Section: Opinion

Op-ed misportrays Baehr’s views

By Adam Rubenstein

I read Muhammed Asad Hansrod’s article (“Islamophobia Persists”) in the February 26, 2015 Collegian with great interest. He begins with an anecdote that starts with, “A white man once explained to me.” I should have stopped reading there. Hansrod actually writes an essay purporting to be about prejudice in others by demonstrating his own prejudice in his first sentence. Since we can all agree that racism, religious prejudice and ethnocentrism exist among all races, colors and creeds, attempting to particularize anti-Islamic prejudice to Caucasians is dishonest. Black and Asian people can be anti-Christian or anti-Islamic (see, Boko Haram and Burmese Buddhists), and pretty much every race and ethnic type has displayed anti-Semitism. So spare our community the “a white man once explained to me” sanctimony. Attributing racism or religious prejudice to a particular skin color is a form of willful blindness.

As far as the argument that Hansrod was silent once before, but this latest “outrage” is too much of a provocation, let’s get down to the facts on what Richard Baehr ’69 actually said, not what Hansrod wished he had said to make his preconceived argument easier. How could Hansrod know what Baehr said?  He wasn’t even in attendance. Those who were there will note that. Baehr made cogent, fact-based arguments, not appeals to passion and prejudice lacking in content. At no point during his discussion did he claim that Israel was the only “successful” nation in the Middle East because it was not Muslim. He pointed out its success as the only functioning democratic state in an oppressive, Muslim-majoritarian Middle East.

Hansrod then goes on to attack an online magazine to which Baehr contributes, because he disagrees with other writers’ opinions. How is it logical to censure Baehr for articles others wrote?  I imagine that logic would prevent me from writing for the Collegian as I should not want to be identified as a contributor to the same journal as Mr. Hansrod. The analogy is so close it speaks volumes. Hansrod cannot argue with what Baehr writes or says, or identify a single fact to dispute, so he attacks other writers in cyberspace who publish on the same platform, conflating their opinions with Baehr’s. I could spend a few paragraphs attacking him for what others have written in the Collegian, but that would be unfair, wouldn’t it?

Had Hansrod even read the banner of The American Thinker, he would have noted that Baehr is a political correspondent, and neither the publisher nor the owner of The American Thinker. He writes political articles for an online journal. There is no indication he edits or has any authority to edit the writings of others. No doubt, given Hansrod’s column on Baehr, that his view of journalism includes the responsibility of every journalist to abandon or boycott publications that publish ideas noxious to them. Practical? No, of course not. Logical? You decide.

Hansrod should apologize for his prejudice, his dishonesty and his malicious attempt to mislead members of our community.

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