Press Releases

CAIR-Ohio Urges Oberlin College to Investigate Anti-Muslim Arabic Lecturer

oberlin(CLEVELAND, OH – 4/1/14) – The Cleveland chapter of the Council on Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Cleveland) today expressed concern about a lecturer in the Arabic language department at Oberlin College, Dr. Samir Amin Abdellatif, who openly promotes anti-Muslim bigotry and crude stereotypes of Muslims in his writings and on campus.

CAIR-Cleveland requested that the college “investigate the matter and take appropriate action based on the results of that investigation.”

Abdellatif is the publisher of a 290-page tract that vilifies Islam and Muslims. His publication, entitled “The Unknown History of Islam,” espouses outlandish conspiracy theories about the Muslim and promotes xenophobic views about Muslim immigration to the West.

In CAIR's letter to Oberlin College President Martin Krislov, CAIR-Cleveland Executive Director Julia A. Shearson outlined statements from Abdellatif's tract that characterize Islam as having “slowed down all advancement and progress of all the nations it set foot in.”

The tract makes other false claims such as:

  • “Muslims would try to force their values and traditions on others callously. They would force their neighbors to cover their heads; otherwise they taunt them for not being modest; Muslim teachers would try to make their Christian students pray according to their Islamic religion.”
  • “Islam is an ideology of control, not for human and brotherly love.”

In her letter, Shearson wrote, “We believe the reputation of Oberlin College is tarnished and students are done a disservice by having an Arabic language instructor who openly promotes anti-Muslim bigotry and who condones crude and ugly caricatures of Muslims.”

CAIR has also learned that Oberlin College is apparently relying on the testimony of Dr. Abdellatif in its current bid to remove Dr. Ali Yedes, a Muslim professor who is chairman of the Arabic language program. Oberlin's move comes on the heels of a discrimination case brought against the college by Yedes.

In addition to overseeing the Arabic language program, Dr. Yedes serves as the Muslim religious life affiliate and is the advisor for the Muslim Students Association.

A long-time professor at Oberlin, Dr. Yedes, who practices a form of Sufism from his native country of Tunisia, is known as a moderate Islamic thinker. He has encouraged programs to increase dialogue on campus, including the promotion of an interfaith center in which the Torah and the Quran are both recited at the Jewish Sabbath services.

The Muslim Students Association, with Dr. Yedes as its faculty advisor, has a Hindu member of the Oberlin student body serving as president. Dr. Yedes is known for his promotion of interreligious understanding on campus.

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

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CONTACT: CAIR-Cleveland Executive Director Julia A. Shearson, 216.830.2247, jshearson@cair.com; CAIR-National Communications Director, Ibrahim Hooper, 202.488.8787, ihooper@cair.com 

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