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Middle East Studies Profs Head to Turkey, Academic Freedom Be Damned

12th October 2017

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“Turkey seemed like a natural home for me, especially with its current leadership.” So declared Sami Al-Arian, the former University of South Florida professor, of Turkey’s Islamist and increasingly autocratic president Recep Tayyip Erdo?an. Al-Arian was deported to Turkey in 2015 by the terms of a 2006 guilty plea for his involvement with Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Given Al-Arian’s Islamist proclivities, it’s not surprising that he feels at home in Erdo?an’s Turkey, nor that his like-minded U.S.-based Middle East studies friends joined him for the October 8-10 “International Conference on the Muslim Ummah” at Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University, where Al-Arian is director of the Center for Islam and Global Affairs.

Naturally, conference sponsors included Georgetown University’s Saudi-funded Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU) and participants, ACMCU director (and Al-Arian’s son-in-law) Jonathan Brown and founding director John Esposito. The latter is a notorious apologist for Islamism, and Brown, a Muslim convert, openly espouses Islamist tenets, including slavery and concubinage.

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