September 18, 2014

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Muslim advocacy group calls for investigation by Oberlin College into lecturer’s ‘bigotry’

OBERLIN — The Cleveland chapter of the Council on America-Islamic Relations is asking Oberlin College to investigate a lecturer in the Arabic Language Department whom they say openly promotes “anti-Muslim bigotry and crude stereotypes of Muslims in his writings on campus.”

CAIR-Cleveland said lecturer Samir Amin Abdellatif is the publisher of a 290-page tract that “vilifies” Islam and Muslims. The organization said Abdellatif’s publication, entitled “The Unknown History of Islam,” promotes xenophobic views about Muslim immigration to the West, as well as supports “outlandish conspiracy theories.”

CAIR-Cleveland has requested that the college investigate Abdellatif’s teachings through a letter sent to Oberlin College President Marvin Krislov on March 11. In the letter, Shearson wrote, “We believe the reputation of Oberlin College is tarnished and students are done a disservice by having an Arabic language instructor who openly promotes anti-Muslim bigotry and who condones crude and ugly caricatures of Muslims.”

CAIR-Cleveland Executive Director Julia Shearson said CAIR has not heard back from the college.

“We’re very disappointed,” she said.

Oberlin College spokesman Scott Wargo declined to comment on the allegations against Abdellatif but he said, “The college is carefully considering the CAIR-Ohio letter and is in the process of determining how best to respond.”

Wargo would not say how long Abdellatif has worked at the college or if he has been the subject of any other complaints. The college’s website lists Abdellatif as a visiting assistant professor in the Arabic department.

A description of Abdellatif’s book “The Unknown History of Islam” on Amazon.com describes it as one that “exposes the radical extremists who tarnish the peaceful religion of Islam,” as well as exposes “the goals and plans of terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, Taliban, Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and The Muslim Brotherhood.

“The book also shows how peaceful Muslims who are the sweeping majority of Muslims become victims to those extremists and terrorists. … This book is a rational analysis of the past and present of Islam, the authenticity of the Quran, the life of Muslims under Sharia law, and the control of the clergy over the lives of Muslims, but it warns of the lurking danger of radical Islam that might jeopardize human civilization if it is not stopped immediately,” according to the description.

Shearson said she has read “The Unknown History of Islam,” and while she supports freedom of speech through the First Amendment, she does not support a person with anti-Islamic views in a teaching position.

Shearson said she believes Abdellatif is promoting his views as scholarly research.

“Our interest is really the credibility of this person,” she said.

CAIR has spoken out against numerous sections of the book, including portions that allegedly read, “Islam is an ideology of control, not for human and brotherly love,” and “Muslims would try to force their values and traditions on others callously. They would force their neighbors to cover their heads; otherwise they taunt them for not being modest; Muslim teachers would try to make their Christian students pray according to their Islamic religion.”

Shearson said those are portions of the book that promote incorrect stereotypes of the culture.
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding, according to the organization.

Shearson, who said CAIR often becomes involved in civil rights issues, said the organization was alerted to the alleged anti-Muslim writing by Oberlin College professor Ali Yedes, who sued the college in 2011 for workplace discrimination. That case was later dismissed.

Yedes is at the center of another case through the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas. He was accused of harassing professor Eunjung An, who is suing the college for allegedly failing to address what An called a hostile work environment.

The lawsuit alleges that Yedes made several threats toward An beginning Jan. 18, 2006, when he accused An of “betraying him,” and he allegedly told her that in his culture, he could have the department’s chairwoman killed for postponing his tenure. The lawsuit said at the end of the “tirade,” Yedes “tightly hugged” An.

Shearson said that lawsuit is troubling because Oberlin College is reportedly using testimony from Abdellatif in its bid to remove Yedes, a Muslim professor who is chairman of the Arabic language program.

According to CAIR, Yedes is a long-time professor at Oberlin and has encouraged programs to increase dialogue on campus, including the promotion of an interfaith center in which the Torah and the Quran are both recited at the Jewish Sabbath services.

The organization said Yedes is known for his promotion of interreligious understanding on campus.
Yedes’ attorney, Alan Kraus, said he is fighting the college to make sure that Yedes maintains his job after what he called erroneous statements made toward Yedes by Abdellatif. He said Yedes has worked at the college for more than a decade, while Abdellatif has been there less than a year.

“Mr. Abdellatif has made several untrue and defamatory statements regarding professor Yedes, including that he is anti-Semitic and a misogynist. Perhaps the most-egregious claim by Mr. Addellatif is that he claims that Professor Yedes told him that he planned to have another faculty member killed,” he said. “This terrible false accusation, which has been repeated countless (times) in other newspapers and by others on the Internet, has ruined professor Yedes’ good name and has fanned the flame of religious hatred and intolerance. It is a grave injustice that these untrue accusations by Mr. Abdellatif may cause professor Yedes to lose his job.”

The reported move to remove Yedes comes at the heels of Yedes’ discrimination case in which a U.S. District Court judge dismissed several claims but noted that there was no evidence of an investigation into alleged discriminatory remarks that were made from a colleague in the French department to Yedes.

According to court documents, that professor allegedly called Yedes a “terrorist” and made other derogatory statements, which Yedes said were reported to Oberlin College.

Abdellatif also has reported threats after filing an internal complaint against another teacher. He called police after an unknown man knocked on his door at around 2 a.m. Nov. 20 and told him to drop the complaint against the other teacher, “or else he will have to file other things and make things difficult for him,” according to a police report.

Abdellatif said the unknown man spoke in Arabic and left immediately when asked to come inside. He believed the man was sent by the other professor, who was not identified in the police report, to deliver the message.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @ChelseaMillerCT.

 


  • kmzi

    Someone should start believing that academic freedom is the freedom to have an adverse opinion which isn’t at all popular with the Muslims.

  • alreadyfedup1

    This is still the United States of America where you can have an opposite opinion.

    • SniperFire

      You know what? That right is absolutely under attack by the thought police.

  • golfingirl

    So much for the First Amendment. Tolerate of Ron Jeremy and protective of his First Amendment rights, but don’t criticize a Muslim.

    If they truly believed in the First Amendment, they would invite Wayne LaPierre, from the NRA, to come in to speak to the Second Amendment.

    Liberals, gotta love ‘em!

    Hypocrisy at its finest!

    • wow

      you just kinda repeat things you’ve heard, whether relevant or on-topic or not, huh? you’re not real big on original thought i suppose – just sort of a big ole bag of hot air pretty much.

      • Sis Delish

        Are you affiliated with CAIR Ohio, by chance?

        • wow

          nope. i don’t really know anything about CAIR Ohio, but based on what i read here, it sounds like it’s more or less a bad joke. are you affiliated with any original thoughts, by chance?

          • Sis Delish

            Ignorance is No Defense.

          • Lou

            Sis “not so delish” wtf is your big hang up with oberlin? Seriously.

          • Sis Delish

            Hey, Lou… please tell us what you know about CAIR and their stance on women, gays and homos. Perhaps then, you’ll glean a “smidgen” of an idea where these folks will take your prized community in a very short timeframe if they are successuful in their intimidation with this story.

            Until then, i’m putting you high on Sis’s Fan Club listing of pseudo-celebrity wanabe stalkers and Deputy Troll-trainee. along with the other newly minted posters.

    • Bob Owens

      Ron Jeremy was at Oberlin College as a guest of a LIBERTARIAN group. Like wow just said, all you do is repeat stuff.

      • golfingirl

        Yes he was. This shows the Libertarians are open to other’s points of view and tolerant of other’s opinions.

        So your point is what again?

        Oh, and by the way, that little dash, next to the flag. If you simply click on it you don’t have to see my posts. I bet you can’t do it can you? Simply can’t resist the temptation to read what I write, can you?

        We will find out soon enough. If I ever receive another response from you, I will then know you are truly compelled to read my posts, much like a heroin addict feels a need for the needle in the arm. You know it isn’t good for you, but you just can’t stop.

        Have a nice weekend.

    • michelle

      Are there any other wingnuts you would like to add to the guest speaker list?

      • Sis Delish

        michelle, that you?

        Your hubby is the worst president ever!

      • golfingirl

        Sure, Ted Nugent would be quite entertaining.

        I would love to see him answering questions from an Oberlin College crowd.

        I would even attend that one, though I would need to a dose of Benadryl before I could enter the campus, since I am allergic to Radical Liberals.

        • LOLOLOL

          Courtney, Ted Nugent is a child molester that crapped his pants to avoid being drafted.

          Thats the guy you want to back?

          • golfingirl

            I was joking.

            But it would be funny to him in front of that group.

  • bpbatista

    CAIR is an apologist for Islamic terrorism.

  • Sis Delish

    CAIR is a bag of gas.

    Fast-forward 10 years from now if CAIR and its sympathizers are successful here… they will addressing the issue of LGBT on Campus as against Muslim Teachings..

    I’ll be there front and center for THAT letter.

    • Ishmael_137

      Ten years from now, the sword will be sharper than the pen.

      • Sis Delish

        … if they still use pens…

  • Joe Smith

    Free speech baby!

  • Jimmy James

    BooH, Who funds cair? Not all terrorist are muslim but the majority of terrorist attacks that have occured here and abroad were carried out by muslims. 9/11,boston bombings, the shoe bomber, Ft.hood nidal hassan shooting,.etc. In the majority of islamic countries speaking out against islam will have you killed, But were told they dont hate us for our values.. Ok…because they are so tolerant towards gays in Iran, and women are totally free. Hey lets bash christians though.. ha ha

    • SniperFire

      ‘ Not all terrorist are muslim ‘

      Well, almost all of them are.

  • Bruce Tennant

    at least they didn’t issue a fatwa against him

    • http://pislamonauseacentral.blogspot.com/ Gary Rumain

      All it takes is one imam to issue a fartwa but they can’t pull that nonsense in dar al-harb. But any imam back home in dar al-pislam can issue one.

  • Ishmael_137

    Criticizing Islamic terrorists strikes a nerve in CAIR, just as it does when anyone critisizes how women are treated, as if it applied to CAIR specifically…I am sure there is a reason for that.

    • http://pislamonauseacentral.blogspot.com/ Gary Rumain

      It’s why they’ve been working overtime to get the Honor Diaries banned.

  • LarrySingleton

    How we’ve allowed these terror affiliated scum into our society is a national disgrace. The Soviets are kicking over the furniture thinking about how successful the Islamists have been in infiltrating our government, schools and universities and how they are literally dictating everything from national security to FBI training. We should be hounding these rats back to the sewers where they belong.

    Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld, (CAIR and the Muslim
    Brotherhood), That’s Conspiring to Islamize America by Gaubatz and
    Sperry

    Getting to Know the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
    http://www.danielpipes.org/biblio_cair.php (Assorted articles)

    CAIR: Islamists Fooling the Establishment by Daniel Pipes and Sharon Chadha
    (MEQ article)
    meforum-org/916/cair-islamists-fooling-the-establishment#_ftnref60

    BecauseThey Hate: A Survivor of Islamic Terror Warns America by Brigitte
    Gabriel

    Indoctrination U: The Left’s War Against Academic Freedom and The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America by David Horowitz

    Ivory Towers On Sand: The Failure of Middle Eastern Studies in America by
    Martin Kramer

    The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men by
    Christina Hoff Sommers

  • michelle

    This news sorely tests my tolerance for all beliefs. CAIR can say what they want, Oberlin College hopefully will be able to ignore them and carry on, they have no business dictating curriculum.

    • http://pislamonauseacentral.blogspot.com/ Gary Rumain

      Unfortunately, CAIR’s business is to force the dhimmis to comply to its will.

  • oldruss

    This column from The Boston Globe (the more liberal of the two Boston dailies) puts CAIR into perspective.

    See, http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2014/04/11/where-feminist-anger-brandeis/0EsU60OhyLPk3thM2TuoNJ/story.html