Hamas Supporter Sherifa Zuhur Plays Grievance Theater at the Army War College

Patrick Poole/Pajamas Media

Enemy Agent Sherifa Zuhur Watch: U.S. Army War College Pulls the Plug!

Fox guarding chicken-coop alert: the scandal of employing enemy agent Sherifa Zuhur to teach at U.S. Army War College

We got mail from… Sherifa Zuhur!

Muhammedan Infiltration Watch: Why U.S. Policy Leans Too Close to Terrorist Appeasement

“A well-organized plan to infiltrate and influence U.S. policymakers at the highest levels has been operating on American soil for well over a decade.” And the Muslim Brotherhood is involved — who else?

Clare M. Lopez of the Intelligence Summit explains in Human Events: “Why U.S. Policy Leans Too Close to Terrorist Appeasement,” Jihad Watch

Last month I [1] reported here on an ongoing controversy at the U.S. Army War College (USAWC) involving Strategic Studies Institute research professor [2] Sherifa Zuhur, who authored a [3] monograph published in December by the War College advocating for dialogue with the terrorist group Hamas. That Pajamas Media article prompted considerable discussion in the military community and a heated defense of Zuhur by her USAWC colleague Steven Metz in the [4] comments section of the article. Zuhur even posted a response to an [5] article critical of her positions published by the Investigative Project, claiming that her positions had been “misunderstood” and decrying that “blogs simply copy from each others’ comments.” (The short IPT report made seventeen different citations to two different published works by Zuhur.)

But Washington Post military affairs reporter Tom Ricks has added to the intrigue surrounding Zuhur’s tenure at the War College in a [6] post last week on his foreign affairs blog, noting that Zuhur has appealed to the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) for help, claiming that her academic freedom has been hindered by USAWC authorities.

MESA president Mervat Hatem sent a [7] letter this past June to USAWC commandant LTG Robert Williams outlining Zuhur’s complaints of censorship and harassment:

USAWC policy states that “academic freedom for its faculty and students is fundamental and essential to the health of the academic institution.” However, Professor Zuhur has reported to us that, in apparent violation of this policy, she has been subjected to censorship and harassment because of views she has expressed or which have been imputed to her. Among other things, Professor Zuhur reports that she has had one or more scheduled lectures at USAWC cancelled at the last minute, apparently because some USAWC officials disagreed with her opinions about, and analyses of, U.S. policy in the Middle East, and also that she has been harassed for allegedly failing to comply with USAWC’s procedures for prior review of publications and public statements — procedures that she believes have been applied arbitrarily and inconsistently and that may in any case not conform to USAWC’s avowed commitment to academic freedom.

Prof. Zuhur’s charges of infringement of her academic freedom ring hollow in light of the publication by USAWC’s Strategic Studies Institute of her recent defense of Hamas and attacks on U.S. foreign policy. That notwithstanding, Hatem’s letter reveals that Zuhur’s contract with USAWC has not been renewed.

Whether there is any truth to Zuhur’s claims is clearly for the commandant and USAWC to sort out. What should be noted, however, is that Zuhur has played the grievance game before in 2000 when she was informed that her contract with the American University of Cairo (AUC) would not be renewed. Her response in that case included filing an unsuccessful EEOC complaint charging discrimination on the basis of gender and national origin, claiming suppression of academic freedom, organizing petitions and letters from colleagues to the AUC provost, and going on a hunger strike in protest.

Predictably, she appears to be engaged in the same grievance theater in response to the loss of her current position at USAWC. As she had done in her present dispute with the USAWC by having the president of MESA appealing directly to the USAWC commandant on her behalf, in 2000 she enlisted the help of UCLA professor Sondra Hale, who sat on Zuhur’s dissertation committee and at the time was the immediate past president of the Association for Middle East Women’s Studies (AMEWS).

Hale sent a [8] letter to the AUC president and provost, which was widely circulated on various academic email lists, making a range of charges against AUC’s decision to not renew her contract. A few days later, Zuhur made an open [9] appeal for others to send letters to the AUC president, provost, the committee on academic freedom, and the board of trustees pleading her case. She also [10] solicited signatures for a petition demanding her reinstatement.

Having flooded the academic community with her side of the story, AUC provost Tim Sullivan issued a [11] response providing a very different set of facts. He first expressed concern that Zuhur had decided to go on a hunger strike while her appeal of the decision not to renew her contract was still underway. He also stated that while Zuhur and her supporters had repeatedly cited an EEOC investigation into her claims that she had been discriminated against on the basis of gender and national origin as proof that something was amiss at AUC, they had failed to also say that the EEOC had thoroughly investigated the matter, dismissed Zuhur’s complaint, and already closed their file — information that would have been highly relevant to communicate to her supporters.

And while Zuhur and her supporters had been claiming that “there are no adequate grievance or appeal procedures available to Dr. Zuhur,” Sullivan observed that she had initially declined to take her case to the AUC University Senate Grievance Committee, which eventually heard and rejected her appeal. A final June 2000 [12] public letter from Zuhur informs her supporters that her final appeal to the AUC president had been denied. Amazingly, she claimed that she regretted having to take her complaint public when it seems most of her efforts were directed in that venue.

How much Sherifa Zuhur’s past grievance theater will eventually play out in her present dispute with the USAWC remains to be seen, but there already appear to be some commonalities to the script.

It does seem particularly odd that a USAWC research professor who has dedicated significant energies in just the past year to rehabilitating the image of Hamas — a designated terrorist organization — would claim that her academic freedom has been impinged by the very institution that published an entire [3] monograph of hers dedicated to that proposition. Her [13] published remarks on Hamas at a recent forum hosted by the Middle East Policy Council ([14] video) and a short book review in the fall 2008 edition of Middle East Policy could be added as exhibits of her views of Hamas as an “evolved” and “democratic” organization, in addition to her USAWC Strategic Studies Institute monograph continuing that theme. Despite her protests, those of us who have read her writings and listened to her presentations have not “misunderstood” her position, but understand her quite clearly.

And it does smack of hypocrisy when an academic who is so quick to offer herself up repeatedly as a martyr to academic freedom is patently annoyed when those of us who criticize her apologetics for a murderous and brutal terrorist organization exercise those same freedoms. Surely the U.S. Army War College has better things to do than indulge Sherifa Zuhur in a repeat performance of her grievance theater. They should be glad to see the curtain come down on this play.

4 thoughts on “Hamas Supporter Sherifa Zuhur Plays Grievance Theater at the Army War College”

  1. Gosh I wonder who posted this extremely inaccurate portrayal of events both at the War College and American University in Cairo, – Dr. Metz? SSI? Come out like men and use your real names! It must be you as real Middle East scholars know the actual story at the American University in Cairo which has damaged many scholars. My complaint against the War College has two parts – one concerns severe limitations on academic freedom! The other concerns the most despicable treatment I have ever experienced as a Muslim, a woman and one whose national origin differs from Dr.Metz. So this poster thinks this is a charade? Well that’s because some individuals at SSI and the War College think Muslims, women and Arabs SHOULD be treated improperly (is not the word I’d like to use) And you claim you have academic freedom, yet have ended my position, and with impunity issued discipline, suspensions without pay and threats to try to make me leave sooner. Don’t worry all of you who dislike those who dare to write about Hamas (let’s stay in blissful ignorance) they are firing me! And trying to do so as soon as possible.

    The poster knows zip about the issues at the American University in Cairo. Very different institution. AUC did not call the Hilali Quran an evil and intolerant book like the War College lChaplain and ruin my ratings by writing I was “uncollegial” for asking for a place to pray like the SSI chair! No-one at AUC followed me around to private events to attack me for representing terrorism! No-one at AUC wrote me 100s of emails calling me a liar. The AUC did not allow me to be sexually assaulted and harassed without doing anything! The EEOC IS the venue for such complaints, but I have no faith in it & I hope the Army leadership DOES something.
    AUC (less known, I believe to pajamasmedia) has faculty governance, limited tenure, and academic freedom bounded differently. Admin kowtowed in the 1990s to aspects of culture wars raging btw liberals and Islamists. Book banning, recycling of faculty and unfair employment practices abounded — unfair to Egyptians in certain ways, unfair to Americans & non-Egyptians in others. AUC caved in to uproar over an old book, Rodinson’s Muhammad, & a talented young faculty member lost his job; then Samia Mehrez was attacked for assigning Khubz al-Hafi & was threatened with expulsion. Most of us who supported them lost our jobs. Many others did too, due to lack of procedures available to US university faculty. EEO was an issue because of the horribly unfair departmental practices, some hiring only non-Egyptians, others only Egyptians in contradiction to US law.

    So whoever wrote this based some of their angry efforts above on, I believe, a petittion written in my defense from years ago still out there on the Web. This person doesn’t know about the petitions written to defend others, and actions taken to defend other peers, including some now at other military service colleges in the US because academics have to go somewhere.

    Too bad, poster, you only understand the kind of solidarity that extends to those of your own race, religion and narrow viewpoint, whereas in a way, the often ineffective solidarity extended by writers, journalists and academics is a far more admirable type.

  2. How about answering the questions I posted for you, Sherifa?

    First of all, let me ask you: do you want an army that promotes violence against Jews?

    So you’re not an enemy agent? You are not a supporter of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hizb ut Tahrir, Abu Sayyaf, the Muslim Brotherhood, Jemiyah Islamiyah or Hezbollah, which are all designated terrorist organizations? You don’t support the Taliban or Al Qaeda? Are you not a supporter of the unindicted coconspirator CAIR? You don’t agree with this statement from a former CAIR employee: “The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.” ???

    Is it not your religious obligation to remove all obstacles to the spread of Islam in the US where you have settled behind enemy lines, Sherifa? You don’t do da’awa? You are not a mole like Hesham Islam in the state department? You don’t believe the traditions of your prophet, wherein it is written: “The hour of judgment shall not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them, so that the Jews hide behind trees and stones, and each tree and stone will say: ‘Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him,’ except for the Gharqad tree, for it is the tree of the Jews.” (Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Number 6985) and you don’t make pig noises when talking about Jews? (Koran 5:60)


    What a relief!

    Yes, Sherifa, you are right: it is -not yet- “a crime to be a Muslim or a specialist writing about Islamist movements”.

    However, if you’re a specialist, as you claim, and you are entrusted with lecturing our troops (who will deal with Muslims in the battlefield) then why do you teach falsehoods that contradict Islamic scriptures?

    Are you sure you are not another Nada Nadim Prouty? Are you not on the same wavelength with Aafia Siddiqui? You don’t support Sami al-Arian? Why not?

    As a scholar, why don’t you back your claim that Islam does NOT promote kidnappings and violence against civilians with the relevant sura or hadith? Since Robert Spencer has already put your false claims through the shredder, would you like me to do the same?

    * Happy to oblige, Sherifa. Anytime!

    PS: for starters, please explain the concept of ‘civilians’ according to Islamic scripture! Thank you!

  3. Robert Spencer and you – Patrick Poole – are not authorities on the subject. Why would you go so hard after someone who writes a great monograph on the way one policy (Israeli) begets another?
    Why would you go to such lengths to discredit Zuhur when her own supervisor told her it was “uncollegial” to pray the Muslim daily prayer?

    Your attitude shines right through – I think we know the answer.

    1. Dear Ahmed,

      please let us know who decides who is an authority on the subject and who is not. Thank you!


      Philippines: Jihadist kidnappers demand $2 million for 79-year-old Irish priest

      “When an adult male is taken captive, the caliph considers the interests … (of Islam and the Muslims) and decides between the prisoner’s death, slavery, release without paying anything, or ransoming himself in exchange for money or for a Muslim captive held by the enemy.” — ‘Umdat al-Salik, o9.14

      An update on this story. “Kidnappers demand $2M for Irish priest hostage,” from the Manila Times, November 1 Link

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