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Posted in: Culture Wars & Censorship, Free Speech

Published on May 07, 2017 by Robert Spencer

Written for Jihad Watch

Left-fascists at University of Arkansas cancel speaker because she cowrote pamphlet with Robert Spencer 10 years ago


“In expressing concerns with Chesler, faculty cited her writings on ‘the ultra-right Breitbart forum’ and her role as co-author of a pamphlet, The Violent Oppression of Women in Islam, with Robert Spencer, ‘considered by the Southern Poverty Law Center to be ‘one of America’s most prolific and vociferous anti-Muslim propagandists,’ the email stated.”

Chesler is defending UA prof Tom Paradise, who was responsible for getting her canceled. She is apparently unaware that he wrote to colleagues that he was “delighted” that she had been cancelled. Paradise has now been suspended, which is unusual in light of the fact that his delight was no doubt shared by the overwhelming majority of his colleagues. Now he should be fired, as should all of his colleagues who supported this cancellation, especially Joel Gordon, Mohja Kohf and Ted Swedenburg, who called upon UA’s King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies to withdraw its support for Chesler’s appearance, which led directly to her being cancelled.

The stigmatization and silencing of dissenting voices on campuses nationwide is inconsistent with the very idea of a university, which is supposed to be a place where ideas are accepted or dismissed on their merits alone. Chesler was canceled because, among other things, she cowrote a pamphlet with me ten years ago. That’s a very remote association, and is akin to the Nazi Brownshirts getting professors fired because it was discovered that they had a Jewish great-grandmother. Apparently now everyone who has ever said a kind word to me or stood in a room with me is to be deprived of all professional opportunities and stigmatized as a “bigot” and an “Islamophobe.” This is reminiscent of the Stalinist purges, and all the more shameful for taking place at a university.

Meanwhile, did Gordon, Kohf, and Swedenburg present any evidence that what we said in that pamphlet was false? No. Apparently all they said about it was this: “The pamphlet was published by David Horowitz’ Freedom Center, which frequently targets students and scholars for speaking out about justice for Palestinians.” More guilt by association: now Chesler is being tarred not only with my supposed enormities, but with those of David Horowitz as well.

The professors went on: “The pamphlet is a catalogue of horrors inflicted on women that are said to be the outcome of Islam’s essential nature. ‘Islamic gender apartheid,’ Chesler and Spencer write, ‘is not caused by western imperialism, colonialism, or racism. It is indigenous to Islam both theologically and historically.’” Do they present any evidence to show this is false? Apparently not: after the manner of Leftist academics and spokesmen everywhere, they present their perspective as if its truth were self-evident. They don’t have to refute dissenting views. They just have to show that they’re right-wing. What’s more, do they present any evidence that the Southern Poverty Law Center is a neutral and impartial arbiter of what constitutes “hate” and what doesn’t? Of course not. Leftists never consider it incumbent upon them to demonstrate the truth of what they claim.

This authoritarian demonization and suppression of opposing perspectives is quintessentially fascist, and contrary to the core purpose of a university. Enough is enough. The University of Arkansas has done well to suspend Paradise. Now he, Gordon, Kohf, Swedenburg and all the other fascist professors at UA should be fired. UA should follow through on its suspension by reaffirming the lost idea that a university should allow for and protect the freedom of speech. No Stalinists should be allowed to terrorize their opponents. Because I believe in the freedom of speech and the importance of free discourse, I hereby challenge any or all of these professors — Paradise, Gordon, Kohf, and/or Swedenburg — to a debate on the status of women under Sharia. I am willing to debate all four of them at once. I will travel to UA at my own expense. But will they accept? Of course they won’t.

“UA professor suspended after speech cancellation a scapegoat, author says,” by Jaime Adame, Arkansas Online, May 5, 2017:

FAYETTEVILLE — A longtime University of Arkansas, Fayetteville professor suspended from administrative duties is “being scapegoated,” said Phyllis Chesler, the author whose cancelled Skype presentation led UA to take action against the director of the university’s Middle East studies center.

The university on Wednesday suspended Tom Paradise pending an internal review of the decision to cancel Chesler’s scheduled talk at an academic symposium last month on honor-based violence.

Chesler, known for remarks critical of Islam, has written that academics wrongly ignore the role of Islam when discussing honor killings and similar violence taking place in Western countries.

“I think that Tom Paradise is being scapegoated for those who bullied, intimidated, terrified, and forced him to dis-invite me,” Chesler said in an email. “He did nothing wrong. He actually apologized to me rather profusely and humanely.”…

UA spokesman Mark Rushing, in a statement Wednesday, said Paradise canceled Chesler’s appearance “without informing leadership.” His faculty pay and status are not affected by the suspension, only his pay and responsibilities as director of UA’s King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies….

An email dated April 7 to Paradise — a week before the symposium — from UA professor Joel Gordon also lists professors Mohja Kohf and Ted Swedenburg as authors.
It states that faculty ask the center to “publicly withdraw its sponsorship from this symposium.”

The message states that faculty members earlier had asked the center to “provide, via Skype, a qualified speaker to follow Chesler’s remarks,” with the request “deemed not feasible.”

In expressing concerns with Chesler, faculty cited her writings on “the ultra-right Breitbart forum” and her role as co-author of a pamphlet, The Violent Oppression of Women in Islam, with Robert Spencer, “considered by the Southern Poverty Law Center to be ‘one of America’s most prolific and vociferous anti-Muslim propagandists,'” the email stated.

Additional records show Paradise responding to faculty in Middle East studies, sometimes referred to with the acronym MEST.

Hello MEST faculty and staff, we’ve been successful in removing Dr. Chesler from the schedule of the upcoming symposium on honor-based violence,” Paradise said in an April 9 email sent to 12 people. Records released by UA show a draft from Paradise, not sent to all faculty and staff, that used the phrase “I’m delighted that we’ve been successful.”

Swedenburg, in a Thursday phone interview, disputed the idea that he, Kohf and Gordon worked to get Chesler kicked off the program.

“We did not call for her to be disinvited and how that happened, I don’t really know, because none of the three of us were a party to that discussion,” Swedenburg said….

Come now, Swedenburg. Take some responsibility for your own actions, and own up to your fascism.


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