Canada, Education

An Academic Mobbing at McGill

Editor’s note: More than 200 pages of supporting documents have been gathered by Professor Ibrahim for use in a defamation lawsuit he is engaged in against a student and a colleague. These documents include both the Minority and Majority Reports issued by the Departmental Tenure Committee, student testimonials and affidavits, as well as a variety of departmental communications involving Professor Ibrahim’s tenure. These materials are not publicly available but have been reviewed by the editors and they are referenced and quoted throughout the article. 

On February 6, 2018, a faculty member of McGill University’s Institute of Islamic Studies (IIS) emailed Robert Wisnovsky, the newly installed director of the institute, to report that he had overheard three women talking in an elevator about their desire to take down tenure-track faculty member and Islamic Law Specialist Ahmed Fekry Ibrahim. “I want him to get fired,” one student wearing a hijab said. “He is the most Islamophobic prof I have ever had. I fucking hate him.”

It’s unclear whether the comments were uttered randomly, or if, as seems more likely, the young woman was knowingly contributing to a defamation campaign aimed at destroying Ibrahim’s career. Baseless allegations implicating Ibrahim as a misogynist and sexual predator had been spreading through the department for many months—some including racist innuendo about his “Arab sexuality.” One student alleged in a statement to the ISS that Ibrahim had sent her flirtatious texts and emails until she asked him to desist and that, since then, she felt “frightened” and “intimidated” when she encountered him on campus and he “made sure to make eye contact, and even say hello.”

Like most targets of such ruthless smear campaigns, Ibrahim was slow to understand that he was the victim of a workplace “academic mobbing.” Swedish psychologist Heinz Leymann first articulated the syndrome of mobbing in the early 1980s as “an impassioned, collective campaign by co-workers to exclude, punish and humiliate a targeted worker.” The urge “travels through the workplace like a virus.”

Kenneth Westhues, professor emeritus at the University of Waterloo, himself a victim of such a campaign, devoted himself to the topic for decades. In his 2006 book, The Envy of Excellence: Administrative Mobbing of High-Achieving Professors, Westhues developed a list of criteria to identify true mobbing. Amongst them:

  • The target is popular and high-achieving. Mediocre performers tend not to arouse the eliminative impulse in peers.
  • Unanimity prevails among colleagues: “The loss of diverse opinion is a compelling indication that eliminative fury has been unleashed.”
  • The charges are vague and fuzzy.
  • Rumours and gossip circulate about the target’s misdeeds: “Did you hear what she did last week?”
  • Unusual timing of the decision to punish, e. g., apart from the annual performance review.
  • The adding up of the target’s real or imagined venial sins to make a mortal sin that cries for action.
  • A lack of due process.
  • The rhetoric is overblown. “The more fervent, excited and overwrought the language used against the target, the less likely is the basis for exclusion of anything but a collective will to destroy.”
  • The target is seen as personally abhorrent, with no redeeming qualities; stigmatizing, exclusionary labels are applied.

In a classic mobbing episode, the propelling “sin” is either venial or non-existent, but is often predicated on an easily demonized aura of nonconformism. The accused at first assumes his friends and colleagues will rush to defend him, but as defenses are mounted, the severity of the allegations will increase, making it clear that to even defend the target’s rights is tantamount to endorsement of abhorrent behavior. Even those closest to the target may turn on him or her in order to show allegiance to the cause, and to distance themselves from the growing threat of danger that will not only take down the target but destroy those with the courage to stand against the mob.

Director Robert Wisnovsky had a major problem on his hands. In the age of #MeToo and University Culture Wars raging over identity politics, public call outs, and no-platforming, could Wisnovsky, a white “privileged” scholar with degrees from Yale and Princeton, effectively negotiate a solution to a growing cabal of radical students who were successfully painting a Muslim scholar as an Islamophobe and sexual predator? Wisnovsky wrote back to the faculty member who reported the incident in the elevator to say that he was aware of the problem and trying to resolve it.

In May of 2018 with Wisnovsky as Chair of the Departmental Tenure Committee (DTC), Ibrahim became the first tenure-track scholar he could find on record in the 66-year history of the IIS to be denied tenure. His academic career had been destroyed. Yet, like all academic mobbings, the justifications for the destruction of a career do not hold up outside of the manufactured hysteria. To any reasonable unbiased outsider, questions remain.

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Ahmed Fekry Ibrahim was born and raised in a working-class neighborhood of Cairo, where at an early age his Sufi Muslim parents enrolled him in a conservative school, starting him on his trajectory to expertise in Islamic Studies. Ibrahim thrived in this environment, rising to the top of his class in elementary and high school, and then later becoming the top student in his B.A. Azhar University cohort. After a stint as a journalist—he became the Cairo correspondent for the Middle East Times and later a reporter for an Arabic-language newspaper—Ibrahim did his doctoral studies in the U.S., after which, in 2012, he was hired as a tenure-track specialist in Islamic Law at McGill’s IIS.

As the first person in his family to receive a BA (let alone a PhD and a number of prestigious appointments), his successes were a source of enormous pride to his parents. Indeed, for many in his extended family’s home village, Ibrahim was an inspiration, even a type of hero, albeit soon to become a tragic one.

In the spring of 2014, Ibrahim (then in his mid-thirties) became romantically involved with one of his former students, 20-year old MG. McGill did not have a policy regarding professor-student relations, and Ibrahim was aware that it didn’t. MG was no longer Ibrahim’s student; therefore, the relationship was, he felt, his private business. Nevertheless, the relationship could not have been a secret in the relatively small, fishbowl atmosphere of the IIS.

Early in their relationship, Ibrahim hired MG as a Research Assistant. Since MG was paid the same wage as other RAs, and did the work competently, he was for a time able to rationalize the conflict of interest. But discomfort persisted and by mutual accord the assistantship ended in September. The relationship continued until April 2015, when Ibrahim broke it off.

After the breakup, which MG seemed to accept but, according to Ibrahim, with covert expressions of resistance (texts, emails emanating ambiguity as to their relationship status), she began to regard herself as a victim of a power imbalance. She shared her sense of injury with two feminist IIS professors, with whom she was on friendly terms. They took up her grievance with alacrity.

In early June 2015, withholding the subject matter, then IIS director Rula Abisaab asked for a conference Skype meeting with Ibrahim, which materialized on June 9. Four members of the IIS told Ibrahim his relationship with MG had created a “toxic environment” at the Institute. This came as a shock to Ibrahim, but he took it at face value, and made an individual apology tour of the department. Only two people declined to meet with him, both of whom would later be identified in student testimonials as vocal detractors.

Rumours flew within the McGill community and then in September, an anonymously authored article appeared in the McGill Daily, entitled “Let’s Talk about Teacher.” The particulars make it clear the writer is MG, describing her relationship with Ibrahim. The article portrays Ibrahim as a serial abuser of women who is willing to use his authority for sexual gain. Ibrahim categorically rejects MG’s characterization of the relationship, and asserts the article is replete with falsehoods. MG, he told me, was a confident and intelligent woman with full agency who had, in fact, initiated the relationship.

Because it was the spark that ignited a forest fire, I spoke to Ibrahim at some length about his relationship with MG. Did he not see that the optics were sketchy? In fact, he didn’t. He told me that if McGill had had a policy proscribing professor-student relationships, he would have respected it. But he saw nothing morally wrong in it. In Egypt, he said, marriages with former students, even with a 10 or 15-year age disparity, are not frowned upon. He confessed that up until this happened to him, he had been “ignorant of that feminist discourse,” meaning the preoccupation with power imbalances. With time to reflect, Ibrahim has realized that becoming involved with any student was an ill-judged decision.

Not only had there been no policy forbidding student-professor relationships at the time Ibrahim became romantically involved with MG, there was still no policy in place against them when he was denied tenure. (As I write, in what might be called a “barn-door” flurry of responsible stewardship, McGill is now in the process of putting such a policy into place.)

Here we need to be absolutely clear: the conflict of interest arising from his employment of MG was unethical. But the important thing to understand for this story is that, at the time, the university did not consider it a serious infraction meriting a career-ending outcome, particularly since Ibrahim was not the only member of the institute to run afoul of the same issue. There are four couples at the IIS; several have been involved in conflicts of interest of this kind, as have many other couples in other departments.

In September 2016, Ibrahim was penalized by the university—not for the conflict itself, but for failing to disclose the conflict in writing (which he learned after the fact was de rigeur), although he had apologized for it orally. The conflict was not adduced as a reason for denial of tenure. (In fact, it couldn’t be, given the strict guidelines for tenure assessment, which are constrained to three areas: scholarship, pedagogy and service to the academic and greater community.)

In retrospect, Ibrahim came to see the kerfuffle over his affair with MG, and the hyper-inflated allegations of his mobbing that arose from it, as a smokescreen for the real issue: smoldering resentment over his pedagogy—perceived as politically incorrect by a minority of students and faculty alike—in relation to the teaching of contentious issues in Islamic law. That is to say, he did not see his role as an apologist for historical ideas and processes that may have nothing to do with Islam itself as a religion. Rather, he considered himself a teacher of law comparable to some other Canadian teacher of, say, constitutional law. If certain texts were problematic—well, that was something to discuss, not suppress. He knew other professors took a different approach, but did not imagine the difference would spill over into open hostility.

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Sarah Abdel Shamy (sometimes spelled as Sarah Abdelshamy) was a nineteen-year-old first-year student at IIS who was politically active in the McGill World Islamic and Middle East Studies Students Association (WIMESSA). She enrolled in Ibrahim’s ISLA 383 2017 winter course along with two female friends. From the outset, Ibrahim found her difficult. She seemed to come in strong on the first day with an agenda, rejecting his pedagogical authority every time his statements on Islam conflicted with her modern-leftist interpretations.

Ibrahim told me he tried hard not to irritate her, but she was impossible to placate. For example, when she challenged his teaching of the pre-modern notion of jihad, she insisted “Islam means peace.”(It actually means “submission.”) He told me that instead of correcting her, he gently informed her that “our idea of peace and our understanding of the foundational sources of Islam are different from Muslims living in the late antique or medieval periods.”

Ibrahim’s teaching style is modeled on the Socratic method, a strategy in common usage in law schools where argument is a foundational skill, but less common in the humanities, most likely because the method leaves discussion paths wide open, where they can easily veer into controversial terrain. His custom was to introduce a subject via a text, pose questions, allow dialogue to ferment organically, play devil’s advocate if necessary to encourage debate, and in general allow students maximum freedom to express their ideas without censure.

Professor Ahmed Fekry Ibrahim

On January 29, 2017, two weeks into the semester, a mass shooting took place at the Islamic Cultural Centre in Quebec City. Six men were killed and nineteen others injured. The tragedy shook Canadians to the core. Two days later, Ibrahim walked into class, asked for a moment of silence, and began to lead a discussion about Islamophobia. And that was the moment when his real troubles in the department began.

Ibrahim opened the mosque massacre discussion by postulating a hypothetical scenario in which the students were confronted with an Islamophobic uncle who claimed that jihad in Islamic law promotes violence, and to consider what arguments they might use to counter this statement. A cool and rational exercise, to be sure, though perhaps not the best approach at a time of mourning and perhaps exclusionary only in that, for the purposes of intellectual inquiry, he was asking some Muslim students to pretend they had an Islamophobic uncle. But also not proof of Islamophobia—Shamy’s charge, and an accusation Ibrahim finds highly offensive.

While most of the students entered into the discussion in the positive spirit intended, Shamy and her two friends, according to student testimonies, huddled together, and created a tense atmosphere with loud critical asides to each other. After the class, one of Shamy’s friends—I will call her “Najah,” though her real name does appear in the court documents—wrote a sternly critical email to Ibrahim, to which Ibrahim immediately replied in a conciliatory spirit, offering to discuss the matter.

Two days later the follow up class went badly as well. Ibrahim attempted to hold a discussion about the negative aspects of the previous class, but instead of clearing the air and restoring harmony, Shamy ratcheted up her choleric tone and lashed out at Ibrahim, as well as at non-Muslim students in the class who agreed further discussion was a good idea. Shamy, Najah, and another friend stormed out of the class in protest.

Ibrahim appealed in writing to Wisnovsky for advice in dealing with Shamy. He explained in detail what had happened in the controversial classes and included emails from students who expressed their support for his attempts to create a teaching moment on Islamophobia. He also expressed his frustration at being asked to treat Islamic law in a “presentist and ahistorical” way.

Wisnovsky met with Shamy and then afterwards advised Ibrahim to apologize to her. This was of course not the outcome Ibrahim had hoped for, nor was it one that would solve the problem. But in a gesture of good faith, Ibrahim did meet with her, and extended an apology for his insensitivity regarding the mosque massacre. Shamy responded by telling Ibrahim that an article she had written about him would soon appear in the McGill Daily.

And so it did. In “How Much Does a Promise Cost? Turning Islamophobic Violence into Strength,” Shamy portrays herself as the avatar of victimhood: “I will never fully feel like I belong in a classroom…and it is deepened because of my religion, race and gender.” She says she enrolled in Islamic Studies because it “overlaps with my own identity,” but McGill failed to provide her with “protection” and the “safe spaces” she needed.

Shamy complained about the ratio of white students to Muslims (70:30); she complained that “it would be easy for [Ibrahim’s] information to take on a propagandic [sic] or an Islamophobic turn”; she complained that the class environment was “extremely hostile and uncomfortable”; she complained that Ibrahim privileged the opinions of white males over “visibly” Muslim women (Shamy wears a hijab and is believed to be the vocal student in the elevator); she complained that McGill had turned “a blind eye to ongoing violent behavior [sic].”

The McGill Daily article sickened her friend Najah, who saw no relationship to truth in Shamy’s words. To her immense credit she decided to speak up, knowing that this would mean the loss of her friendship with Shamy, and would most likely lead to her own shunning by ideological comrades, which in fact it did. Najah acted decisively by convening a meeting with Wisnovsky on February 20 to refute Shamy’s article. So, at this point, Wisnovsky was well aware that Shamy should not be considered a trustworthy narrator with respect to Ibrahim’s pedagogy.

On April 28, 2017, the ISS and Associate Provost Angela Campbell held an open meeting to discuss issues related to sexual violence on campus. Despite the fact the meeting’s agenda was meant to focus on the formation of policy, a student affidavit reports that Shamy launched into a “rant” about Ibrahim in which she called him a “rapist” and accused McGill of protecting him.  Other students then denounced him with similarly overblown rhetoric. (Shamy did not respond to my repeated requests for an interview.)

Ibrahim’s colleague, Pasha Khan, is alleged to have alluded to Ibrahim as a “rapist” after repeated warnings to a student to avoid this “predator.” That student, who would go on to work with Ibrahim as a TA, testified in an affidavit that she soon realized Khan’s accusations were untrue, and subsequently asked Ibrahim to be her thesis supervisor.

Shortly after this, in May 2017, Ibrahim was approached, informally and off the record, by a delegate of the Provost, inviting him to consider taking part in “discussions” that might be in his interest. The pith of the discussions, according to Ibrahim, was the offer of a quiet payout if he would drop his tenure application and resign from McGill.

Ibrahim refused Provost Manfredi’s offer without a moment’s hesitation. Since he had done nothing to jeopardize his tenure or his good name, he reasoned, why should he act as though he had? It is now small consolation to him that his indignant refusal of this pusillanimous proposition speaks to his innocence, as a guilty mind would have welcomed the opportunity to save himself foreseeable retribution, and with a fat reward to boot.

*     *     *

In September 2017, two months before the first meeting of the tenure committee, a group calling itself “ZeroTolerance” began a sticker campaign in the IIS women’s washrooms and elevators, naming Ibrahim as an abuser. The statement was also posted to a Facebook page titled “ZeroTolerance,” and it reads:

Have you had bad experiences with Prof. Ahmed F. Ibrahim? You’re not alone. He’s up for tenure this year. The time to act is now! Hold McGill responsible for the blind eye they turn to abusive professors. We will keep each other safe when our administration refuses to. With love and rage, Zero Tolerance. To all abusive profs on this campus: we know your names. We are your survivors. We are coming for you one by one. Have a testimony? Contact:

Horrified, Ibrahim asked IIS Director Robert Wisnovsky, and a bit later Dean of Arts Maioni, to open an investigation into all rumoured allegations, but neither of them took any official action to contain the rumour fire. In contrast, the McGill Daily lent eager support to the campaign on October 2017 in an article by a McGill staffer featuring an anonymous accuser who describes office meetings with an unnamed professor, clearly meant to be Ibrahim. The complainant struggles hard to achieve #MeToo status, but her accusations are hardly eyebrow-lifting. For the core of her claim is that in these meetings the professor talked about his personal life and sat very close to her, giving her the impression, he was flirting with her.

I asked Ibrahim if he recognized the anonymous author or her story; he responded “There’s no truth to this at all and I have no clue who this is.” The thing about allegations like these is that the devil is always in the details. The anonymous author said the professor “would insist on keeping the door to his office closed.” While interviewing a colleague whose office is near Ibrahim’s, I asked if he had ever noticed indiscreet behaviour on Ibrahim’s part. He had not. In fact, he told me that he had specifically been irritated by Ibrahim’s practice of leaving the door open while meeting with students. Once, when he asked Ibrahim to shut it so that he wouldn’t have to listen, Ibrahim responded, “I can’t. I have a female student here.”

In true mobbing fashion, the extreme and racist allegations that Ibrahim was a typical Arabic misogynist and sexual predator simply do not add up. In fact the opposite is true. Ibrahim grew up in a patriarchal culture, but is the least patriarchal man one can imagine. In Egypt, he told me, he demonstrated against sexual harassment of women, and supported efforts to implement laws protecting women from sexual aggression. In 2014, his group’s activism resulted in the passage of tougher anti-sexual harassment laws by the Egyptian parliament. Unfortunately, part of the cruelty of academic mobbings is the refusal of the mob to see any redeemable feature in the target whether it exists or not.

One of the stickers plastered across campus.

In mid-November 2017, just prior to the first meeting of the Departmental Tenure Committee, WIMESSA sent a letter to Wisnovsky and Maioni, directly requesting that they deny Ibrahim tenure on grounds that a “significant number of students” avoid coming to the IIS “because of allegations of sexual misconduct.” Survivors of sexual trauma, they say, feel triggered by his “very presence.” Women students, they say, “feel at risk of sexual harassment.” While the letter is certainly damming in its thrust, it does not contain a single fact that would support any charge of actual misconduct on Ibrahim’s part.

Amidst this onslaught of disinformation, Najah would again step in to do the right thing and speak up against the treatment of Ibrahim. In a formal letter dated November 27, 2017, addressed to Professor Antonia Maioni, Dean of the faculty of Arts, and copied to Professor Wisnovsky, Najah would again firmly rebut Shamy’s article, tell the truth of what actually happened in the controversial classes of January 31 and February 2, 2017, and succinctly acknowledge the witch-hunt Ibrahim had endured.

In the letter, Najah states that Shamy, “quite strongly disliked Professor Ibrahim based on ideological differences” and that her own forcefully worded email to Ibrahim contained emotions that “were not truly representative of how I felt about what had transpired.” And most illuminating: “I felt the need to appease my friends at the time and, given the clique mentality of the group if I failed to hold the same beliefs as them, my loyalty and Muslim identity was questioned.”

As for Shamy’s accusations—that Ibrahim was “an internalized Islamophobe and constantly interrupts Muslim women in favour of white women,” Najah says, “this could not be further from the truth. I am a black Muslim woman and Professor Ibrahim has not ever interrupted me or made me feel less valued than my white female classmates. Quite the contrary.”

Indeed, “[t]he only interruptions made in class were when Sarah Abdelshamy, one of my friends, would take up the entire floor for long durations which did not allow other students to contribute to discussions….There is not one class where Sarah raised her hand and she was not given the floor to speak.” Later in the letter, Najah characterizes Shamy’s charge that Ibrahim treats white students better than Muslims as “an egregious misrepresentation of the truth.”

In direct contrast to Shamy’s allegation that Ibrahim disrespected students, Najah wrote:

While these moments in class were incredibly uncomfortable for me and many students who had expressions of discomfort on their faces, Professor Ibrahim would allow her (Shamy) to challenge him and was incredibly respectful. He would even propose books or articles to Sarah to gain further knowledge about the topics she questioned him about and her reply on one of those days was “Why are you suggesting I read about Jihad from a white person?”

Najah notes as well that she refused to move forward with filing a complaint against Professor Ibrahim within the Institute “even though she (Shamy) urged me to do so.” She adds that Ibrahim “has been one of the best Professors I have had the chance to learn from at McGill.”(“one of the best professors” or “the best professor” runs through five years of student comments on Ibrahim’s teaching like a mantra.) Najah’s letter unequivocally exposed Shamy’s actions for what they were: an absurd and unethical witch-hunt lead by a zealot who would stop at nothing to destroy the reputation of a good man, even if it meant acting like a high school student by posting lies about him in the University’s washroom stalls.

In an effort to mitigate the growing bias generated from within the department, Ibrahim requested the removal of three potentially biased ISS faculty members from his Departmental Tenure Committee. Wisnovsky granted Ibrahim’s request and replaced three of the members with tenured McGill faculty from outside the institute. To open the DTC’s first meeting, Wisnovsky prepared and read a statement to the outside faculty, dated November 26, 2017, instructing the ostensibly unbiased members of the DTC to make their decision strictly on the merits of Ibrahim’s tenure dossier. Now this is where things took a sharp turn into the absurd. In doing so, Wisnovsky then disclosed to the DTC the exact extraneous details that he states should have no bearing on the process.

Wisnovsky opened his speech by stating that he was not acting “arbitrarily or hastily” and that he had consulted with McGill’s lawyers and the Provost on how to fulfil his duties as DTC Chair. He then stated, “As most if not all of you know, there have been numerous rumors surrounding Professor Ibrahim, and a great deal of tension in the Institute concerning whether or not he should be awarded tenure.” In short, Wisnovsky paints the tenure application as a campus wide controversy that now involves not only top administrators, but also department wide “tension” and even McGill general counsel.

He then reminds the members of the DTC that, “The fact that Professor Ibrahim was subject to disciplinary sanction cannot be used as a basis of judgment when each of us decides how to rank him in his three academic duties of research, teaching, and service.” But in the same paragraph he discloses the exact details of Ibrahim’s relationship with MG and the sanction he received for not disclosing that relationship.

Wisnovsky then informed members of the DTC that Ibrahim requested the removal of three faculty members for bias and tells them that this cannot be used against him in the evaluation of his tenure application. In perhaps the most damaging and biased statement of them all, Wisnovsky stated, “Two of those tenured Institute colleagues were targets of the tenure candidate’s internal and external harassment complaints.” [emphasis mine] Here Wisnovsky has chosen specific and careful language, perhaps through the guidance of McGill’s general counsel, that leaves the distinct impression that Ibrahim’s efforts to receive a fair and unbiased review of his tenure was actually an act of aggression and that the removed faculty were his “targets.”

A subsequent sticker campaign encouraging students to “disrupt Prof. Ibrahim’s tenure process.” None of the “many testimonies the stickers alleged had been submitted were ever published.

Wisnovsky then told the DTC that, as an added precaution, he personally chose to remove his own wife as a possible member of the committee because “a similar apprehension of conflict of interest was possible in her case too, given that we are married.” What’s of course absurd about this self-flagellation in which Wisnovsky attempts to add his own wife to the list of Ibrahim’s “targets,” is that by acknowledging that his wife may be biased by proximity to him he is more or less confessing his own bias.

To round things off, Wisnovsky concludes his opening statement to the DTC by stating “I realize that this is all a lot to absorb.” Now of course the question we must ask is this: why is there anything to “absorb” at all in a statement that Provost Manfredi stated would “ensure that the DTC would set aside any information outside of the tenure dossier.” If Wisnovsky’s statement was intended to focus the DTC on Ibrahim’s actual application, as is policy, then it would have been a neutrally written document that contained no details of what needed to be restricted. The only thing that would need to be “absorbed” would be the rules and instructions that the DTC act ethically and adjudicate Ibrahim’s application with the impartiality that the process required.

In short, given that Wisnovsky revealed information likely to encourage bias to the DTC members, information that they were not permitted to know according to McGill’s own guidelines, the tenure rejection to follow may be said to be, in ethical terms, the fruit of a poisoned tree. On November 30, 2017, three days after the dated draft of Wisnovsky’s script, Ibrahim received notice that his application was “tending to negative.”

In 2014, when renewal of his contract was up for consideration, the IIS evaluation sent to Provost Christopher Manfredi, then Dean of Arts, was lavish in its plaudits. Citing Ibrahim’s contributions in detail, it concludes: “[A]fter only two years, it is clear that the hiring of Ahmed Ibrahim was fortuitous; he has upheld the strong tradition of the study of Islamic law at the Institute,” and “Prof. Ibrahim has compiled an impressive research and teaching record that would already count as superior in a tenure recommendation.”

Since 2014, Ibrahim’s teaching rankings have actually improved and the rate of his publishing has accelerated. An external reviewer’s report stated that, “Dr. Ibrahim’s work is of the highest academic caliber; he has achieved the rare feat of both providing theoretical heft to an important and under-theorized area of Islamic law, and changing how we think of Islamic law as a discipline.”

In the last five years, for example, along with journal contributions, Ibrahim has published two books, the first of which was received with respect and praise by international scholars, the second of which was published this past July by Cambridge University Press. This is quite exceptional for a scholar at this stage of his career, and certainly extraordinary at McGill’s IIS. In addition to which, his service record to McGill and the larger community has been so exemplary that this past January, Ibrahim was nominated for the McGill Principal’s prize for public engagement through media.

His student evaluations tell a similar story of excellence. In his five years of teaching, 327 students evaluated Ibrahim as a professor who invited them to share their views freely, compared with nine students whose 13 comments expressed disappointment on that point. As the DTC’s Minority Report notes, “It strikes us as suspicious that all of the 13 negative comments on Professor Ibrahim’s failure to create a safe learning environment for women students in particular appear for the first time in five years in winter 2017 in the comments on his Central Questions in Islamic Law (ISLA 383), the last semester from which student evaluations would count towards tenure.”

In response to the denial of Ibrahim’s tenure, 80 of the approximately 400 students who studied under him signed a counter-petition in Ibrahim’s support, urging McGill to exercise due process, change course, and grant Ibrahim tenure. These students put their names to this petition knowing there might be both social and professional blowback for doing so. A number of them also wrote glowing testimonials and sworn affidavits on Ibrahim’s behalf. Taken together, one finds in these letters the portrait of an environment in which everyone walks on eggshells when dealing with gender and Islam.

I communicated by telephone and email, or met in person with a number of present and former students, recommended to me by Ibrahim as counterpoint to his detractors. Common themes emerged and these former students spoke of Ibrahim in glowing terms. One who I will call “Olivia,” said she could sense hostility to Ibrahim from his colleagues. She wrote me: “When speaking with one or two other professors about how much I enjoyed Islamic studies, and them having asked me which classes in specific, upon hearing Professor Ibrahim’s name, they pulled a certain face…Whilst Professor Ibrahim encouraged us to think about taking other courses in the faculty, including those of other professors, the same cannot be told the other way around.”

In contrast to their glowing testimonials of Ibrahim, these same students describe Shamy as, variously, “a vicious individual” who had “a personal vendetta against Professor Ibrahim” and generally “not nice to be around if you are not a person of colour.” One student recounted that Shamy “screamed at the professor and at the students very aggressively, saying you don’t have the right to speak.”

Despite all the evidence indicating a process stacked against him, the denial of Ibrahim’s tenure was recommended by the Department Tenure Committee and accepted without demur by the University Tenure Committee (UTC) and the Provost. For Ibrahim, the denial was a staggering professional dishonour, as well as a psychological and emotional blow from which he may never wholly recover. With two children to support (amicably divorced, Ibrahim and his ex-wife share parenting), and further burdened by the shame of curtailing remittances on which his Cairo family depends, Ibrahim finds it difficult to concentrate on his research at a time when he must now start his career over from scratch.

It should go without saying, but in Ibrahim’s case—given the entirely rumour-based reputation with which he is now saddled—it needs to be said: No complaint of any act of impropriety, sexual or otherwise, has ever been laid against him at McGill University or anywhere else. When his contract expires in June of 2019, Ibrahim will be unemployed and unemployable in his academic field.

In July of 2018, Ibrahim filed a $600,000 defamation lawsuit against Shamy and Pasha Khan. His lawyer, Julius Grey, a familiar and respected name in Quebec human rights litigation, told me that he considers the evidence for the baseless mobbing campaign that ended Ibrahim’s academic career “solid,” adding that (in general) in academia, “the presumption of innocence seems to have gone completely by the boards” and “mobbing appears to be authorized and effective.”

Ibrahim has also appealed his tenure denial to Professor Peter Grutter Vice-Chair, University Appeals Committee. In a letter to Grutter requesting that he dismiss Ibrahim’s appeal, Manfredi defends his own position in the process, claiming that he was not biased.

If he was not biased, what, then, happened to change Manfredi’s mind between his reception of the IIS’s unconditional commendation of Ibrahim in 2014 and his May 2017 offer to purchase Ibrahim’s self-immolation? How does he justify the extraordinary conflict of interest he then put himself in by signing off on a tenure denial as though he had been persuaded by the Majority Report, when in fact he had apparently already made up his mind that Ibrahim had to go a year earlier?

Manfredi’s denial of bias is untenable. His buyout offer to Ibrahim, received months ahead of the formal tenure process, is tantamount to an admission that the fix was already in, and that everything to follow was the academic version of Kabuki theatre. In this tragedy, many individuals conspired to bring their targeted scapegoat low, but they could not have, and would not have, succeeded if the institution that had the moral obligation and the power to see academic justice done, had followed its own tenure guidelines with probity.

The removal of a politically incorrect thorn in its side may have been convenient for McGill in the short term, but over the long term will likely be viewed with chagrin as not worth the ineradicable stain of institutional dishonor Ibrahim’s tenure denial represents. Ibrahim’s hearing by the tenure appeal panel is scheduled for October 17. For anyone at McGill to backtrack now and admit that the tenure process was biased would be an act of courage in the face of a process that has been marred by cowardice, secrecy, and duplicity. Yet Ibrahim’s fate and McGill’s good name hang on that faint hope.

Both Professor Wisnovsky and Provost Christopher Manfredi declined an opportunity to comment for this article.


Barbara Kay has been a weekly columnist for the National Post since 2003 and sits on the advisory and/or executive board of the Canadian Association for Equality, the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, and the Montreal Press Club. You can follow her on Twitter at @BarbaraRKay


    • Witchsmeller Pursuivant says

      “Shamy should be expelled.”

      The parallels to the Kavanaugh confirmation debacle are numerous and staggering.

      If due process investigation shows that Shamy or anyone else whipped up a lynching against this professor, I think the full weight of legal punishment for any lies they told or improper incitement they fomented should fall on the accusers … HARD.

      There needs to be an example set: abuse the system to grind your ax, and we’ll use that ax to chop you to bits. It’s one thing to go to authorities, make your claim, and let them take it from there. It’s quite another to go on a campaign against someone as though you ARE the authorities, judge, and jury.

      • Well said. My cynical core says that when they finally make an example, it will be divisive, because they will pick an example without near this much evidence to back it up. An example has to have unquestionable evidence to back it up.

  1. Hmmm, the girl with the texts from him….show them….must be others…..Need more proof, but based on my knowledge of professors and girls at McGill he fits the profile of someone who would at least suggest a way to improve marks…….

    Should cut this guy loose just because of hiring his “girl friend”…….audit her marks too if possible..

    • Rather than padding your comment with several suggesting ellipses, can you elaborate on your ‘knowledge of professors and girls at McGill’ or are you simply trying to propagate vagaries in an attempt to justify this witch hunt?

      Otherwise I’d have to say … based on my knowledge of anonymous online comments … you might fit the description of someone … trying to fan the flames to promote their own … agenda.

      • Declan says

        I’d say it’s more likely, given Scott’s other coment here, that he’s a troll. Not a very imaginative one at that. Best ignored.

    • That’s not how it works, buddy.

      People don’t have to prove their innocence. It’s the other way around.

  2. Some of the professors are just as bad as Harvey W, and really have as much power over the students…

  3. mikeb says

    Concision is not one of Quillette’s virtues.

    Long crybaby ranting is.

      • Thylacine says

        You prefer simple misrepresentation to complicated truths.

      • I actually appreciate having such a detailed background on the story before they went on to explain the defamation lawsuit. It doesn’t hurt one’s brain to read a long [looong] article here and again. It gives us more knowledge of the situation, which presents us a better opportunity to make up our own minds.

        I went to HS at a time when a teacher hugging a student was just starting to become an issue where suggestions of impropriety arise. I watched one of the best teachers I’ve ever had have his name dragged through the mud. He was vindicated before it ever went to court.

        I also went to a school where after I moved away, a teacher that had basically worked with every student that ever attended that school was accused of sexual harassment. His case was dismissed with prejudice, but his name was ruined. You can’t teach after that. Now he sells used cars.

    • Alex Wirtz says

      Sentences too long? There’s always the big picture at the top.

    • Andrew_W says

      “Concision is not one of Quillette’s virtues.”

      I found the article comprehensive and readable.

  4. Heike says

    If they showed any tolerance, it wouldn’t be a zero tolerance policy.

    The intolerant Left has a big problem, and it’s not going away.

  5. It’s a pity that the article treats “Islamophobia” as a valid concept. It isn’t, the term was invented to try to disallow any criticism of Islam.

    There is nothing “phobic” in being critical of Islam and seeing it as harmful, any more than it is “phobic” to be critical of communism or fascism or any other ideology.

    • Peter from Oz says

      Exactly right, Coel. The same people who are self righteous about any criticism of Islam are usually quite happy to criticise Christianity.

      • YeshMesh says

        Indeed. I have yet to hear anyone speak out against “Christianophobia”, in spite of it being one of the few “phobias” I’ve witnessed in the real world.

        I’ve never seen anyone whom I thought, “That guy really is afraid of people who feel and dress like the opposite biological sex …” But I’ve often seen people shit bricks and worry openly about their “safety” at the very notion that a Christian might give a talk on a campus or be appointed to the Supreme Court.

      • TarsTarkas says

        Because at heart they are cowards. Criticizing Islam carries a risk of retaliatory violence, whereas criticizing Christianity, or Judaism, or most other religions carries zero to minimal risk. So they submit to Islam.

    • Andrew_W says

      A phobia is an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something, I’ve seen plenty of comments from people with an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to Islam, nutters who’re convinced that muslim = terrorist.

      • frances says

        Any suggestions then for a name for people who wish to offer a calm, rational critique of Islam in the form of an exchange of information and ideas? At the moment, “Islamophobe” seems to cover them/us as well.

      • Wil Cee says

        Christopher Hitchens has done a number of critiques on Islam that were factually-based and thoughtfully critical. Another would be Maajid Nawaz, Nabeel Quereshi, and Yasmine Mohammed. Perhaps you need to stop watching right-wing commentators that justify your ignorance.

        • Actual Яussian Troll says

          “Perhaps you need to stop watching right-wing commentators that justify your ignorance.”

          Do you say this from experience watching lots of right-wing commentators? Or are you ignorant of them and just repeating what you’ve heard?

          I’m most curious.

          • Wil Cee says

            Do the people I list strike you as right-wing commentators on the topic? The previous poster’s point was that he or she wasn’t wasn’t of any, and so the term “islamophobia” is valid. I’ve offered a just a few and they are quite well-known. You retort makes no sense, but hey, at least you tried.

      • Thylacine says

        Nothing like “muslim = terrorist” is to be found here. Try again.

        • Andrew_W says

          Thylacine, my comment was in reply to Coel’s assertion that: “It’s a pity that the article treats “Islamophobia” as a valid concept. It isn’t, the term was invented to try to disallow any criticism of Islam.” getting OT I know, but there are people out there who have an irrational fear of Islam.

        • frances says

          Wil Cee
          That is so not what I meant. But life is short… moving right along!

      • Andrew_W says

        Hamr, if there’s a term for a hatred of all things white and western, Shamy has it.

        • Woodrow says

          Yep. Beware the borderline disordered lefkophobic masculophobic heterophobe.

        • Yep, Andrew, for a pretentious young ‘woman(?)’, she really does seem to hate the centuries of western culture that gave her the freedom to express her hatred.
          I do think that @Woodrow hasto rearrange (and add?) Some NEW words, to create a better acronym.
          Just a suggestion, Woodrow.
          BTW….thx for the lols, ppl.

  6. Bob C says

    The many issues raised by this case keep emerging in one form or another in university after university. One is bound to wonder whether we would not be better off returning to segregated education. A sad outcome in many ways, but it would make stories like Ibrahim’s less commonplace. Might it be that some twentieth-century social ideals carry too high a cost?

    • Thylacine says

      Segregation by gender does nothing to curb jealousy of colleagues and leftist ideological mobbing.

      • Bob C says

        True, but it would make it less likely that one would employ a former lover or inhabit “an environment in which everyone walks on eggshells when dealing with gender”. The leftist ideology has arisen in part because we seen unable to create educational institutions where males and females can study together harmoniously. Young women are either preyed upon or allowed to appoint themselves Witchfinder-General. If we cannot find a sensible, non-ideological solution to this problem, then perhaps a return to segregation may be the best option, or at any rate the least destructive.

  7. Aylwin says

    It’s reassuring that there are folk such as this author who have the energy and integrity to investigate and report on such events. Thankyou.

  8. This is so reminiscent of the McCarthy witch hunts, also actual witch hunts for that matter.

    Unbelievable that it’s happening in institutions that would once have been considered bastions against this very thing.

    • Thylacine says

      It’s only “unbelievable” if you have been unaware of universities these past 25 years.

      • Graduated during the late 70’s. Never looked back. So your surmise is correct. Reading articles posted at Quillette and following a few links has been a real eye opener.

        TBH, there are already already more than enough things in the world to be depressed about, I’m beginning to think I need to find a safe space…

  9. “McGill University’s Institute of Islamic Studies (IIS)”
    – did they find the parts in the Quran that says “slay them wherever you find them” ? Or it would be Islamophobic to actually scientifically study islam and find out what it is really about? So there is a whole department for studying one thing, and they refuse to find anything in it???? They are really the Institute of Islamic Un-Studies, or islamic cover-up. Finding ways to explain away its mass murderous imperialist goals for the western public.

  10. peanut gallery says

    To be fair, Christo and fasco-phobia don’t sound as good. Islamophobia really rolls of the tongue.

    • codadmin says

      But, if you say ‘Christ-o-phobia’, then it rolls off the tongue even easier than Islamophobia, which has an extra syllable.

  11. Thylacine says

    SAFS has been fighting academic mobbing (by drawing attention to it) for 25 years. If you are a normal academic, one who is disgusted by the path universities have taken, you should consider joining.

  12. markbul says

    Hiring a girlfriend is not a conflict of interest. It may not be a good idea, but where is the ‘conflict?’ Note that it’s the author who uses the term. Presumably, they both have the same interest in doing a good job. It’s a small point, and has nothing to do with the issue at hand, but I have no doubt that that horse is being beaten to death already.

    • He hired his girlfriend as an assistant, it’s a conflict of interest in the same way that it would be if he hired a relative (but one that didn’t in itself raise much of a problem at the university).

  13. Barry says

    The article is extensive and well-written. It contends a case of ‘Academic mobbing’ to deny this professor tenure as a result of a confluence of mainly three ‘unfortunate’ (to Ibrahim) forces: One being his popularity and academic accomplishment which elicited the jealousy of his faculty peers; Second being the ire and unsubstantiated accusations of a spurned lover who was once his student and research assistant (MG); Third, being the vendetta launched by one student (Shamy) who was offended by his political views. We are asked to believe that the tenure committee (and its Chair) succumbed to these influences to render their negative decision because the culture and atmosphere at McGill is so warped by political correctness. If this is a ‘mob’ is Shamy the leader? Raises more questions than it answers especially in regards to the sexual misconduct alleged by MG (years before #MeToo was a thing) and leveraged by Shamy to build her campaign against him.Would have been interesting if Kay had spoken to at least one accuser.

    • TarsTarkas says

      And now Shamy has learned a lesson she will carry with her for the rest of her life and use to try to advance her career: J’accuse = success!

    • Barbara Kay says

      I would have happily interviewed an accuser, but there were none available to contact. Literally. People “spoke” of accusers, but it was hearsay. The only women who alleged offenses did so anonymously (and were permitted to do so by the McGill Daily, which should not have). So there was no way to find any. I did contact Shamy twice, and if she had agreed to an interview, I planned to ask her for alleged victims I could speak to. But she ignored my requests.

  14. Pingback: An Academic Mobbing at McGill | Sassy Wire

  15. Farris says

    It appears officials at McGill University received a complaint, formed a posse, cornered Ibrahim, decide to hang him and them a fair trial. Sounds like all the Due Process steps were met.

    • Barbara Kay says

      McGill did not receive a single complaint. There was no due process. Ibrahim asked for an investigation into the sticker allegations. They did not act on his request.

  16. Constitutionalist56 says

    The penalty for false accusations of any kind should be DEATH!

    Especially those made by Islamists and FemiNazis.

  17. X. Citoyen says

    I can understand the faculty and the administration not defending the man because, well, it’s not like anyone knows one way or the other. But the failure to defend due process in the face of such accusations is downright disturbing—it is the most disturbing thing about these cases.

  18. Alizarin says

    “He told me that if McGill had had a policy proscribing professor-student relationships, he would have respected it. But he saw nothing morally wrong in it. In Egypt, he said, marriages with former students, even with a 10 or 15-year age disparity, are not frowned upon.”

    As a professor of Islamic studies and a Muslim himself, he doesn’t see how boozing and boning his students is morally wrong?

    How can he teach Islam during the day and then go completely against it at night? None of the article about this subject have addressed his hypocrisy.

    • Alizarin says

      There would have been no issue if, like a Muslim is supposed to do, he met a woman, fell in love and married her. Then there would be no sneaking around, no accusations of harassment. He committed the sin of zina in Islam, having sex outside of marriage. There are good, concrete, hard reason why Islam prohibits sex outside of marriage. The complications created by Ibrahim’s relationships are a prime example.

      • Alizarin says

        And if you can’t stomach the Islamic justification for not boning multiple women at once lest they find out and get together to enact revenge, just look at what happened to Julian Assange. That’s why he’s in the position he’s in 8 years after the exact same thing happened. Men cannot expect to behave immorally, and be surprised when there are consequences.

        I’ve seen many Muslim men who grew up in Muslim societies, find themselves in situations with lot of non-Muslim women, and go completely buck wild, making up for lost time, having themselves a field day with non-Muslim women. It always backfires because, as happened here, the women find out and retribution happens.

        • Please forgive my intrusion into your series of self-replies, but are you implying that the man ought to have his career ruined because of a common, heterosexual relationship? Mr. Ibrahim comes off to me as no different than the vast majority of “religious” folk who pick and choose which tenets of the faith to adhere to, within the context of the secular society and norms in which they live. While I can certainly agree that having a relationship with a former student its naive in the extreme given the institutional culture of universities, there is really nothing wrong with it in and of itself. There is some insinuation by the ex-girlfriend about possible cheating, which goes unanswered by Mr. Ibrahim in his piece, but this is all irrelevant because none of us should even be discussing any of this. Absolutely none of this have ever been considered by the tenure committee, and hence no lawsuit would ever have been filed and no investigative article written because there would be no issue.

          • Alizarin says

            I propose that Sleeping With Your Female Underlings While Holding a Position of Power is the male equivalent of Attending a Frat Party While Scantily Clad and Shit-Faced Drunk.

            You “should” be able to expect nothing bad to happen, but if you are wise, you will consider women’s nature to use gossip and back-biting to enact revenge. Women should consider men’s nature to want to touch women, with alcohol grossly magnifying that effect.

            Of course if you followed the teachings of Islam, you’d never find yourself in either of those situations.

        • Alizarin says

          I propose that Sleeping With Your Female Underlings While Holding a Position of Power is the male equivalent of Attending a Frat Party While Scantily Clad and Shit-Faced Drunk.

          You “should” be able to expect nothing bad to happen, but if you are wise, you will consider women’s nature to use gossip and back-biting to enact revenge when scorned. Women should consider men’s nature to want to touch women, with alcohol grossly magnifying that effect.

          Of course if you followed the teachings of Islam, you’d never find yourself in either of those situations.

          • Alizarin says

            Shamy sounds like a dramaqueen, her article made me want to puke and I couldn’t even read all of it. I hope he wins his lawsuit against her. Her involvement in this may cost her career-wise when potential employers Google her name. No one wants to hire an anti-white drama queen except maybe the New York Times.

            I don’t think he should have been denied tenure even while I question what was he thinking when acting outside the boundaries of Islam.

        • Bystander says

          “And if you can’t stomach the Islamic justification for not boning multiple women at once ”

          Actually, it’s perfectly halal as long as you marry them or own them.

          • Alizarin says

            Women are not property in Islam. As for the ability of men to have multiple wives, I believe this is a throwback from prophet Muhammad’s time when there was a severe shortage of men due to war. Single women back then didn’t have the privilege of getting a masters degree and starting their own business, they were very dependent on the protection of men. Allowing up to 4 wives was an imperfect solution to the problem of having more women than men. Yes some Muslim men still take multiple wives but it’s becoming more and more frowned upon, particularly among western Muslims and never considered ideal. Unfortunately in the African American community it is more prevalent for the same reason it was back in prophet Muhammad’s time: a shortage of available men. The argument against it is that prophet Muhammad said you can only marry another woman if you can treat them all equally, any wise person would realize that is not possible and then conclude that it’s not a good idea. Multiple wives in Islam is pretty rare, I have only known of one woman who married a man who had another wife. She was miserable and left him.

    • Daniel says

      Alizarin, very few commenters, and basically zero authors here on Quillette acknowledge the existence of sexual immorality. It is sobering to speculate why…

      • Alizarin says

        I find that strange because I see Quillette as a somewhat conservative-leaning publication, at least where it comes to the family and society. Listeners of Jordan Peterson’s podcast would know that he espouses similar beliefs which are in line with Islamic morals around relationships and marriage. He never comes out and says this because he doesn’t talk about Islamic ethics, but they are similar to Christian ethics for example that stable marriages make for a more stable society and that casual sex is generally pretty bad for women as we can see clearly in this case. Listeners of Jordan Peterson are also familiar with his views on turning chaos into order. Rampant sexual immorality causes chaos, again as clearly can be seen in this sad story from McGill.

        • You make an interesting claim about Jordan Peterson’s views resembling Islamic views, but seeing that you’re a Mohammedan, I think it would be a waste of time to investigate the issue. And I speak from long experience.

    • “Ibrahim (then in his mid-thirties) became romantically involved with one of his former students” – it was a *former* student. And being a professor of Islamic studies doesn’t necessarily entail conforming to Islamic morality.

      • Alizarin says

        If you are a non-Muslim I can see how that might be your perspective, but from a Muslim point of view it’s very troubling that a Muslim professor is teaching Islamic law by day and drinking and committing zina at night. I maintain my argument that had he met MG and married her rather than using her for sex, none of this would have happened. I do believe that having sex with someone you have no formal commitment to is using them, whether you are a man or a woman.

        • @Alizarun- Thx for speaking on behalf of all the worlds muslims.
          You are a patriarchal hero!

          • Alizarin says

            I believe they are a loophole which is very harmful for women and against the true spirit of Islam even if they are permitted by some schools of Islamic thought. I don’t know of any Muslims who are in favor of them.

        • Constantin says

          Your comments rise a couple of important questions: 1) who can teach Islamic Law in a Western University? Does it have to be a Muslim at all? Does he or she have to abide by the tenets of the Koran and be free of sin? ; and 2) Does the fact that a Muslim man committed “zaina” and the stopped doing it constitute proof that the allegations of the female involved are true? You really seem to have embraced the idea that Professor Ibrahim was “boning” other students, when – in fact no actual accusation of that sort was ever verified. Why?

  19. Knowledge is good 999999 says

    He really screwed up when he dated a crazy student, also it’s pretty unfortunate that a pretty successful person got mobbed like that, he must of worked pretty hard to get where he is

  20. Darwin T of BC Humanists says

    If you want to know who is in power and control in a local society or one at large all you need to ask yourself is… who and what am I afraid to ask questions about or criticize? Et voila, you have your answer.

    In this case the answer is Islam and loony left ideology. The perfect ways to glue up your brain!

  21. Darwin T of BC Humanists says

    A Muslim. Where on the spectrum of being a Muslim does this professor land? Is he a salafi or a cultural Muslim? Is he fervent or lapsed? Is he devout or devoutish? Is he a grape fruit juice drinker or a fermented grape fruit juice drinker?

    All religions have this spectrum. The less observant and strict – the more secular and open minded.

    His accusers are coming off as holier than thou and snowflakes. What a combo!!!

      • Darwin T of BC Humanists says

        Yes, but what kind of Sufi? Devout and observant or relaxed and casual? Maybe in between. Where on the spectrum of belief? It is helpful to know.

  22. Daniel says

    Prof: Let’s discuss this so that people don’t get the wrong idea and think that Muslims are unthinking, angry shouters who refuse to be mature enough to handle honest questions, (never mind legitimate challenges.)
    Shamy: How dare you!

  23. Damian O'Connor says

    Terrifying that a student should be able to get away with this sort of behaviour.

  24. Sarah Shamy entered McGill with a preconceived expectation that she would never feel comfortable in a “settler-colonialist” university in an white-occupied country like Canada. Her expectations for Ibrahim’s course “were very low, [She] was very apprehensive about the Islamic Studies department in an institution like McGill.”

    I really don’t think one needs to know anything more about this student then what this confession she wrote in her article for the McGill Daily already states. Her expectations became self-fulfilling prophesies that she willed into existence because she expected to be offended before she had any evidence that she would be offended. Some people see Jesus on their toast: this student sees Islamophobia everywhere. I would say the real victim status here is that her confirmation bias is full tilt.

  25. Jezza says

    I recently compiled a survey from internet sources on jihad in the last twenty years. Attacks have occurred in 52 countries around the world – Argentina, Sweden, The Philippines, Nigeria, England, Canada, Germany, etc., etc. Muslim thugs have murdered MORE THAN THIRTY THOUSAND people, injured more than a HUNDRED THOUSAND. Don’t just take my word for it. Do your own research. Most of these attacks were small (ish), a handful here a dozen there, some were huge like the twin towers. They followed on from the declaration of war on the West By a Muslim cleric whose identity eludes me at the moment. If anyone knows of his you tube clip please let me know because I’ve lost it. Islamophobia? Despising people who put a little girl in a wheelchair for life so the perpetrator can go to paradise is not a phobia, it is a rational response

    • Alizarin says

      By that logic, any Jew should despise all Germans, yet that’s not the case.
      And by that logic, people from countries such as Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan and anywhere that US forces have invaded and murdered people and backed coups against democratically elected leaders, should hate all Americans. And yet they don’t. Strange!

  26. Keith says

    Academics need to start taking advantage of Canada’s strong libel laws. Our libel laws are so strong in Canada that if you can’t win a decision it is pretty clear you did it.

    IF you are innocent of claims, or if the claims are irrelevant slams on your reputation, Canada’s libel laws are there for you.

    Clearly these days administrations and fellow professors are out for each other, and rebel students are taking full advantage.

    Use the courts or lose your careers.

  27. There’s a problem with the disruptive student element. They should expel them immediately instead of giving them free reign. They abuse process and never express themselves in the same forms other students respect. Expelling them from class for monopolizing the floor would be a favor to them. It may not be too late for them to learn how to form their ideas in an appropriate and equitable manner. It is unfair to the other students to allow a heckler’s veto. The professor’s error was in being too liberal and this tendency is being repeated through the culture in endless examples. That it ends in the most thuggish elements of the culture attaining power should be obvious by now.

    • RichieRich says

      Couldn’t agree more. Shamy was clearly behaving inappropriately in class and should have been given a warning and, if necessary, disciplined. But, of course, in the current climate, the teaching and admin staff don’t feel able to confront someone who’s female, a person of colour and non-Christian. Too many victimhood points. Scared it would be seen as oppression. And so “woke” students are essentially allowed to bully and intimidate teaching staff. And to top it all off

      Wisnovsky met with Shamy and then afterwards advised Ibrahim to apologize to her.

      .The turkeys are simply desperate to vote for Christmas (or should that be Winterval?)

  28. By every account, this Sarah Shamy is an extremely vindictive and dangerous person. I can’t believe McGill lets people like that run free and terrorize their employees at will. The other professors must be terrified.

  29. Caroline Baker says

    I would not consider McGill for my teen’s higher education based on this story.

  30. Daniel Pipes examined media statements on the definition of jihad by more than two dozen university-based specialists and found that they tend to portray the phenomenon of jihad in a remarkably similar fashion. Nine of the profs surveyed by Daniel Pipes
    “deny that jihad has any military meaning whatsoever. For Joe Elder, a professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin, the idea that jihad means holy war is “a gross misinterpretation.” Rather, he says, jihad is a “religious struggle, which more closely reflects the inner, personal struggles of the religion.” For Dell DeChant, a professor of world religions at the University of South Florida, the word as “usually understood” means “a struggle to be true to the will of God and not holy war.”

    THE TROUBLE with this accumulated wisdom of the scholars is simple to state. It suggests that Osama bin Laden had no idea what he was saying when he declared jihad on the United States several years ago and then repeatedly murdered Americans in Somalia, at the U.S. embassies in East Africa, in the port of Aden, and then on September 11, 2001. It implies that organizations with the word “jihad” in their titles, including Palestinian Islamic Jihad and bin Laden’s own “International Islamic Front for the Jihad Against Jews and Crusade[rs],” are grossly misnamed. And what about all the Muslims waging violent and aggressive jihads, under that very name and at this very moment, in Algeria, Egypt, Sudan, Chechnya, Kashmir, Mindanao, Ambon, and other places around the world? Have they not heard that jihad is a matter of controlling one’s anger?
    But of course it is bin Laden, Islamic Jihad, and the jihadists worldwide who define the term, not a covey of academic apologists. More importantly, the way the jihadists understand the term is in keeping with its usage through fourteen centuries of Islamic history.
    In premodern times, jihad meant mainly one thing among Sunni Muslims, then as now the Islamic majority.** It meant the legal, compulsory, communal effort to expand the territories ruled by Muslims (known in Arabic as dar al-Islam) at the expense of territories ruled by non-Muslims (dar al-harb). In this prevailing conception, the purpose of jihad is political, not religious. It aims not so much to spread the Islamic faith as to extend sovereign Muslim power (though the former has often followed the latter). The goal is boldly offensive, and its ultimate intent is nothing less than to achieve Muslim dominion over the entire world.
    By winning territory and diminishing the size of areas ruled by non-Muslims, jihad accomplishes two goals: it manifests Islam’s claim to replace other faiths, and it brings about the benefit of a just world order. In the words of Majid Khadduri of Johns Hopkins University, writing in 1955 (before political correctness conquered the universities), jihad is “an instrument for both the universalization of [Islamic] religion and the establishment of an imperial world state.”
    Source: Jihad and the Professors, by Daniel Pipes, Commentary, November 2002

  31. Kendall Wolf says

    Oh no! He used the Socratic method!! Assuredly he will be asked to drink the hemlock!

  32. Indie Wifey says

    Jealousy and her sister Envy are a pair that sit on shoulders of the smallest and most seemingly insignificant interactions. Even with Metoo fed, equal outcome entitlement, which relies on the two, is still and will always a be, a conundrum

  33. estepheavfm says

    Sex-segregated schools is necessary to protect the human rights of males. The reasons such male-shunning behavior is occurring are well understood, both in terms of social constructions, biology and destructive identity-ideologies. False allegations by women will not stop as long as the opportunity for this sex-politics behavior exists.

  34. “In the Muslim community, jihad is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the (Muslim) mission and (the obligation to) convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force. Therefore, caliphate and royal authority are united in (Islam), so that the person in charge can devote the available strength to both of them at the same time.
    The other religious groups did not have a universal mission, and jihad was not a religious duty to them, save only for purposes of defense. It has thus come about that the person in charge of religious affairs in (other religious groups) is not concerned with power politics at all.”
    (Ibn Khaldun, Muqaddimah p 303 of the English edition, p 99 of the Arabic edition)
    Ibn Khaldun, Muqaddimah p 303 of the English edition, p 99 of the Arabic edition
    English edition:
    Arabic edition:

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