This is not an article from the Babylon Bee.
Arizona: Muslim Students Threaten to Kill Prof for Suggesting Islam Is Violent.
This will teach those Islamophobes that Islam is a religion of peace: a professor is facing death threats for suggesting otherwise. Nicholas Damask, Ph.D., has taught political science at Scottsdale Community College in Arizona for 24 years. But now he is facing a barrage of threats, and his family, including his 9-year-old grandson and 85-year-old parents, is in hiding, while College officials are demanding that he apologize – all for the crime of speaking the truth about the motivating ideology behind the threat of Islamic jihad worldwide.
Damask, who has an MA in International Relations from American University in Washington, D.C., and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Cincinnati, says he is “to my knowledge, the only tenured political science faculty currently teaching in Arizona to write a doctoral dissertation on terrorism.” He has taught Scottsdale Community College’s World Politics for each of the 24 years he has worked at the school.
Professor Damask’s troubles began during the current Spring semester, when a student took exception to three quiz questions. The questions were:
- Who do terrorists strive to emulate? A. Mohammed
- Where is terrorism encouraged in Islamic doctrine and law? A. The Medina verses [i.e., the portion of the Qur’an traditionally understood as having been revealed later in Muhammad’s prophetic career]
- Terrorism is _______ in Islam. A. justified within the context of jihad.
Damask explained: “All quiz questions on each of my quizzes, including the ones in question here, are carefully sourced to the reading material. On this quiz, questions were sourced to the Qur’an, the hadiths, and the sira (biography) of Mohammed, and other reputable source material.” And indeed, the three questions reflect basic facts that are readily established by reference to Islamic texts and teachings and numerous statements of terrorists themselves.
Despite this, the student emailed Damask to complain that he was “offended” by these questions, as they were “in distaste of Islam.” Damask recounted: “Until this point, notably, the student had expressed no reservations about the course material and indeed he said he enjoyed the course.”
Damask sent two lengthy emails to the student responding to his complaints, but to no avail. A social media campaign began against Damask on the College’s Instagram account. Damask notes: “An unrelated school post about a school contest was hijacked, with supporters of the student posting angry, threatening, inflammatory and derogatory messages about the quiz, the school, and myself.”
At this point, College officials should have defended Professor Damask and the principle of free inquiry, but that would require a sane academic environment. Scottsdale Community College officials, Damask said, “stepped in to assert on a new Instagram post that the student was correct and that I was wrong – with no due process and actually no complaint even being filed – and that he would receive full credit for all the quiz questions related to Islam and terrorism.”
On May 1, Damask had a conference call with Kathleen Iudicello, Scottsdale Community College’s Dean of Instruction, and Eric Sells, the College’s Public Relations Marketing Manager. Damask recalls: “I was not offered to write any part of the school’s response, and there was no discussion of academic freedom or whether the College was even supportive of me to teach about Islamic terrorism. The very first point I made with them on the call (and virtually the only input I had) is that I insisted that the College’s release was to have no mention of any actions to be required to be taken by me personally, I was very clear about that.”
Predictably, Iudicello and Sells ignored that. They issued an apology to the student and to the “Islamic community,” and stated on the College’s Instagram page that Damask would be “required” to apologize to the student for the quiz questions, as the questions were “inappropriate” and “inaccurate,” and would be permanently removed from Damask’s exams.
Damask also had three phone calls with Iudicello, who gave him a bracing introduction into today’s academic funhouse world, where if someone is offended by the truth, it’s the truth that has to be deep-sixed. “During one call with Iudicello,” Damask recounts, “she stated that my quiz questions were ‘Islamophobic,’ that before continuing to have any further class content on Islamic terrorism I would likely need to meet with an Islamic religious leader to go over the content, and that I would likely need to take a class (perhaps at Arizona State) taught by a Muslim before teaching about Islamic terrorism.”
“The irony here,” says Damask, “is that literally during this phone call, I and my wife were tossing socks and jammies and our nine-year-old grandson’s toys into a suitcase to get the hell out of the house because of the death threats made by Islamic commenters on the College’s Instagram page.”