Wisconsin Instructor's 9/11 Conspiracy Theories ill-serve Students
Chicago, IL, October 11, 2006 ... University of Wisconsin instructor Kevin Barrett's use of 9/11 conspiracy theories and choice of a textbook that equates President George W. Bush with Adolf Hitler and bashes Israel raise serious questions about whether he has crossed the line into political advocacy, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said today.
"While we respect academic freedom, ADL is deeply concerned that the students in Barrett's class are receiving a taxpayer-funded indoctrination into the instructor's personal political views that the U.S. government perpetrated the 9/11 attacks, that America is equivalent to Nazi Germany and that Israel is a racist state," said Lonnie Nasatir, Regional Director of ADL's Upper Midwest office and a University of Wisconsin alumnus. "Students who have signed up for a class purportedly about Islam are being ill-served by this content, which has little to do with that great religion."
Barrett's class is entitled "Islam: Religion and Culture." Students in the course are required to purchase a book, "9/11 and American Empire: Muslims, Jews and Christians Speak Out," which includes an essay written by Barrett, "Interpreting the Unspeakable: The Myth of 9/11," that describes 9/11 as a U.S. government conspiracy, compares America to Nazi Germany and bashes Israel.
ADL has documented the increasing reach of conspiracy theories about the 9/11 attacks, which often take on anti-Semitic and anti-American overtones.
"These 9/11 conspiracies are used to demonize Jews, Israel and America, and have become part of the core belief systems of anti-Semites and millions of others around the world," said Nasatir. "It is deeply troubling that a prestigious public university would choose to offer a class that provides fodder to extremists, rather than seek to debunk these myths."
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.