The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has filed a complaint against a University of Central Florida (UCF) professor, who they claim is teaching that Muslims are taught to hate “from the cradle.” According to The Raw Story, CAIR referenced a seminar held by Professor Jonathan Matusitz in January, which included “inaccurate information, anti-Muslim bigotry and hostility in the form of hate speech toward Islam and Muslims.”
In his seminar, “How Culture Shapes Terrorism,” Matusitz begins by discussing the definition of terrorism, “the use of violence for political reasons, the objective of which is to cause fear and terror.” He then talks about “new terrorism,” which he says we are experiencing today and is epitomized by “radical Islam and extremism.” This form of terrorism is indiscriminate and meant to kill as many people as possible, he explains.
The reason we have terrorism is because of culture, Matusitz says, the social system that teaches “what’s acceptable, what’s unacceptable, what’s taboo, and what’s permissible.” He then cites that, according to RAND, a national defense research project that has been studying terrorism for 40 years, “96% of terrorism is Islamic terrorism.” “So why do so many Muslims, in relation to other cultures, want to kill us?” The answer, Matusitz says, is “culture.”
And in our own culture, he says, political correctness has caused us to be afraid to call something what it is. “Why is the Ft. Hood shooting [called] workplace violence? If we keep going [down] that path, Pearl Harbor will be workplace violence.” A Belgian native, Matusitz points out that in his country, there is no freedom of speech, all the news stations, all the media outlets are owned by the government.
In an interview on WFTV on Wednesday, Matusitz responded to the complaint against him: “They’ve never been in my classes,” he said. “They don’t know the content of my classes… I think they’re wrong… I think they’re afraid of truth-tellers and they want to stifle free speech.”
In a letter to UCF, CAIR expressed their concern with the UCF Terrorism and Communication course, taught by Dr. Matusitz, which, in their view, “does not reflect an understanding of the wide variety of religious expression found across the Muslim world.” The letter also accuses Matusitz of being a member of ACT! for America, a “well-known anti-Islam organization” that combats what it describes as “‘the threat of radical Islam’ to the safety of Americans and to democracy.”
Matusitz says that he is not a member of Act!, but has spoken to the group in the past, according to WFTV. He also notes that all of his lectures are backed by statistics, and that he stands by everything he has said in the classroom. “Islam plays a big role in terrorism, just percentage-wise,” he said.
WFTV contacted a UCF spokesperson who commented that Professor Matusitz has a right to free speech and his opinion, but that UCF does not endorse his views.
Alisha is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire.