Saturday, June 28, 2014

University professor quits position after school refuses to help him squelch Islamic radicalization in his class

Aaron Hughs now teaches in the US, but his ordeal is not unique on college campuses either here or abroad.  DR. Hughs has a PhD in Islamic studies and yet had to flee the University of Calgary because his fellow teachers, staff and administration did not want to support him in his claims of radicalization and anti-semitism he was experiencing from students both within and outside of his classes.

This is but another example, in the ever-expanding pantheon of examples that shows how Islam spreads through intimidation, fear and the not so veiled threats of violence.

We will continue to see more of this.

From the Calgary Herald June 25 by Reid Southwick

Students' extremist views pushed professor out of U of C

A former professor at the University of Calgary says he left his tenured position after colleagues refused to respond to his concerns with students spreading radical Muslim views.

Aaron Hughes, a prolific author on religion who holds a PhD on Islamic studies, said he once found a message scrawled in Arabic across his classroom’s chalkboard endorsing Islamic Jihad and Hamas, widely considered a terrorist group by western countries.

Hughes, who is Jewish, said he interpreted the message as anti-Semitic, but he said the university declined to remove the offending student from his class.

“I would have to go teach this class as a victim staring my aggressor in the face,” he said.

Hughes, who now teaches at the University of Rochester, said he’s not surprised by reports of Calgarians travelling abroad to fight with extremist groups, given what he experienced. He wondered whether influences on university campuses are helping to fuel this movement of young men waging jihad in Syria and Iraq.

The professor and researcher said he also saw a young Muslim stand up during a University of Calgary memorial service for the 9/11 terrorist attacks to say, “Islam will always stand up for those who are dispossessed.” Later, he saw a student wearing a Hamas headband.

Hughes’ comments have again highlighted fears of homegrown radicalization in Calgary and raised questions about the line that divides freedom of expression from hate speech.

While a local Muslim leader denounced radical calls for violence against other religions, the University of Calgary said it promotes free and open debate of ideas and provides a safe environment for students, faculty and staff on campus.

In a written statement, the university said its student code of conduct and a new office of diversity and protected disclosure are designed to help people who believe they are being harassed or threatened.

“Campus security steps in when there is an issue of safety and work directly with Calgary police,” the statement read.

“To ensure the fastest action, we also encourage anyone with concerns regarding illegal or terrorist activity to contact Calgary police or the Canadian Security Intelligence Service directly. These agencies are in the best position to assess and act on any perceived risks to public safety.”

But Hughes said the university did nothing when he reported he was uncomfortable teaching religion in what he considered a hostile environment before he left the university in 2009. He said he had also become concerned with conservative views he heard in his Islamic studies classes where he said students advanced a narrow view of Islam, decrying scholars as heretics and certain fields of study as non-Muslim.

Hughes said he had asked his department to allow him to teach another subject, but officials declined his request.

“Ultimately, the reason I left the University of Calgary is because my colleagues gave me no support.”

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