By Lee Kaplan Contributor to Shoebat.com
Hatem Bazian is a senior lecturer in Near East Studies at UC Berkeley. A Palestinian Arab, Bazian is also a supporter of Hamas and one of the terrorist group’s apparatchiks in the United States. Bazian was the founder of the Students for Justice in Palestine which has chapters on over 80 campuses in the United States and that operates as a Hamas support network in the United States. Bazian also co-founded American Muslims for Palestine which also links to Hamas and functions as a propaganda and fundraising mechanism to Hamas in Washington and is active with the Muslim Students Association on over 150 campuses in the United States and Canada. As an organizer, Bazian is tough to equal and he has used the California college educational system and its taxpayer-funded deep pockets to help facilitate massive propaganda events and fundraising not only for the Palestinian terrorist group, but for pro-jihadist groups across American campuses and Europe as well.
It is through his bully pulpit at UC Berkeley that Bazian also created his Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project at UC Berkeley’s Center for Race and Gender Project. Racism and Sexism are hot topics on college campuses today. The fact that Islam is not a race, nor is a concept of Palestinian nationalism one, both of theories are being sold by Bazian and his acolytes in the university sphere worldwide. Thanks to UC Berkeley and surrounding colleges like San Francisco State (where Bazian did his undergraduate studies and led a Palestinian takeover of that campus as class president), Bazian’s campaign keeps gaining legitimacy as it aids the endless war against both the United States and Israel by militant Islamists including those who are fighting U.S. troops abroad.
A perusal of the websites for Baizan’s “documentation project” and the Center for Race and Gender events page at UC Berkeley reveals endless programs, lectures, events and other promotions dealing with alleged prejudice against all Muslims and “Islam” in America as endemic racism. On May 7th, the Center offers a book signing and lecture by a colleague of Bazian’s at Cal who claims American racism is the result of a refusal to establish a Palestinian state that would be led by notorious terrorists who support America’s and Israel’s downfall, such as Hamas.
“Islamophobia” refers to an irrational fear of Islam. It is supposedly to counter this irrational fear that Bazian staged April 23-25, 2015 his sixth annual “International Conference on Islamophobia: The State of the Islamophobia Field.” As done last year, the event was staged at UC Berkeley’s prestigious Boalt Hall Law School. Aside from providing a free venue at a distinguished law school, the event gets the entire imprimatur of one of the most distinguished universities in America. Other “sponsors” of the event included the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), who members of congress and terrorism experts have declared a Hamas front group in America. The “Ethnic Studies” department at San Francisco State was also a sponsor, a professor of “Resistance Studies” named Rebab Abdulhadi in attendance and one of the conference lecturers who had gained notoriety by spending $6,000 of California taxpayer’s money for a sabbatical to visit female terrorist Leila Khaled in jail in Jordan to “show solidarity.” It should also be noted Hatem Bazian posted personally the conference’s schedule on the website of Bay Area Intifada, a blog that claims to promote “News, Updates, Analysis & Action Alerts for 3rd World Liberation & Decolonization from the Bay Area & Beyond.” An Intifada refers to Palestinian terrorist attacks that have killed thousands of Israeli civilians. The blog features photos attacking Israel and the United States.
I attended this latest conference with a video camera and tape recorder. I did the same thing last year and sat almost next to Hatem Bazian the entire time. Bazian was very cocky back then during last year’s event and joked about my having recorders. I wrote an article about that event. Only last March, Bazian staged yet another “Islamophobia” conference where he claimed Muslims were being denied a voice for their “studies” in the American university system despite his constant conferences and demonstrations to the contrary that I previously reported on and recorded.
Things were to be different at this conference. Bazian had me watched closely. On the second day, he approached me in the audience and told me I had to turn off my recorders. On two more occasions during that day, two goons came to my seat and ordered me to turn off my recording equipment , the last one threatening to “call the police.” It is against state law in California universities to hold private meetings and prevent recordings and a quick cell call to the Chancellor’s Office who contacted the campus police prevented any problems. I noted this occurred after one of the attendees during a question and answer period addressed the current panel and asked to discuss how the “Zionists” (Jews) were responsible for contributing to Islamophobia in America and how a Jewish organization was sending people to Israel to learn public relations that could be deemed as contributing to Islamophobia and how the New York police department was being propagandized by Jews.
From the get go, the accusation that criticism of Islam was racism was a central theme of the entire conference. Discrimination of women was also frequently discussed, but never in the context of Islamic exclusion of women or issues such as honor killings.
Bazian kicked things off accusing certain reporters and writers of contributing to Islamophobia. He dropped the names of Steve Emerson, Frank Gaffney and Ayan Hisri Ali, Brigette Gabriel and Pamela Geller as well as Fox News as being responsible for what he claimed was a smearing Islam to the public. Ayan Hirsi Ali’s speeches on discriminatory practices against women were all branded as “lies.” All the opening panels suggested that Islam is in no way linked to terrorism and it is the misrepresentation by such “Islamophobes” and it is racism to suggest so. What struck me was that as the conference progressed over three days it became more like a meeting of the German-American Bund in support of the Third Reich before the Second World War.
Baizan and company discussed only fleetingly the attack on 9/11 and how the Patriot Act supposedly had a deleterious effect on Muslims in America. But there was no logic to this. The fact is, the day after 9/11 the President and the US government declared that Islam is a peaceful religion and that the US was not at war with Islam itself, only militant Islamists and terrorists. This is still the US government’s position, yet the “academics” at this conference chose to suggest that any opposition to terrorism at all was just another manifestation of “Islamophobia.”
Of interest also was that Islam was not defined as a major religion, or idea, with different sects at this conference . What about Wahhabism? Or Sufi Islam, Shiism or Sunni Islam? None of these differences were discussed or explained, nor the fact that different sects of Islam sometimes fight wars between themselves. The entire conference was a “them v. us” event where any criticism or negative discussion of Islam was branded “Islamophobia,” particularly in the US or Western Europe. Terrorism wasn’t discussed at all unless to accuse the US and West of terrorism, or of false accusations against all Muslims, and no mention was given of terrorism where Muslims killed other Muslims. ISIS was not discussed at all. The Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris were mentioned, but not in terms of their relationship to Islam as much as something westerners brought upon themselves.
Almost fifty presentations were made as examples of Islamophobia from presenters from across the United States and some even from Europe. But not all were academics or college professors or PhD candidates. Some, like Ramah Kudaimi from the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, which is the renamed International Solidarity Movement in the US, another pro-Hamas organization whose activists devote their full-time calling for the destruction of Israel and who support terrorist groups, promoted what she called the Adab, or Muslim-American etiquette to promote Islamic activism against the West and American support for Israel. Sana Saeed, a producer for Al Jazeera, the television network funded by Qatar, a Hamas funder, lectured on “The New American Muslim and Faithwashing the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” in which she called for Muslims to meet their obligations to call for the continued attacks on Israel rather than outlining Islamophobia in the US. Bazian followed where he lectured on “How does it feel to be a Muslim? Thinking through the present colonial perspective. His speech was hardly an example of Islamophobia as much as an adversarial approach by Muslims in America to be at odds with the US government and those fighting militant Islam.
“Free ‘em all!,” Rasheed Shabazz who was listed as a Fellow at the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at UC Berkeley, one of the program sponsors, shouted at the start of his presentation. “Free ‘em all!”
Most of all those in attendance shouted back, “Free ‘em all!” The call was to free black Muslim converts on death row who were awaiting execution for murdering police officers in the United States, but it was later explained as a call to free all black prisoners in US Prisons, victims of the police and government conspiracies. Shabazz, who has associated with the Black Panthers in Oakland, California, was a Black studies major at UC Berkeley who has been active in claiming police departments in the U.S. routinely murder black people. His lecture tied into Islam by pointing out black convicts on death row who had converted to Islam in promoting their desires to be released. Somehow this was to be another example of Islamophobia in America directed at the black community. Shabazz explained that “African Muslims were historically discriminated against due to their desire and ability to rebel against slavery” and that “state repression against black revolutionaries (notably through COINTELPRO, an FBI program),” resulted in “mass incarceration as a continuation of enslavement of the black proletariat.” He declared the “Post 9/11 ‘War on Terror’ campaign was to prevent radicalization” in the United States, not to prevent terror attacks, saying the narrative in the US government is to associate African Americans with terrorism. He further maintained that black Muslims brought from Africa have always fought repression by the United States and that repression being practiced against Muslims in the US today is a continuation of this practice. Historically this flew in the face of the fact most slaves brought to the US in the 19th century adopted Christianity from their slaveholders or were animists, their being kidnapped and sold as slaves was actually the result of actions by Muslim slave traders in Africa. Considering this was supposed to be an academic conference, rewriting history to promote Marxist revolutionary goals then linking same to Islamophobia hardly seemed an educational experience. Shabazz continued by introducing black Muslims on death rows in the US using words like “captured,” or “set up by police” as explanations for their incarcerations. The first mentioned was Jalil Muntaqin who Shabazz explained was in prison for life after he was “captured” because he was a member of the “Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army.” Muntaqin was in reality prosecuted for murdering a police officer at a traffic stop. Next was Mumia Abu Jamal who is serving a life sentence for murdering Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner whom he straddled during a traffic stop then shot point blank in the face. Jamal was sentenced to death, but after endless appeals had his sentence reduced to life imprisonment. Jamal has used his prison time to develop a radical following over radio over the years. Finally, Shabazz introduced the audience to prisoner imam Jamal Al-Amin, the former H. Rap Brown who is also serving a life sentence for murdering an Atlanta police officer during a routine traffic stop. Shabazz told the audience that Al-Amin was set up by the Atlanta Police to kill the officer so he could be imprisoned for his political views. Shabazz made it a point to leave out the fact that the officer murdered was a black man. Shabazz then quoted from black female radical Assata Shakur, who also murdered a police officer during a traffic stop and has been hiding out in Cuba for the many years. Shakur was quoted as saying , “ I always said if I had any religion, it was Islam, but I never practiced it.” Shabazz acknowledged he owed a debt of gratitude to UC Berkeley’s Center for Race and Gender and Bazian’s Islamophobia Conference for allowing him to pitch his lecture in support of black “Muslims” who murdered so many police officers at traffic stops. Shabazz began his lecture suggesting there is a separate state called Afrika for blacks radicals to be carved out of the southern states in “Amerikka”. Suggesting such a things as the acceptability of murdering police officers and breaking up the United States apparently didn’t fall within Shabazz’s concept of perhaps causing“Islamophobia.” At the conclusion of his presentation , Rasheed asked the audience, “What do want?” “Free ‘em all” shouted the majority of the audience.
California taxpayers who are footing the bill for this would never know these things which might explain why Bazian tried to stop me from recording. Readers can view part of Shabazz’s lecture here.
One of the most disturbing things about this event were the panels that discussed Islamophobia in the Media, particularly in Hollywood. Jamal Dajani, who was introduced as “a Peabody award winning news producer, journalist and filmmaker and Middle East analyst” spoke on “The debasement and vilification of Muslims in Hollywood and the US media.” His presentation was one of the most disturbing of the event. DIjani ran several images from Fox TV where he claimed the hosts had called for killing or attacking Muslims in the War on Terror and went on to attack comedian Bill Mahr who spoke on television about jihadism. On the surface, one might think US television media was attacking all Muslims needlessly. What Dijani did not reveal though was such statements were made in shows discussing ISIS and terrorist attacks in Iraq and Syria, not Muslim-American ciitzens in the US who are law abiding. Dijani then attacked the Hollywood film hit American Sniper, calling the film an example of Islamophobia. “Chris Kyle, the American sniper, “called those he was fighting “savages,” he said, as an example of media bias against Muslims. The American Sniper in fact fought against some Muslims who were murdering other Muslims every day yet for him to criticize his opponents who killed his fellow American soldiers was deemed by Dijani to be anti-Islamic. Dijani was no different than a member of the Bund before World War II voicing support for SS soldiers killing their way across Europe. To him, Muslims who kill American soldiers should be not be criticized because it is “anti-Islamic.” He also cited the Brad Pitt horror film World War Z and also being an example of bias against Muslims. The film, about a zombie epidemic had a scene in Jerusalem where zombies break through the security barrier holding them back. Just before this scene, busloads of Palestinian Arabs who we can assume were Muslims were being brought into Jerusalem by Israeli military escort to protect them from zombie hoards. The Palestinians break into peace songs and dancing, waving Palestinian flags along with their Israeli hosts which certainly negates any criticism of Islam. The subsequent noise awakens the zombies nearby who attack everybody, and the IDF tries to protect the Palestinians but are overrun themselves. In neither of these films was Islam mentioned or implied to be responsible nor the enemy, in fact, the opposite was the case. But Dijani would have the audience believe Hollywood was denigrating Islam. Apparently, Dijani sees criticism of ISIS as an example of Islamophobia. DIjani’s lecture can be seen by clicking here.
Farah Weheba, an educator from Stanford lectured along with other speakers at the conference that Muslims in the US have been discriminated against unfairly since 9/11 despite FBI statistics that show the opposite is true. Weheba’s lecture can be viewed here.
Rather than being an educational event to increase understanding of Islam and communication in a university setting, the event really was a support rally for the likes of Hamas and Islamic movements at war with the United States, its true purpose to cast Muslims in general as victims of American racism and injustice. Considering this was the second such conference this year in as many months put on by Hatem Bazian, the Chancellor’s Office and UC Regents really need to take a hard look at Bazian’s handiwork in creating these events and his use of taxpayer facilities to promote a myth of “racism” against Islam in America that includes prejudice against black Americans also who murder police officers. The event was not education but indoctrination and manipulation for a specifically Muslim audience of radicals.