Sunday, March 27, 2011

Why the US media is enamored with Akbar Ahmed (and why the NYT has decided that this British "Sir" speaks for US Muslims)

Sarah sent me this: "Was browsing my old uni's website to see how badly the Arab Studies department has been decimated while the Israel Studies department grows.  Anyway, I noticed while browsing the Israel Studies website the latest newsletter which features Akbar Ahmed, who of course is a professor at AU, hugging Michael Oren.  I've attached it to the email.  Source here:   It was in April 2010.  In fact, Ahmed did the intro to Oren's speech and you can watch the intro here:  He calls Oren "a man who can bring peace to a troubled region of the world" LOL   At around 4:20 he says that through his Jewish friends he learned about how attached these friends are to the land of Israel and how Israel is more than a country to his Jewish friends, "it is the expression of their religious and cultural identity."  AND OH MY GOD - he actually states this at around 5:20 when he brings up the demographics of the Middle East, "Within this century, the population of 100s of millions of discontented Muslims surrounding Israel will double." And that's why Israel needs to make peace.  So then Oren starts talking and says that Ahmed has done so much to establish bridges between Israel and the surrounding Muslim nations and that the State of Israel is very appreciative of his efforts.   OH GOD - Oren then says how happy he is that Israeli Studies has been fully integrated with the Middle East Studies program at AU.  However, as far as I can remember, Middle East studies is a brand new creation at AU and it has been Arab Studies for a while.  They *tried* to integrate Israel studies with Arab studies by making the head of Israel studies the head of Arab studies (ugh) but the Arab Studies professors all collectively went "what the hell" and that was stopped.  Arab Studies is still a stand alone program.  But from what I can see, there are hardly any Arab Studies courses at the university anymore. "