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YVONNE YAZBECK HADDAD Printer Friendly Page
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  • Georgetown University professor of the history of Islam and Christian-Muslim relations
  • Condemned the Patriot Act, saying: “It basically lifted all legal protection of liberty for Muslims and Arabs in the United States.” 
  • Criticized U.S. government for closing down several Islamic charities after discovering they were assisting terrorist organizations
  • “The security measures adopted by the Bush Administration are perceived both overseas and among many in the Muslim community in North America not as anti-terrorism but as anti-Muslim.”



Yvonne Yazbeck-Haddad is a faculty member at the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (CMCU), an organization (run out of Georgetown University by John Esposito) that professes its dedication to "fostering a better understanding of Islam and Muslim-Christian Relations." But the CMCU website contains a link to a website that recommends Yusuf Ali's thoroughly anti-Jewish commentary on "The Meaning of the Holy Qur'an."

Haddad is a professor of the History of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations. In her essay "The Dynamics of Islamic Identity in North America," which she co-authored with Professor Esposito, Haddad criticizes American "policy makers" who "continue to ignore Muslim sensibilities" by supporting Israel and India while showing a "reluctance" to support "the just causes of people in Azerbaijan, Bosnia, and Chechnya." Haddad blames President Ronald Reagan for what she perceives as the spread of anti-Muslim and anti-Arab feelings throughout America, due to what she calls the former President's "confrontational style."

When White House officials briefly used the word “crusade” to express American resolve in the war on terror, Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad, Professor of the History of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations at Georgetown University's Prince Alaweed Center for Christian-Muslim Understanding, scolded them: “It’s what the terrorists use to recruit people -- saying that Christians are on a crusade against Islam. It’s as bad to their ears as it is when we hear ‘jihad.’”

When the media later observed that American Muslim football teams use such names as “Mujahideen” (which means "jihadists"), “Intifada” (which means "rebellion"), and “Soldiers of Allah,” Professor Haddad said: “Who cares? Why are people so sensitive? Intifada is something that Muslims and Palestinians all approve of. It means ‘just get off my back.’ Is the only way we accept [Muslims] is if we devalue their faith?”

To Professor Haddad, in the dialogue between Orient and Occident, it is only the West that possesses a deficit of cross-civilizational understanding, contrition, and deference. Says Haddad:

“Regrettably, it continues to be imperative to counter the misunderstanding and ignorance of Islam. The Center [for Muslim-Christian Understanding] works to erase the stereotypes and fear that lead to predictions of Islam as the next global threat or a clash of civilizations between the Muslim world and the West.”

Since the 9/11 attacks, Professor Haddad has used the language of multiculturalism and Muslim sensitivity to attack the foreign and domestic policy decisions of the Bush administration. For example, when America invaded Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11, Haddad explained that “many Muslims were offended by the U.S. destruction of the Taliban in Afghanistan because the Taliban stood for Islam.” She added that liberating Afghan women was counterproductive to U.S. interests, as “Muslim women have formed their opinion of American women from watching T.V. reruns of shows like Dynasty and as a result assume American women to be 'whores.'"

Professor Haddad’s quest for greater sensitivity toward Muslims has prompted her to castigate virtually every U.S. government response to the terrorist threat. In a speech she gave in the spring of 2004, Haddad condemned the Patriot Act, saying: “It basically lifted [i.e., eliminated] all legal protection of liberty for Muslims and Arabs in the United States.”

When the FBI closed down several Islamic charities after discovering that they were funding terrorist organizations, Haddad protested: “In effect, the American government is perceived by Muslims to have assumed a veto power over zakat (tithe), one of the basic tenets of the Islamic faith.” Her conclusion: “The security measures adopted by the Bush Administration are perceived both overseas and among many in the Muslim community in North America not as anti-terrorism but as anti-Muslim.”

Professor Haddad would have the West respond to its present security challenges, not with statecraft or force, but with apologies. In a forum discussing Pope John Paul II’s visit to the Holy Land in 2000, Haddad fixated on what she called an “apology deficit” in the West. “It is a fact that there are some Arab Christians and Muslims who are still waiting for the Jewish people to apologize for what they have done to the Palestinians.”

Haddad earned a bachelor's degree in 1958 from Beirut College For Women (in Lebanon); a master's degree in religious education from Boston College in 1966; a master's degree in comparative history (with a focus on the Middle East) from the University of Wisconsin in 1971; and a Ph.D. from Hartford Seminary in 1979.


This profile is adapted from the article "Yvonne Haddad: America’s Islam 'Sensitivity' Trainer," written by Jonathan Dowd-Gailey and published by FrontPageMagazine.com on December 14, 2004.

 

 

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