Originally published in Arizona Daily Star
Professor Nicholas Damask of Scottsdale Community College received criticism this semester for asking certain questions on a quiz for his World Politics course. These included Who do terrorists strive to emulate? where his ‘correct answer’ was Mohammad, and Terrorism is [blank] in Islam” where the ‘correct answer’ was justified within the context of jihad.
Merriam Webster defines terrorism as “the unlawful use or threat of violence especially against the state or the public as a politically motivated means of attack or coercion.” Islam says there is “no compulsion in religion [Qur’an 2:256]” and says “a person who killed an innocent person, it shall be as if they killed all mankind [Qur’an 5:33].”
In the backlash of this event Damask has preached about the importance of “Academic Freedoms” but as an educator, his responsibility is to his students and community to make the facts presented are accurate and do not fan the flames of xenophobia. As an educator, he should fulill this responsibility above all else.