Letter to the editor

A response to Dr. Jackson

The purpose of this open letter is to seek clarification on your letter of Dec. 3, 2009, which defended the Muslim Student Union at USC. As an old Trojan, class of ’78, with an abiding love for my alma mater, I am concerned about the strong tone of censorship in your letter. In the 1970s, I remember robust political conversations on campus and no apparent effort by the faculty or administration to hamper dissenting commentary. Dr. Michael L. Jackson, I am confused by your frequent use of words “intolerance,” and “tolerance,” and I request that you more clearly define their meaning in the context of university policies. Are there no elements in the current and general practice of Islam that should not be tolerated? For example, should the florid anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism spewing from international and domestic Muslim media be tolerated? Are students at ’SC allowed to criticize Islamic practices in Saudi Arabia but not in Los Angeles? What are the rules?

I remember well the anti-Apartheid campus efforts at ’SC in the 1970s. Young men and women on campus organized to garner student awareness of racial separatism in South Africa. Certainly, students could not disrupt South African officials explaining and defending their political beliefs. But I do not remember any administrator requiring, in your words, “tolerance” and “respect” for belief systems based on discrimination. Should feminist organizations at ’SC campaign against gender apartheid in Islam, would you attempt to silence them? Must Jews tolerate and respect Koranic charges that they are the sons of apes and pigs? Must Christians stay silent about the vast persecutions of their communities throughout the Islamic world?

You declare the MSU to be “an outstanding organization,” and state that it has “never engaged in any activities that presented concerns to the university.” Why then did the administration require that the MSU remove a Hadith advocating killing Jews “hiding behind trees?” You criticize the accusation that the MSU “has ties” to the Muslim  Brotherhood, but you do not refute this charge. Would your opinion change if you had documentation corroborating ties to the Muslim Brotherhood? Would students at ‘SC then be permitted to openly criticize the MSU, and would you join them?

Does your demand for political tolerance extend to faculty at ’SC? Are you aware that Dr. David Lloyd, professor of English at USC, is a member in the U.S. Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel? Is this tolerance? Does your demand for respect extend to the MSU? I read that the following commentary was offered on the USC MSU’s listserve; unedited, it would be news to the scholars at USC’s Shoah Foundation: “holocust schmolocost…..that whole thing drives me nuts. there arent that many holicost surviviers. most of those guys havent experienced anything — except possibly excess. its a tool the zionists use… but to be honest wonder how effective it is these days”

You conclude your letter with the requirement that “we each must pledge to encourage respect for human rights and dignity on our campus, in our society and in the global community.” But some students at ’SC feel that promoting human rights, particularly those of women, require criticizing the practice of Islam in many parts of the global community. Are you trying to silence them?

Thank you in advance for responding to this loyal son of Troy. I look forward to a dialogue with you and other professors at ’SC on this most important issue. Fight on!

Mark Silinsky

Phi Beta Kappa, 1978

15 replies
  1. Jack
    Jack says:

    “Dear Cat, there are many Jews on campus who WILL NOT tolerate anti-semitic Koranic slurs, anti-semitic Christian slurs, or any other type of anti-semitic slurs. If you can’t handle the fact that there are Jews who will stand up and defend our people’s name, transfer to Irvine, Berkeley, Fucla, or any unviersity in Europe. We make our presence felt on this campus and we don’t bend over for anyone!”

    Neither will the people who will always seek justice. If you can’t tolerate criticism of Israel perhaps you should leave.

  2. ibn yaqzan
    ibn yaqzan says:

    and Sol, this sort of proves how wary we have to be of trigger-happy people like you- Cat was trying to be ironic.

  3. ibn yaqzan
    ibn yaqzan says:

    hahah what a bunch of deluded white people

    how many women in this country are RAPED or MURDERED by their christian husbands or friends or partners? If you look up the statistics, you will find that these levels are much higher than in any Muslim country… Why do you not feel like you need to defend women in this country? If you actually cared about women, and not just about attacking Muslims, you would be working against misogyny in this country.

  4. Sol
    Sol says:

    Dear Cat, there are many Jews on campus who WILL NOT tolerate anti-semitic Koranic slurs, anti-semitic Christian slurs, or any other type of anti-semitic slurs. If you can’t handle the fact that there are Jews who will stand up and defend our people’s name, transfer to Irvine, Berkeley, Fucla, or any unviersity in Europe. We make our presence felt on this campus and we don’t bend over for anyone!

  5. Joe
    Joe says:

    Mr. Silinsky, as a fellow alumnus, I think your questions are important ones, but I *seriously* doubt that Jackson has any answers for them. This university is as politically perverted as any of them, and more than most. The only values USC officially “tolerates” are hatred of America and hatred of Jews.

  6. Zooey
    Zooey says:

    To all Trojans commenting here, I would offer (translated from the French to English) the following quotation of François-Marie Arouet (AKA Voltaire). “I will disagree with you unto my death. Yet, I will defend unto my death your right to disagree with me.” Clearly, Dr. Jackson has weathered many decades as the VP for Student Affairs without having to use or display any administrative, let alone academic, gravitas. Though not a member of Phi Beta Kappa, I attended, as did the author of this open letter, the University of Southern California during the early to mid-1970’s and share the author’s sentiments for that time. Moreover, I am a third generation Trojan alumnus. In my direct personal and professional experience, Dr. Jackson has proven time and again the old adage we shared among ourselves as Trojan students, and still do as alumni: “You can tell a Stanford man… but you can’t tell him much.” As an aside, Dr. Jackson is publicly known to be currently lobbying for Condoleezza Rice (a fomer Provost of Stanford) to become Dr. Sample’s successor. Given her record as US Secretary of State; if Muslim students feel oppressed now… just wait.

    Fight On!

  7. Louise JP
    Louise JP says:

    why do feminists give a pass at the way Muslim men and their family members kill their female relatives when they perceive their family honor tarnished, such as the poor girl who was choked to death near Toronto a few years ago “Asqua” by her Pakistani father and brother,. Her crime was that she did not wear her bag on her head at school. The list will get longer when these people are allowed to come into Western lands and do not assimilate into Western culture where freedom is cherished by the lives taken by our armed forces to keep us free.

  8. Isabella
    Isabella says:

    Cat said:

    “4. Feminist campaigns against Islamic misogyny? As if.”

    Exactly. Where were all the feminists when Sarah and Amina Said were shot point blank in cold blood by their Muslim father on New Year’s Day 2008 in an honour killing sometime after their dad told Amina he could take her to Egypt, kill here there and no one would say “boo” about it? Sorry, feminists aren’t available to stand up for vulnerable Muslim teenaged girls. But tell people you’re going to show one little old commercial at the Super Bowl with a Heisman Trophy winner thanking his mom for not aborting him and they’ll be coming out of the woodwork like cockroaches.

  9. Jack
    Jack says:

    I agree with everything people here have written, including the original letter in discussion. Not only should Islam be criticized but be forcefully dealt with. I mean if the Arab parties are upset about invading Gaza-ban them! If the Arabs don’t want to leave the homes they’ve lived in for 50 years-evict them! If Arab 12-year olds throw rocks at police-shoot them!

    Perhaps that is some clarification.

  10. Cat
    Cat says:

    Let’s save some time with the acceptable responses to the questions posed (though of course they may not be Dr. Jackson’s):

    1. Are there elements in Islam that should not be tolerated? No. Criticism is colonialist, imperialist, and racist in all circumstances.
    2. Criticism of Anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism in Islam should be permitted? No. See above.
    3. Saudi Arabia v. America? Any criticism is colonialist, imperialist, etc. How many times do we have to go over this?
    4. Feminist campaigns against Islamic misogyny? As if. Most of them periodically don Muslimah headgear in “solidarity” with a Muslimah’s religiously-sanctioned right to be beaten, subjugated, dehumanized, genitally mutilated, and honor-killed. But at least they’re safe from the “male gaze.”
    5. Must Jews tolerate Koranic slurs? They will, if they know what’s good for them.
    6. Must Christians remain silent about worldwide Islamic persecutions of their communities? There are no such persecutions. Christians cannot be persecuted, as they are the ipso facto persecutors in all circumstances (see the Crusades, and see the Crusades. Did I mention the Crusades?).
    7. That F***** hadith about the talking trees and rocks? There was no way to get out of removing that, there was way too much attention being paid to it. You’ll note that the thousands of other hateful, violent verses of the Koran and the Hadith are still there. Free speech, and all that, I guess until somebody notices those too.
    8. Muslim Brotherhood ties? Join in criticism of the MSA if they are proven? *dial tone*

    • Glenn
      Glenn says:

      Cat, you’re joking right? I can only assume you had the sarcasm button held when you wrote those responses. If you are serious, then you are simply part of the problem and an obstacle to any real debate about the merits of islam and the teachings/culture it brings with it. Your responses are so over the top, that I had to laugh and believe it was a joke.

  11. Alarmed Pig Farmer
    Alarmed Pig Farmer says:

    Even more scandalous than USC’s censorship is USC’s recent moves around the what had been a wonderful resource, its online copies of the Koran and the Hadiths. First, it gave it renamed the website the Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement, an innocuous but misleading label that implies it’s the failure to understand the contents of these Islamic scriptures that has led to all the trouble Moslems have with us.

    *** 92:8 ***

    Worse, there are indications that USC has allowed Moslem students to edit certain words in the texts to tone them down from what is actually said in the original Arabic. For example, one might do an en masse Find/Replace to change the word “kill” to the word “defeat” or “vanquish” (this is a made up example, researchers more knowledgeable than I on the subject know the actual examples.

    *** Bukhari Vol 6 Bk 60 Nbr 662 ***

    But you shouldn’t be too upset, Mr. Silinky. Your alma mater is like every other university in the Western world: They all on the one hand promote Islam through direct and indirect censorhip of any criticism of Islam’s highly questionable nature (i.e., its facts), and on the other hand will violate academic ethics to make Islam more opaque and thereby more palatable to a naive Infidel public — both in their respective student bodies and their surrounding general populations.

  12. tjay
    tjay says:

    I doubt that you’ll get a “dialogue” with Dr. Jackson…his mind appears to be made up.
    Political Correctness & the Muslim “FEAR Tactic” can make weak men cower.

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