Last month, we introduced our readers to the inadvertently comic spectacle of Stephen Davis, hapless Master of Pierson College at Yale University. Professor Davis, to the delight of connoisseurs of cant, donned the mantle of ostentatious, politically correct self-congratulation by announcing to the world that he was too egalitarian to bear the title “Master” or even, reading between the lines, “man” (“gender equity,” you know). Professor Davis doubtless approves of Pope Francis’s attacks on capitalism and fossil fuels (though we are uncertain where he stands on the great moral issue of air-conditioning: it can get hot in New Haven). We suspect that he is oozing sympathy, too, for the recent announcement that Yale, the beneficiary of a $10 million gift, would be creating a Center for the Study of Islamic Law and Civilization at Yale Law School. The Center will be named for its donor, the Saudi businessman Abdallah S. Kamel, the same chap whose earlier gift to Yale brought the Tunisian Sheikh Rachid al-Ghannouchi to campus. Some reports described the Sheikh as “controversial.” Ah, yes, “controversial,” an anodyne euphemism that, in the Sheikh’s case, compasses longtime support of radical Islamic terror groups. He has repeatedly called for Muslims to wage “unceasing war against the Americans.” He signed on to a fatwa in 2004 calling for the murder of U.S. troops in Iraq, has publicly endorsed Palestinian terrorism as “wonderful,” and has encouraged the terror group Hamas to “get rid of the Zionist cancer,” i.e. Israel.
We do not yet know when or if Sheikh Rachid will be making his appearance at the Yale Law School. It’s still early days. Perhaps he will participate in the lecture series to be established at the Center, or maybe he will be a research fellow or a visiting professor. Since the establishment of the Center comes with the “hope and expectation” of a full professorship in Islamic law, perhaps he will be named to that honor. According to Robert C. Post, Dean of the Yale Law School, “Islamic law has a long and proud tradition, which encompasses great intellectual achievements. It is also a subject of immense contemporary importance. There is a tremendous need for an interdisciplinary center to support scholarship in the field.”
Dean Post is certainly correct about its “immense contemporary importance.” As longtime readers will recall, it was sensitivity to Islamic law (or possibly it was just sensitivity to Islamic money) that induced the Yale University Press to prohibit the inclusion of the so-called “Danish cartoons”—caricatures of Mohammed—in a book about the Danish cartoons (see “Yale & the Danish cartoons,” September 2009). The “immense contemporary importance” of Islamic law, AKA Sharia, is evident far beyond the ivied purlieus of Yale, of course. Let’s leave ISIS and Boko Haram and al Qaeda and all the other fringe groups to one side. For example, in Abdallah Kamel’s native Saudi Arabia, the largest and richest Sunni state, Islamic law stipulates that women may not drive a car, that they are essentially chattel, the possessions first of their fathers, then of their husbands. It also stipulates that bloggers who run afoul of the regime are flogged (one such is under sentence of 1,000 lashes, a death sentence, for the tort of “insulting Islam”), and that adulteresses are stoned to death, thieves maimed, and homosexuals beheaded. The practice of Christianity is not just frowned upon in Saudi Arabia (as anywhere Sharia, i.e. “Islamic law,” is in force): it is illegal. In fact, it is a capital offense. Meanwhile, apostasy from Islam is also punishable by death. I am not sure if that is part of what Dean Post means by Islamic law’s “long and proud tradition” or if it merely names some of its “great intellectual achievements.” It is worth noting, however, that while such homegrown Yale products as Stephen Davis prance about repudiating “male-gendered titles [that have been] normalized as markers of authority,” Yale is only too happy to join Georgetown, Harvard, and other left-liberal redoubts and fill its coffers with donations from representatives of a barbaric, anti-democratic, misogynistic political ideology hiding behind the mask of religion.
This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 34 Number 2, on page 2
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