PRA is conducting a research project into the state of Islamophobia and antisemitism on U.S. university and college campuses.
If there is any place where informed and productive debates over hot button issues of the day should be able to occur, it is on college and university campuses with their tradition of intellectual exploration, free speech, and academic freedom. Yet this is not the case today with the issues of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and of U.S. foreign policy in the Mideast and surrounding regions. All too often the debates on these issues unravel into confrontations laced with Islamophobic and antisemitic statements, confrontations that can even boil over from the rhetorical to the physical.
When debate becomes heated, people sometimes demonize or scapegoat their opponents, entering a spiral that makes productive discussion exceedingly difficult. During such encounters, students and faculty are quickly polarized, and there is little room for genuine questions to be answered, or different solutions weighed for merit. In our estimation, the lack of dialog and activism exhibiting equal concern for Islamophobia and antisemitism contributes to the volatility of these issues on campuses and beyond.
That is why Political Research Associates is investigating both antisemitism and Islamophobia on campus – including the relationship between the two. We are not asserting an equivalence between the histories or present intensities of these forms of bigotry. We instead seek to evaluate the nature, prevalence, and causes of their contemporary manifestations at colleges and universities.
We expect to share our findings in the fall of 2009. In the meantime, we offer the following resources for persons and institutions interested in exploring these issues:
- What is Antisemitism?
- What is Islamophobia?
- What is the "New Antisemitism"?
- When Does Anti-Zionism Become Antisemitism?
- Anti-Terrorism or Bigoted Profiling of Muslims and Arabs?
- Bibliography Links: Challenging Campus Prejudice
- Does Free Speech Sometimes Undermine Constructive Dialogue?