Can a faculty member call Islamic terrorism the nation's number one problem? Harvard decides.

What if there emerged on an American campus an academic who asserted  in a major op-ed beliefs such as the following?

Islamic terrorism is the nation’s  number one problem of national security.

You think the campus Muslim community would send around petitions calling for his or her ouster?  Ya think?

That is exactly what has been happening this summer at Harvard University, where summer school instructor Subramanian Swamy, who teaches economics courses, published How to Wipe Out Islamic Terror in a major Indian newspaper.  http://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/analysis_how-to-wipe-out-islamic-terror_1566203-all

The article identified four radical Islamic goals in India, and suggested ways of dealing with each.  His idea of those goals:

1.  Overawe India on Kashmir

2.  Blast temples, kill Hindus

3.  Turn India into Darul Islam

4.  Denigrate Hinduism through vulgar writings and preaching in mosques, madrassas, and churches to create loss of self-respect amongst Hindus and make them fit for capitulation.

His suggestions as to how best to deal with these radical objectives:

The first lesson to be learnt from the recent history of Islamic terrorism against India and for tackling terrorism in India is that the Hindu is the target and that Muslims of India are being programmed by a slow reactive process to become radical and thus slide into suicide against Hindus.


The second lesson for combating terrorism is that we must never capitulate or concede any demand, as we did in 1989 (freeing five terrorists in exchange for Mufti Mohammed Sayeed’s daughter Rubaiya) and in 1999, freeing three terrorists after the hijack of Indian Airlines flight IC-814.


The third lesson is that whatever and however small the terrorist incident, the nation must retaliate massively. For example, when the Ayodhya temple was sought to be attacked, we should have retaliated by re-building the Ram temple at the site.


Does the following sound familiar?

According to bleeding heart liberals, terrorists are born or bred because of illiteracy, poverty, oppression, and discrimination. They argue that instead of eliminating them, the root cause of these four disabilities in society should be removed. This is rubbish. Osama bin laden was a billionaire. In the failed Times Square episode, failed terrorist Shahzad was from a highly placed family in Pakistan and had an MBA from a reputed US university.”

The instructor, who is also a senior politician in India, calls for reclamation of properties once built as Hindu shrines but later seized and rebuilt as Muslim mosques.  

Response on the Harvard campus was nothing if not predictable.

In July, the following appeared in Harvard’s campus paper.

A group of Harvard students have started a petition calling on the University to sever ties with Subramanian Swamy, a Harvard Summer School economics instructor who wrote an op-ed against Islamic terrorism that many have called offensive and inflammatory.

In an article published July 16 in the Indian newspaper Daily News and Analysis, Swamy recommended demolishing hundreds of mosques, disenfranchising non-Hindus who do not acknowledge their alleged Hindu ancestry, and banning conversion from Hinduism.

Link is here http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2011/7/27/swamy-harvard-india-petition/

The petition begins as follows

We the undersigned members of the Harvard community are outraged to learn that Subramanian Swamy, an Indian politician whose recent editorial shows him to be a bigoted promoter of communalism in India, also teaches economics at Harvard University Summer School. We demand that the Harvard administration repudiate Swamy’s remarks and terminate his association with the University.

Swamy proposes a truly shocking set of “strategies” for “deter[ring] terrorism” in an op-ed appearing in the July 16th edition of the Daily News & Analysis, an Indian newspaper. These include “declar[ing] India a Hindu Rashtra in which non-Hindus can vote only if they proudly acknowledge that their ancestors were Hindus”; “[r]emov[ing] the masjid in Kashi Vishwanath temple and the 300 masjids at other temple sites”; “[e]nact[ing] a national law prohibiting conversion from Hinduism to any other religion”; and “[p]ropagat[ing] the development of a Hindu mindset.”

As the summer term wraps up this week,  the university appears to have stood pat.   An update of the controversy is here

The comment flow on these articles is as interesting as the news pieces themselves.    One asserts as follows

I agree to these point. Dr. Swamy’s comments if taken out of context may sound bigoted> However, if one examines the historical facts, then his interpretation is certainly valid. While many of his proposed strategies may sound off  the wall, some are comparable with a quid-pro-quo approach which is certainly the way many western nations have used to justify retaliatory  attacks i.e. Afghanistan, Iraq etc.

Not all students at Harvard are knowledgeable of world history or thinking of the view points of those of us who may be or will be affected.  Add to this the lack of awareness of Indian History, you have responses based on their need to support equal rights to all, without understanding their views are non representative of the majority for whom or to whom Dr,Swamy is addressing.

The true resolution of this matter won’t be known until next year, when it becomes clear whether or not the instructor returns for another summer.