U prof

by Jake Kapsner

U.S. forces bombed alleged terrorist camps in Afghanistan and a chemical plant in Sudan on Thursday, according to reports.
One University professor questioned whether the attack, which U.S. officials said was in retaliation to the Aug. 7 U.S. embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, correctly targeted the responsible terrorist groups.
University professor Caesar Farah, an expert in Islamic History and culture, held a press conference Thursday in Morrill Hall with his reactions to the strikes.
“I think there’s a bit of a ‘Wag the Dog’ element behind it,” Farah said of the U.S. military decision. “But I’m not saying there isn’t an Islamic terrorist threat behind it.”
Troubled that there was “no proof” behind the decision to bomb the alleged terrorist groups, he expressed concern with discerning the facts and motivations behind the U.S. attacks.
He said Thursday’s retaliation would further strain U.S./Arab relations, and that Americans shouldn’t travel to the Arab regions in the near future.
However, the diversity of political opinion on campus makes the issue of a U.S. attack against terrorists as complicated as allegations that President Clinton called the attack to deter attention from his admission Tuesday to an inappropriate relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
“Unfortunately, the American public is very unenlightened; the electronic and print media is not very pro-Islamic,” Farah said.
He said students have little access to — and little understanding of — Arabic and Islamic studies at the University because retiring faculty haven’t been replaced and course offerings continue to decline.
Farah met with a pair of associate deans immediately after the press conference to discuss the matter.
The lone Arabic professor at the University, Farah said he was promised another professor would be hired.
Ann Walter, associate dean of Academic Programs, said she knew of no such promise.
She agreed with Farah’s idea that Thursday’s bombing heightens the need for better American understanding of world affairs, but said hiring new faculty needs to be part of a systematic approach.
But even personal experience in the Arab world does not necessitate an unwavering pro-Islamic opinion.
“I agree with the U.S. actions if they knew that Sudanese terrorists were responsible,” said Peter Doyiech, a Facilities Management employee who is native to southern Sudan.
He said he thought the northern Sudanese were capable of harboring terrorists responsible for the U.S. embassy bombings.
Doyiech, a Christian, said he fought in a civil war against the northern Islamic Sudanese before coming to the U.S. two years ago via the U.S. embassy in Nairobi.