem’ that stoked rampant anti-Semitism during the first half of the twentieth century.” Of course, anti-Semitism is an ancient and irrational phenomenon; “Islamophobia” is a term invented in modern times by the Muslim Brotherhood to dismiss legitimate fears about explicit threats to Western freedom and security.

None of this, however, kept Tutt from maintaining, absurdly, that “today’s intensification of Islamophobia must be understood and diagnosed primarily, but not exclusively, as the outcome of capitalist exploitation” – or from applying theories about the roots of anti-Semitism posited by Marxist philosophers Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer to current Western attitudes about Islam. In Tutt’s essay, jihadist terror all but disappears from the picture – as, unsurprisingly, do the sundry horrors of life under sharia law.

Lying about Islam: Daniel Tutt

Sometimes, on this site, one “useful stooge” leads to another. It’s not surprising. These stooges tend to move in packs. It’s that lockstep-ideology thing. Strength in numbers – or, actually, cowardice in numbers. The more Maoists, the merrier.

Daniel Tutt

This year we’ve spent a good deal of time on Islamic apologist extraordinaire Jonathan A. C. Brown. One of his comrades and collaborators, it turns out, is a fellow named Daniel Tutt, who like many of today’s intellectuals, academics, and activists is what you might call a red-green type, combining Marx with Muhammed, Das Kapital with the Koran. Tutt’s résumé is packed with the names of various benign-sounding activities – “interfaith” this, “dialogue” that, organizations devoted to “peace” and “reconciliation” between Islam and whatever. We listed the names of some of these organizations yesterday. If they bring to mind the equally congenial-sounding names of various Soviet front groups of the Cold War era, well, there’s a very good reason for that.

Bottom line: this guy is a hardcore Islamic ideologist masquerading as a gentle bridge-builder.

One of the items he’s shilled for in his role as “Outreach Director” of the Unity Productions Foundation, which makes pro-Islam propaganda, is a video called American Muslims: Facts vs. Fiction. It’s an inexpensive, You Tube-friendly product that starts out with Muslims staring into the camera and citing various “stereotypes about Muslims.” For example: “Muslim women are oppressed.”

And: “The Koran teaches hate.” Sorry, but these aren’t “stereotypes”; they’re hard facts. No, not every Muslim woman is oppressed, and not every word of the Koran teaches hate. But hundreds of millions of Muslim women are treated as less than second-class citizens – according to Islam, they’re the property of their husbands; their testimony in court is worth half that of a man; their husbands can rape, beat, and divorce them at will; and so on.

Eli Clifton

And all that nastiness about women accounts for only a fraction of the hate in the Koran, a book that American Muslims consistently misrepresents. There are certain lines of the Koran that are routinely yanked out of context in order to make Islam look benign: this film quotes several of them reliably. One guy actually tells us that the idea that one should “show mercy to those on earth” is “the cornerstone of what Islam teaches.” Indeed, American Muslims lays on the lies from beginning to end. Among the film’s talking heads is Eli Clifton, co-author of Fear Inc., a 2011 “report” that demonizes honest critics of Islamic ideology as purveyors of hate. The film is whitewashing, pure and simple.

Susan Sarandon

A more high-profile film fronted by Tutt is a 2011 documentary entitled Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World. Premiered at the Kennedy Center, broadcast a few month later on PBS, and narrated by Susan Sarandon, it’s part of a larger, long-term enterprise called “the Bridging Cultures: Muslim Journeys bookshelf.” And what exactly is that? It’s an initiative that, among other things, provides “[f]ree books and films” about Islam to libraries – another way of saying that it packs the shelves of public libraries with its brainwashing materials.

And the suckers are falling for it. In a 2012 interview (see bel0w) with Terrilynn Chun of the American Library Association, Tutt complained that for the previous eleven years Americans had been inundated with messages and images associating Islam with violence (gee, wonder why?), and said that in order to counter those messages and images the UPF was providing “humanizing stories about Muslims” that “dispel stereotypes.” (“Great!” replied a cheery Chun.) He added that the UPF also supplies this stuff to schools. (“Wonderful!” said Chun.) And it also distributes them to museums: Islamic Art, he added, had already been screened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and several other major U.S. art museums (in addition to being in the collections of over 500 libraries worldwide).

Meet Daniel Tutt, acolyte of both Marxism and Islam

Jonathan A. C. Brown

Yesterday we featured a follow-up on Jonathan A.C. Brown, the Muslim convert, Georgetown University professor, and full-time Islamic apologist who is wont to defend slavery and child bribes and who keeps throwing critics out of his lectures. Or, at least, one critic, Andrew Harrod, who recently recounted his expulsion by Brown from yet another Georgetown event. This latest episode introduced a new character into our story: one Daniel Tutt, whom Harrod identified as being associated both with Marymount University and with Unity Productions Foundation (UPF), “a producer of pro-Islam films.” It was Tutt who had invited Harrod to the event – obviously by mistake – and Tutt who, in Harrod’s presence, “obsequiously” apologized to Brown for having done so.

Daniel Tutt

Who is Daniel Tutt? In addition to having been involved since 2007 with the UPF, where he’s “Director of Programs and Producer,” and since December 2015 with Marymount, where he’s an adjunct professor of philosophy, he’s an “expert” at the Institute for Social Progress and Understanding (ISPU), whose website describes him as an “interfaith activist with a focus on anti-Muslim bigotry and interfaith dialogue.” But that’s not all: he’s alsothe project director for 20,000 Dialogues, a national interfaith and cross-cultural dialogue project sponsored by the Unity Productions Foundation.”

At UPF, according to its website, Tutt “has overseen and helped to develop lesson plans, curricula and websites including American Muslims: Facts vs. Fiction20,000 Dialogues, My Fellow American and Understanding Muslim Diversity.” Previously, he was “co-director of the 9/11 Unity Walk, a multi-city interfaith peace walk that brings faith communities together for dialogue and reconciliation.” He’s also been associated with the Points of Light Foundation and has been an “adviser” for “the Washington Region for Justice and Inclusion, the Muslim Advisory Arts Council of Americans for Informed Democracy, and the United Religions Initiative of Washington, DC.” You get the picture.

Alain Badiou

Tutt attended Southern Oregon University and American University before getting his Ph.D. in 2014 from the European Graduate School, where he wrote a dissertation about four postmodern philosophers – Alain Badiou, Slavoj Žižek, Ernesto Laclau, and Jean-Luc Nancy. On top of everything else, he’s also directed a film, Insurrections, about “the role of philosophy and thinking since the period of intensified rioting and protests beginning in August of 2010 in London and then continuing to Arab regions, before igniting in the Occupy Wall Street movements globally.”

Jean-Luc Nancy

The combination on Tutt’s curriculum vitae of postmodern academic pursuits and his involvement in Islamic propaganda projects – not to mention his making of a film which somehow, apparently, manages to fit into both categories – strongly suggests both that he’s a member of what’s sometimes called the red-green coalition, which brings together Communists and Muslims as strategic allies, and that he somehow manages the intellectual feat of having one foot in each camp. This fact becomes clearer the more closely one at Tutt’s work: this, one discovers, is a man who’s written with equal enthusiasm about Marx and Muhammed.

Want more details? Tune in tomorrow.