In a recent letter, written and delivered to the Commandant of the US Army War College, ten members of Congress shared their “grave concern” that the USAWC “capitulated to the unfounded claims of CAIR [concerning me and my book], and thus damaged the academic freedom and integrity of the high esteem in which the USAWC is held by many around the world…. Not only are we hearing from constituents – military and civilian – on this issue [click here for background], but we’re extremely disappointed in the decision to cancel Mr. Ibrahim and his voice on a critical, current issue in our Nation.”
This new missive complements an earlier one on the same topic from the National Association of Scholars to President Trump, which currently has nearly five thousand signatures (click here to add your name).
The complete letter from the ten Congressmen follows; it makes several excellent points, including how canceling the lecture not only “jeopardizes academic freedom and the analytical ability critical for senior leaders, but also endangers national security in several ways”; and that for the War College to cater its “academic offerings to the demands of one side – especially one designated with terrorist ties – deprives our senior leaders of a balanced viewpoint and analysis critical to success on the battlefield and the future of our Nation.”
July 8, 2019
Major General John S. Kem, Commandant United States Army War College Carlisle Barracks, 22 Ashburn Drive Carlisle, PA 17013-5006
Dear General Kem,
We write to you with grave concern about the recent decision by the United States Army War College (USAWC) and/or the United States Army Heritage Education Center (USAHEC) to postpone a lecture (original invitation enclosed) by Mr. Raymond Ibrahim on 19 June 2019. Mr. Ibrahim, an established and published historian, was invited in January 2019 to lecture on his newest book, “Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West,” a historical work analyzing eight decisive battles between Islam and the West. His lecture was to be part of the “2019 Perspectives in Military History Lecture Series,” and was to offer a well researched thesis worthy of academic inquiry and debate, not only for faculty, staff, and students of the USAWC, but also to the general public.
The USAWC cancelled/postponed Mr. Ibrahim’s lecture. The USAWC initially informed interested parties that the event had been postponed since so few people/students would be on campus in June; a situation that easily would have been foreseen in January, when he was invited and confirmed to speak. During initial contact with USAWC on this issue, we were informed that the postponement was in no way due to an orchestrated protest from the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). Another USAWC statement maintained that the event was postponed in order to, “pair Mr. Ibrahim’s military history insights in close proximity with another historical perspective, at a time when the USAWC curriculum has addressed historical analysis of influences on conflict.” Our concern is that the USAWC and/or USAHEC capitulated to the unfounded claims of CAIR, and thus damaged the academic freedom and integrity of the high esteem in which the USAWC is held by many around the world.
On 28 May, CAIR started an orchestrated, public attack on Mr. Ibrahim’s lecture, based on unfounded claims of the book’s scholarly merit and inaccurate claims about Mr. Ibrahim’s character. CAIR is named by the Department of Justice as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the 2007 terrorist funding case against the Holy Land Foundation. CAIR also is recognized to have ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, and as a result of these connections, our ally, the United Arab Emirates has designated CAIR a terrorist group. CAIR has a clear narrative that it’s attempting to advance, and by ceding to its demands, and canceling events like Mr. Ibrahim’s, the USAWC not only has promoted a one-sided perspective of history, but also denied students a valuable perspective on Islamic history.
Not only are we hearing from constituents – military and civilian – on this issue, but we’re extremely disappointed in the decision to cancel Mr. Ibrahim and his voice on a critical, current issue in our Nation. We depend on the esteem of an exceptional institution such as the USAWC to provide our future senior leaders, not only for our Nation, but worldwide, with an accurate, historical, balanced and thorough education. By postponing Mr. Ibrahim’s lecture, the USAWC jeopardizes academic freedom and the analytical ability critical for senior leaders, but also endangers national security in several ways. Catering the institution’s valuable, academic offerings to the demands of one side – especially one designated with terrorist ties – deprives our senior leaders of a balanced viewpoint and analysis critical to success on the battlefield and the future of our Nation. No outside organization, including CAIR, should have the power to influence the education our senior leaders receive now or in the future.
We look forward to speaking with you and continuing this discussion, and in advance, thank you very much for your time and service.
Scott Perry, Member of Congress
Chuck Fleischmann, Member of Congress
Louie Gohmert, Member of Congress
Rick Crawford, Member of Congress
Randy Weber, Member of Congress
Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S., Member of Congress
Lee Zeldin, Member of Congress
Glenn Grothman, Member of Congress
Steve Stivers, Member of Congress
Andy Biggs, Member of Congress
cc: Geoffrey Mangelsdorf, Director U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center