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“What Happened To Affirmative Action?”

M. Reza Behnam seems to have been writing this op-ed for the ODE while wearing a stylish tinfoil hat. The issue at hand is the absence of a major in Islamic Studies at the UO. Well, that’s not quite the issue – it’s more the presence of a different major…

What forces led to the inclusion of Judaic studies while excluding Islamic studies? … Are [non-Muslim social science professors] at all responsible for the inclusion of Judaic studies and exclusion of degree programs in Islamic and Middle Eastern studies?

Notice that the very presence of a Judaic Studies major – established via a private endowment, with a whopping two faculty members, and offering (along with a sequence in basic Hebrew) three lecture courses that look to be of quite general interest – constitutes de facto “exclusion” of Islamic Studies.

And the bigoted University establishment won’t stop at this act of exclusion, of course:

Is the plan to hire a specialist on medieval Islam and occasional conferences and special programs on the Middle East a prophylactic exercise to disguise the racism and favoritism of faculty members?

Will the exclusion never end? They’re even hiring a specialist on medieval Islam, the devious bastards.

I’m quite sympathetic to the idea that the UO should offer a major in Islamic Studies under the general social science umbrella, and I’m sure that, if there’s sufficient interest from the student body, this’ll come to pass. What’s more, hiring experts in medieval Islam – besides helping disguise the fact that all the professors who study other things are obviously terrible racists – will help foster this interest. You’d think that people who actually want this to happen would be all for expanding course offerings for students in the social sciences or religious studies – after all, the more pluralistic these faculties are, the more chance they have of attracting undergraduates. It is, however, possible that there is another policy goal here:

Until then, in the interest of balance and fairness, Judaic studies should suspend operations.

Ah. I should have guessed, really.

UPDATE: The ODE feedback forum presents an exciting pop quiz:

“Do you not see the parallel between the black civil rights movement of the 60’s and the rights of the muslim community now?”


“So do you blame the Catholic diocese for its wayward child molesters?”


And so on.

  1. Andy says:

    The problem we face is an economic one in regards to what should or shouldn’t be taught. The government has forced this institution upon us, and we should make the best of the circumstances, but we live in a democracy and unfortunately my say is as much as yours. While I’m not advocating ignorance in religious matters, I would have to say there are much better subjects to devote valuable class time to. In the next issue I have a suggestion, but more seriously I would point to the lack of math and civics knowledge in the post-baccs.

    The ODE increases anger and stereotypes of most campus and national conflicts – to this end they care consistent in their publication.

  2. emily says:

    Olly, just to point something out briefly the professor that you speak of being hired was a man who was here for three years and left for a much better position at another university (which is sad because he was a great professor). The Religious Studies department has as of yet have not found a replacement, although there will be a first year Arabic sequence avalible at the university next year (le sigh).

    And Andy, yeah, the guy was not eloquent or diplomatic (and biggoted, I will not disagree); but there are tons of Indonesian and Malaysian students at this university that also practice Islam besides Arab peoples who people are typically associate with the religion. What the administration at this university cannot seem to get through its head is that education on religion should be a priority. Not to send us back to the dark ages but because people still die en mass (and not just in Islam) for their religous beliefs, and therefore we should attempt to gain a semblence of understanding of these matters.

    Mr. Behnam adds nothing to this problem than anger and stereotypes, which makes it really unfortunate that he was the one to have been published in the ODE. He does not further the cause that he adresses, which is a valid problem.

  3. Andy says:

    Yea, the suggestion to suspend jewish studies kind of outs him/her as a bigot. All I know, is that there were a lot more jewish kids at my school and I’m sure there are a lot here because we even have a hilel. Just another laughable complaint from one group trying to gain power over another through the use of government coersion.

  4. I’d rather an Arabic Language program be put forth. Why, you ask? Very simple. Arabic is like Chinese and English. It is a business language, and it is a wealthy business language. There are exploits to be done using the Arabic language, that could revolutionize American trade and other things.

  5. Michael G. says:

    I think you missed the real key to this rant (emphasis mine):

    M. Reza Behnam, Ph.D.

    I translate the entire thing as the following:

    “The University won’t hire me. Waaaaaaaah!”

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