MESA - Middle East Studies Association

Intervention Letters

Date Letter Sent Country/Area/Region Receiving Letter Regarding
January 14, 2015 Israel Arrest and detention of renowned astro-physicist, Dr. Imad al-Barghouthi of Al-Quds University, who is being held by military court order without charge or trial. (pdf)
October 23, 2014 US Letter to the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights under Law regarding its report accusing Title VI-supported Middle East studies centers of promoting "anti-Israel bias" and calling for the amendment or defunding of the Title VI program. (pdf)
October 23, 2014 US Letter to the Amcha Initiative regarding its report accusing UCLA's Center for Near Eastern Studies of sponsoring public events characterized by antisemitism and "anti-Israel bias." (pdf)


Related articles: UCLA's Center for Near Eastern Studies reply to criticism


MERIP article "Title VI and Middle East Studies: What You Should Know" (November 14, 2014)


October 13, 2014 Egypt Letter to Egypt's Minister of Higher Education expressing concern over severe violations of the academic freedom of university faculty and students in Egypt over the course of the past year. (pdf) (Arabic)
October 7, 2014 Israel/Gaza Letter to sponsors of international conference for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip, Foreign Affairs Minister of Norway, Børge Brende, and Foreign Affairs Minister of Egypt, Sameh Shoukry, about Israeli indiscriminate bombardment and destruction of Palestinian educational institutions in July and August 2014. (pdf)
August 27, 2014 Egypt Letter to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi asking him to rescind his decree empowering the president to appoint top leaders of public universities. (pdf) (Arabic)
August 25, 2014 Israel Letter to Bar-Ilan University President requesting public apology to Hanoch Sheinman for recent statements made by Bar Ilan’s administration that sought to censure, intimidate and humiliate Professor Sheinman. (pdf) (Hebrew)
August 11, 2014 US Letter to the chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign protesting the revocation of a job offer made to Professor Steven G. Salaita (pdf)


Related articles: Electronic Intifada blog
American Political Science Association letter
July 1, 2014 US Letter to the members of the Los Angeles City Council concerning a proposed resolution that may threaten the free speech rights of UCLA students (pdf)
June 30, 2014 Israel Letter to Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding the latest series of military attacks against Palestinian institutions of higher education (pdf)


Related article: Inside Higher Ed July 2, 2014
May 15, 2014 US Letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Charles Johnson regarding the refusal to allow Dr. İsmail Beşikçi (and his traveling companion) to board their flight to the United States for a lecture at American University despite possession of valid visas. (pdf)
May 14, 2014 Israel Letter to Tel Aviv University President regarding the recent decision to cancel an invitation to Palestinian activist Muhammad Kanaaneh. (pdf) (Hebrew) (Arabic)
May 12, 2014 Iran Letter to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei regarding the six-year prison sentence imposed against Hamid Babaei, a doctoral student at the University of Liège in Belgium, urging Iranian authorities to grant Babaei an appeal to overturn convictions related to his academic activities, resulting in his release. (pdf) (Persian)
May 6, 2014 Turkey Letter to PM Erdoğan (see previous letter of January 24th, 2013) concerning ongoing reports of intimidation of students and faculty at Marmara University’s Faculty of Communications and alleged violations of academic freedom by Dean Yusuf Devran. (pdf) (Turkish)
March 17, 2014 Saudi Arabia Letter to Saudi Arabia's Minister of the Interior HRH Prince Mohammad bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al Saud expressing concern regarding the politically motivated charges and conviction of Economics Professor and Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA) co-founder Mohamed Fahad al-Qahtani. (pdf) (Arabic)
February 18, 2014 Egypt Letter to Minister of Justice Adel Abd al-Hameed protesting the recent criminal charge — insulting the judiciary — leveled against Dr. Amr Hamzawy, a professor at Cairo University and the American University in Cairo. (pdf)
Related article: NYTimes Feb 24, 2014
February 12, 2014 US Letter expressing concern about H.R. 4009, which would prohibit the use of Higher Education Act funds for colleges and universities "participating" in a boycott of Israeli academic institutions or scholars. (pdf)
February 12, 2014 US Letter expressing concern about New York State Assembly bill A8392A, which would prohibit the use of state funds by colleges and universities for faculty memberships in, or travel to meetings sponsored by, academic organizations which have adopted boycott resolutions. (pdf)
February 6, 2014 US Letter to Maryland State Senator Joan Carter Conway expressing concern about her bill prohibiting the use of state funds by colleges and universities for faculty memberships in, or travel to meetings sponsored by, academic organizations which have adopted boycott resolutions. (pdf)
February 4, 2014 Egypt Letter to Egypt’s Minister of Justice Adel Abd al-Hameed protesting the indictment of Dr. Emad Shahin on charges of espionage and subversion. (pdf)
Related article: NYTimes Feb 24, 2014
January 22, 2014 Bahrain Follow-up letter to Shaikh Hamad bin ‘Issa Al Khalifa regarding Dr. Abduljalil Al-Singace, a professor sentenced to life in prison on charges of attempting to overthrow the government, whose health demands immediate attention and proper medical care. (pdf)
January 21, 2014 US Letter to Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie regarding his statement on the American Studies Association's call for a boycott of Israeli institutions of higher education. (pdf)
December 17, 2013 Egypt Letter to PM Hazem al-Beblawy about the worsening climate for free speech and peaceable assembly on university campuses in Egypt. (pdf) (Arabic)
November 21, 2013 Bahrain Letter to Shaikh Hamad bin ‘Issa Al Khalifa regarding Dr. Abduljalil Al-Singace, a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and a noted human rights activist, who was sentenced to life in prison on charges of attempting to overthrow the government. CAF, along with Scholars at Risk, believes that Dr. Al-Singace is a prisoner of conscience, a man jailed solely for the non-violent expression of his political beliefs. (pdf)
October 4, 2013 Turkey Letter to PM Erdoğan expressing concern over reports of reprisal actions against university students and professors as a consequence of their support of the “Gezi Protests.” (pdf)
October 4, 2013 Turkey Letter to PM Erdoğan regarding three mass trials that included academics who were tried, together with dozens of others, based on highly politicized charges and without appropriate procedural protections, contributing to a climate of intimidation on university campuses. (pdf)
September 17, 2013 Israel Letter to Israeli dignitaries expressing concern about the recent repeated attacks against Al-Quds University campus in Abu Dis carried out by IDF forces. Such attacks against an educational institution constitute a direct infringement on academic freedom in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. (pdf)
September 10, 2013 US Letter to Florida Atlantic University Interim President about the university’s response to a protest organized on April 19, 2013, by Students for Justice in Palestine. (pdf)
September 5, 2013 Jordan Letter to Jordanian officials expressing concern over the treatment of Albaraa Kefaya, a recent graduate from Bir Zeit University, whose detention and forced return to the West Bank by the Jordanian authorities has prevented him from taking up the internship he was offered in the US. (pdf)
August 30, 2013 Israel Letter to Israeli officials expressing concern over the treatment of Albaraa Kefaya, a recent graduate from Bir Zeit University, who has been detained by the Israeli authorities and prevented from taking up the internship he was offered in the US. (pdf)
August 28, 2013 Canada Letter to York University President Mamdouh Shukri expressing concern about the response to on-campus political advocacy including sanctioning a student by banning him from being on York University property until April 2014. (pdf)
August 28, 2013 Egypt Letter to Prime Minister Hazem AlBeblawi expressing concern about the August 16 arrest and detention of two Canadian citizens - film-maker and York University professor John Greyson and physician and University of Western Ontario professor Tarek Loubani. (pdf)

June 11, 2013


Canada Letter to Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada President Chad Gaffield expressing concern about his organization's use of a politicized referee's report to evaluate a research proposal submitted by University of Toronto Professor Jens Hanssen. (pdf)
May 16, 2013 USA Letter to University President Mohammad Qayoumi expressing concern about the response of San José State to the ongoing controversy surrounding the recent workshop for high school teachers and community college faculty on teaching the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that was organized by Professor Persis Karim. (pdf)
May 8, 2013 Turkey Letter regarding incidents at Kilis 7 Aralık University that have created an atmosphere on campus that negatively impacts teaching, academic research and scholarly production which continue despite efforts by faculty members at the university to seek redress through the Higher Education Council (YÖK). (pdf)

UPDATE: Response received from Rector Ismail GUVENÇ on June 5, 2013. (pdf)

Related article: Gezi Park Protests Resonate in Turkish Academe (Chronicle of Higher Education, July 2, 2013).
May 7, 2013 Egypt Letter to Suez University President Maher Musbah protesting the current investigation and informal suspension without pay of Dr. Mona Prince who is accused by one of her students of expressing untoward sentiments about Islam during a class discussion about the problem of sectarian tensions in Egypt. (pdf)
April 26, 2013 USA Letter urging the Claremont McKenna College administration and faculty to investigate in a thorough and even-handed manner so as to uphold the principles of free speech and academic freedom regarding the demonstration on March 4 held by Students for Justice in Palestine. (pdf)
April 24, 2013 Saudi Arabia Letter regarding the imprisonment of professors Dr. Abdul Rahman Al Shamiri and Dr. Musa Al Qarni, who were arrested, detained, maltreated, tried, and convicted on false and politically motivated charges. (pdf)

February 28, 2013


UAE Complaint to UAE officials for denying entry to Dr. Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, Co-Director of the Kuwait Research Programme at the London School of Economics (LSE), who on February 22 was denied entry into the United Arab Emirates “for consistently propagated views de-legitimizing the Bahraini monarchy.” (pdf)

February 28, 2013


Turkey Letter regarding police violence at Ankara’s Middle East Technical University on December 18, 2012, when an extraordinarily large police contingent was deployed. Students were protesting government policies on the regulation of higher education and the attendant violation of student rights during PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s visit to the METU campus in connection to the launching of the Göktürk-2 satellite. (pdf)

: Gezi Park Protests Resonate in Turkish Academe (Chronicle of Higher Education, July 2, 2013).

A 'Miscarriage of Justice'? (Inside Higher Ed, August 14, 2013)

February 19, 2013


Syria January 15 attack at the University of Aleppo where 80 or more are said to have lost their lives, and more than 150 people were injured. (pdf)
February 18, 2013 USA Support of Brooklyn College President Karen Gould’s principled stance regarding the public forum on the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign that took place at Brooklyn College on February 7, 2013. (pdf
January 24, 2013 Turkey Mounting reports of intimidation and persecution of students and faculty on Marmara University’s campus and alleged actions of the Dean of the Faculty of Communications, Yusuf Devran, which threaten freedom of thought and freedom of research at the university.(pdf)

: Gezi Park Protests Resonate in Turkish Academe (Chronicle of Higher Education, July 2, 2013).
January 03, 2013 Iran Concern regarding the imprisonment and maltreatment of Omid Kokabee, a doctoral student in physics at the University of Texas at Austin, who was arrested in February 2011 during a visit to Iran and incarcerated at Evin Prison without clear charges or a trial for 15 months. He was later sentenced to 10 years in prison on unsubstantiated charges. (pdf)
December 12, 2012 Turkey Ongoing pattern of arrests and detentions of academics, scholars and students on the basis of their research and scholarship concerning Kurdish issues. (pdf)

A 'Miscarriage of Justice'? (Inside Higher Ed, August 14, 2013)
December 12, 2012 Turkey The fourteen-year-long cycle of trials and acquittals that has subjected Pınar Selek, a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at the University of Strasbourg, to prolonged denial of justice. Selek’s plight has also contributed to a climate of intimidation confronting all scholars, within and outside of Turkey, who wish to conduct research and writing on Kurdish issues. (pdf)

January 24, 20313 -Pınar Selek sentenced to life in in prison (
December 12, 2012 Turkey Allegations of censorship at several Turkish universities where scholarly publications have touched on sensitive subjects such as racism against Africans in Turkey, Kurdish rights or environmental issues. (pdf)

Response dated December 21, 2012, received via fax January 03, 2013 (pdf)
December 11, 2012 Bahrain Concern over the November 7th revocation of citizenship of thirty-one Bahraini nationals, including MESA member Professor Abdulhadi Khalaf. (pdf)
November 18, 2012 2012 Academic Freedom Award Announcement Presentation at the MESA annual meeting.
November 13, 2012 USA/Israel Letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about the recent decision by the US Department of State to freeze scholarships in the 2012-13 academic year for Palestinian students from Gaza who seek to further their studies in the West Bank. (pdf)
October 26, 2012 Jordan Letter to University of Jordan President Ikhleif Tarawneh concerning the early dismissal of Rula Quawas as Dean of the Faculty of Foreign Languages at Jordan University. (pdf)

received November 4, 2012 (pdf)
September 24, 2012 Israel Letter to Israel’s Minister of Education Gideon Sa’ar regarding recommendation by Israeli Council for Higher Education Subcommittee for Quality to suspend student registration in Ben Gurion University’s Department of Politics and Government for the 2013-14 academic year. (pdf)

Related Letter
sent September 25, 2012: To Professor Thomas Risse and Professor regarding Israeli Council for Higher Education Subcommittee for Quality recommendations. (pdf) html

Related Article
by The Jerusalem Post (Oct. 31, 2012)
September 04, 2012 Iran Letter to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei protesting the recent banning of women from certain university courses under the guise of the implementation of gender segregation at universities. (pdf)
September 04, 2012 Iran Letter to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei concerning the restrictions of scholars in Iran to attend the International Society for Iranian Studies conference in Istanbul, Turkey on August 1-5, 2012. (pdf)
September 04, 2012 Turkey Letter to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expressing dismay and concern over recent remarks by Turkish Minister of the Interior (Içişleri Bakanı) Idris Naim Şahin comparing writing and publishing ideas in support of Kurdish rights to terrorism. (pdf)

(24 Jan 2013) Idris Naim Sahin has now replaced with Muammer Guler (html)
August 31, 2012 Bahrain/Saudi Arabia Letter to King Faisal University President and College of Medicine Dean, Bahrain Minister of Higher Education, and Saudi Minister of Higher Education regarding the sustained interruption of study for four medical students at King Faisal University in Dammam, Saudi Arabia. (pdf)
August 09, 2012 USA Letter to University of California President Mark G. Yudof expressing concerns about the recent report on “University of California Jewish Student Campus Climate” and its recommendations for new hate speech guidelines. (pdf)

Response received August 14, 2012 (html)
August 07, 2012 Turkey Letter to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expressing dismay and concern over March 8th arrest and detention of Müge Tuzcuoğlu, charged under the Anti-Terror Law on grounds that her attendance at training workshops and her presence at two public demonstrations in support of Kurdish rights allegedly link her to the PKK (Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan- Kurdistan Workers’ Party). (pdf)

: Müge Tuzcuoğlu released September 25, 2012, after being detained for 7 months. Turkish link:
July 2, 2012 Palestine Letter to Birzeit University President Khalil Hindi regarding the university administration's handling of the controversy surrounding the caricatures Professor Musa Budeiri placed on his office door. (pdf)

received July 04, 2012 (pdf)

Related stories:
Inside Higher Education July 05, 2012 article.
July 2, 2012 Israel Israeli Government’s ongoing violations against Palestinian education and its denial of Gaza students’ right to study in the West Bank, in particular the cases of four students who had to discontinue their studies in 2000, and are now seeking to resume their studies at Birzeit University, as well as Lujain Zaim who Israel is denying the right to begin university studies there. (pdf)
May 17, 2012 USA New York Times advertisement placed by the David Horowitz Freedom Center that lists 14 professors by name, describing them (in most cases without any specific accusations) as people who “should be publicly shamed and condemned for the crimes their hatred incites.” It thereby suggests that these scholars are complicit in hate crimes merely for expressing their support for the BDS campaign. (pdf)
April 11, 2012 USA/Bahrain Letter to the Bilateral US-Arab Chamber of Commerce regarding its program, Teachers Educating Across Cultures in Harmony (TEACH), aimed at cross cultural exchanges and increased knowledge between educators in the United States and the Arab World. The 5th annual educator trip is planned for the Kingdom of Bahrain and State of Qatar “to raise awareness, understanding, and cooperation between educators in the United States and the Middle East.” The letter asks that the program introduce its participants to the situation of the educational sector in Bahrain. (pdf)
April 06, 2012 Bahrain Letter to Bahrain Minister of Justice Shaikh Khalid bin Ali Al Khalifa regarding the ongoing state prosecution and harassment of university faculty, staff, and students. (pdf)


August 16, 2012
- Nabeel Rajab was sentenced to three years in prison after being found guilty of taking part in protests in the unrest-rocked country. (html)
June 27, 2012 - University professors declared innocent by Bahraini courts (html in Arabic); Nabeel Rajab released after three weeks detention (html)
March 19, 2012 Israel Early-morning IDF invasion of al-Quds University’s Institute of Modern Media at the Abu Dis campus when televising equipment was destroyed and the television transmitter seized. This wanton attack upon an educational establishment is a direct infringement upon academic freedom and seems to be part of a broader Israeli campaign against education and academic freedom in the West Bank and Gaza. (pdf)
February 6, 2012 USA Disciplinary charges which Baylor University has brought against Professor Marc Ellis and about his removal from his teaching and administrative duties without a hearing. (pdf)
January 13, 2012 Israel Letter to the Israeli Council for Higher Education (CHE) chairman Gideon Sa’ar regarding the recommendation that Ben Gurion University consider closing down the Department of Politics and Government. (pdf)
November 28, 2011 Israel Letter to Ben-Gurion University of the Negev President Rivka Carmi regarding pattern of restrictions on freedom of expression.(pdf)
November 23, 2011 USA Letter to University of California President Mark G. Yudof regarding police violence toward the campus communities engaged in peaceful protest on university campuses.(pdf)
November 21, 2011 Turkey Letter to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expressing dismay and concern over the October 28th arrest of Marmara University Professor Büşra Ersanlı, who was later charged under the Anti-Terror Law on grounds that her membership in the BDP (Barış ve Demokrasi Partisi-Peace and Democracy Party) allegedly links her to the PKK  (Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan- Kurdistan Workers’ Party). (pdf)

UPDATE: July 13, 2012 - Professor Ersanli was released from prison although the charges remain and the trial will continue on October 1. (News link)
November 16, 2011 USA Letter to Assembly of Turkish-American Associations President Ergun Kirlikovali regarding allegations that Prof. Keith Watenpaugh had defamed the organization. (pdf)
November 03, 2011 Canada Letter to McGill University administrators for pressure put on members of its faculty who have expressed solidarity with the strike called by the McGill University Non-Academic Certified Association (MUNACA).(pdf)
October 03, 2011 Turkey Letter to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan about the March 2011 prison sentencing of Kurdish scholar İsmail Beşikçi for “making propaganda for a terrorist organization” in an article entitled The Right of Self-determination and the Kurds published in Law and Society in Our Age.
September 20, 2011 (see related letters of July 07, 2011 and April 21, 2011 Bahrain Follow up letter to Bahrain Minister of Education Dr. Majid bin Ali Al-Naimi regarding the continuing violations of academic freedom at Bahraini educational institutions and affecting Bahraini students studying abroad. (pdf)   Related stories:
Chronicle of Higher Education November 28, 2011 article
Chronicle of Higher Education October 10, 2011 article
September 02, 2011 Iran Letter to Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei about the May 2011 arrests of Ramin Zibaei and other scholars and faculty members at the Baha’i Institute of Higher Learning, and other widespread efforts to exclude the Baha’i community’s access to higher education. (pdf)
August 18, 2011 Canada Response to the July 7, 2011, Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism (CPCCA) report whose loose and overly broad definition of antisemitism may threaten freedom of speech and violate the principles of academic freedom by defining criticism of Israeli policies, of Zionism or of Israel as a self-defined Jewish state as inherently antisemitic. (pdf)
July 07, 2011 (see related letters of April 21, 2011, September 20, 2011, and April 06, 2012) Bahrain Letter to Bahrain Minister of Education Dr. Majid bin Ali Al-Naimi expressing continued concern over an unprecedented number of assaults, arrests, dismissals, and punishments affecting faculty, students, and staff from several educational institutions in Bahrain as well as to numerous Bahraini students studying abroad.(pdf) Related stories: Chronicle of Higher Education October 10, 2011 article
July 05, 2011 USA Letter to Yale University's president and provost asking for an investigation into possible improper government influence on or communication regarding the university's 2006 decision not to hire Professor Juan Cole, as recommended by two departments. A June 15, 2011 New York Times articleindicated that during that same time period the Bush administration was apparently seeking to have the CIA collect and provide information that might be used to discredit him. (pdf) Response letter (pdf)
June 08, 2011 UAE Letter to HH Shaykh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan over the arrest of economics professor Nasser bin Ghaith at the Abu Dhabi branch of France’s Sorbonne University. (pdf)

UPDATE: November 28, 2011-Nasser bin Ghaith along with four others have been pardoned, a day after they were convicted of insulting the Gulf state's rulers.
BBC article;

April 21, 2011


(see related letters of July 07, 2011, September 20, 2011, and April 06, 2012)
Bahrain Letter to Minister of Education and University of Bahrain Board of Trustees President Majid bin Ali Al-Naimi regarding the widespread, on-going intimidation including dismissals, firings and threats to professors’ and staff members’ employment as well as students’ continuing matriculation. (pdf)

Related stories: Chronicle of Higher Education October 10, 2011 article
April 8, 2011 USA Letter to Claremont McKenna Vice President Gregory D. Hess regarding allegations made against Professor Bassam Frangieh in articles that appeared in at least two local publications. The allegations and the resulting calls for Professor Frangieh’s dismissal threaten not only the right to free speech but also the principles of academic freedom. (pdf)
February 23, 2011

(see related letter of Feb 23, 2010)
USA Letter to Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas expressing concern about the decision to bring misdemeanor conspiracy charges against eleven university students in connection with their disruption of a speech by Israeli ambassador Michael Oren at UC Irvine on February 8, 2010. (pdf)

UPDATE: Sept 23, 2011 - Jury found 10 students guilty of criminal charges for disrupting Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren’s February 2010 speech on the UC Irvine campus. Inside Higher Ed; LA Times
January 27, 2011 Saudi Arabia Letter to Minister of the Interior HRH Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud over the December 5, 2010, arrest and detention of Professor Mohammed al Abdulkarim of Imam Mohammed bin Saud University. It is believed his arrest is due to an article he published online about differences in the ruling family over succession and the transfer of power in the Kingdom. (pdf)
January 18, 2011 USA Letter to the Turkish Coalition of America on its decision to file a lawsuit against the University of Minnesota and its Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, allegedly prompted by the Center’s listing of the organization’s website as an “unreliable” source with respect to the history of Armenians in the final years of the Ottoman Empire. (pdf)
January 11, 2011 Canada Remarks by two members of Ontario’s Legislative Assembly, and by Ontario’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, with regard to the contents of a thesis accepted by a master’s program at the University of Toronto. These assertions inappropriately conflate criticism of Zionism and Israel with anti-Semitism. They also evince a disregard for the principles of academic freedom and threaten the autonomy of Canadian universities. (pdf)
November 10, 2010 Iran Since the disputed election of 2009, the Iranian authorities have intensified their repression and persecution of non-violent student activists and scholars on and off university campuses.  Hundreds of students on campuses throughout Iran have been banned from study, arrested, given arbitrary and harsh sentences, imprisoned, and tortured. The letter calls for immediate and unconditional release of all students and scholars of conscience imprisoned in Iran for their political views and non-violent activism.(pdf)
October 21, 2010 Israel Letter to Bar-Ilan University President Moshe Kaveh regarding the tenure case of Dr. Ariela Azoulay.She may have been denied tenure as a result of opaque and improper evaluation procedures and because of her political views, rather than on the basis of her record as a scholar, teacher, and member of her university and academic communities. (pdf)
October 18, 2010 Egypt Letter to Egyptian President Husni Mubarak and Minister of Higher Education Dr. Hany Mahfouz Helal expressing grave concern over numerous recent violations of the rights of university students to engage in lawful, peaceful activism. According to numerous media reports, university security officers and administrators systematically suppressed student activities prior to student union elections on October 18. Students have been verbally abused, beaten, detained, arrested, and suspended. (pdf)
October 12, 2010 Iran Letter concerning the recent spate of harsh and unwarranted sentencing of a number of prominent scholars, intellectuals, and academic rights activists, including the continued persecution of Mr. Emadeddin Baghi and the announcement by Iranian authorities on September 21, 2010, that he has been sentenced to an additional six years imprisonment. Mr. Baghi is an internationally-renowned independent scholar and a prolific author, a prominent journalist, and a leading human rights and prisoners’ rights defender, who also has campaigned against capital punishment and torture in Iran. (pdf)
July 23, 2010 Algeria Letter to Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Rachid Haraoubia expressing deep concern about a set of directives to the heads of Algerian institutions of higher education and research on a new set of procedures for the participation of Algerian scholars in conferences, colloquia, seminars, and workshops held outside the country. The document permits Algerian scholars to accept invitations to attend such meetings only with the prior approval of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MESRS). International gatherings to be held in Algeria must also receive prior approval from the Ministry. (pdf)
June 25, 2010 Yemen Letter to University of Aden Rector Abd al-Aziz Saleh Bin Habtoor protesting the two-year suspension of Mr. Wa’el al-Qubati, a fourth-year student in the Journalism and Mass Communications Faculty. Mr. al-Qubati was suspended without due process or notification, apparently for writing newspaper articles critical of the university administration. (pdf)
June 11, 2010 Egypt Letter to Suez Canal University President al-Zoghby protesting the dismissal of Mr. Ahmad Galal, a student in his final year in the Faculty of Medicine. Last April Mr. Galal was the victim of a severe beating by the University Security Forces (USF) for distributing a magazine on campus. Rather than protest against this flagrant violation of academic freedom, a University Disciplinary Committee issued a suspension order against Mr. Galal. No disciplinary action is known to have been taken against the members of the USF involved in the incident. (pdf)
May 26, 2010 Iran Letter concerning the recent death sentences and executions, as well as continued harassment, imprisonment, and expulsions targeting university faculty and administrators, teachers, and non-violent student activists in the Islamic Republic of Iran. (pdf)
May 26, 2010 Israel Letter concerning Israel’s ongoing travel restrictions and new military orders which effectively ban over 400 Palestinian students from Gaza from studying in West Bank universities. (pdf)
May 18, 2010 USA Letter to Pennsylvania senators regarding senate resolution 315. In its current state, SR315 threatens academic freedom and freedom of expression by deploying an overly broad and vague definition of anti-Semitism.  In addition, SR315 makes unsupported and inaccurate allegations against a number of universities and colleges, as well as against unnamed departments of Middle Eastern studies. (pdf)

February 23, 2010


(see related letter of Feb 23, 2011)
USA Letter to University of California, Irvine Chancellor Michael V. Drake expressing concern about the university's disproportionate response (severe disciplinary action and possible criminal prosecution) to the disruptive behavior of 11 students during a public talk by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren on February 8, 2010. (pdf)

UPDATE: Sept 23, 2011 - Jury found 10 students guilty of criminal charges for disrupting Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren’s February 2010 speech on the UC Irvine campus. Inside Higher Ed; LA Times
February 22, 2010 Kuwait Letter to Kuwaiti Minister of the Interior Lt. General Sheikh Jabir al-Khaled al-Jabir al-Sabah regarding two scholars who were barred from entering Kuwait.  As a result, these prominent scholars were unable to present their research at professional meetings to which they had been invited. In both cases, the scholars were issued entry visas by Kuwait that were later revoked. (pdf)
February 18, 2010 Tunisia Letter to Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to express concern about the recent closure of the Université Libre de Tunis(ULT), Tunisia’s first and pre-eminent private university, and the withdrawal of that institution’s authorization to operate for the next three academic years. (pdf)
February 9, 2010 Iran Letter to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei expressing the grave concern over the violent treatment, arrest, and harsh sentencing of students and activists across Iran since the Ashura demonstrations of late December 2009. (pdf)
December 14, 2009 Iran Letter to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei regarding the December 7, 2009, national Student Day anniversary in Iran, which was marked by large-scale violence carried out against protesting students across the country by the Iranian security forces. (pdf)
November 11, 2009 Israel Letter to government officials expressing concern regarding the arrest and subsequent deportation to Gaza of Ms. Berlanty Azzam, a 21-year-old student of business translation who was weeks away from completing her degree at Bethlehem University. (pdf)
October 26, 2009 Sudan Letter to University of Khartoum President Mustafa Idris protesting the procedures followed in the expulsion of two students, Mr. Shams al-Din Muhammad al-Hassan Abbas Shatir and Ms. Rasha Abd al-Hamid Hasan Ali. (pdf)
October 26, 2009 Iran Letter to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei expressing shock and dismay at the arrest, conviction, and harsh sentencing of Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh. (pdf)
October 7, 2009 Iran Letter to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei expressing very grave concern and mounting consternation over the continued intimidation, arrests, expulsions, and unwarranted violent crackdown carried out by the Iranian authorities against peaceful student activists on Iranian university campuses, as well as the latest spate of harassment and dismissal of university faculty on grounds of political and ideological dissent. (pdf)
October 7, 2009 Israel Letter to Israeli officials regarding the denial of Rima Najjar Merriman, a citizen of the US and Assistant Professor of American Literature at the Arab American University in Jenin (AAUJ), entry into the West Bank at Allenby on September 14, 2009. (pdf)
September 21, 2009 Bahrain Letter to University of Bahrain President Ebrahim Ahmed Aljanahi expressing concern at the disciplinary action taken against university student Ms. Noor Abbas. Earlier this year, Ms. Abbas circulated a statement on behalf of the Student Union List criticizing some policies and facilities at the University. (pdf)
September 14, 2009 USA CAF-endorsed open letter to Yale University President Richard Levin and members of the Yale Corporation written by the National Coalition Against Cencorship protesting the decision to remove all images of Jyette Klausen's forthcoming book The Cartoons that Shook the World published by Yale University Press. (pdf)
September 4, 2009 Netherlands Letter to Rector Henk Schmidt protesting the Erasmus University Rotterdam’s August 19 decision to terminate Dr. Tariq Ramadan’s guest professorship in Citizenship and Identity at the EUR due to his hosting a program on the Iranian English-language television channel Press TV. (pdf)
August 27, 2009 Israel Letter to Ben-Gurion University of the Negev President Rivka Carmi expressing concern over her comments approving BGU's search for legal means to dismiss Senior Lecturer and Chair of the Government and Politics Department, Neve Gordon. These comments came in response to an opinion piece published by Dr. Gordon in the Los Angeles Times on 21 August, in which he called for a comprehensive boycott of his country as a means to pressure Israel to end its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. (pdf)
July 16, 2009 Iran Letter to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei expressing concern about the recent arrests and continued detention of a large number of academics, scholars, and student activists in Iran without any formal charges and without access to legal representation. The 9 July 2009 arrest of Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh, a prominent Iranian-American social scientist, is a primary focus. (pdf)
June 30, 2009 Iran Letter to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei expressing grave concern regarding the large-scale wave of intimidation, arrests, and campus expulsions carried out by Iranian security forces against peaceful student activists and protesters on various university campuses throughout Iran since December 2008. (pdf)
June 26, 2009 France CAF-endorsed open letter to Madame Catherine Bréchignac, Présidente du CNRS regarding a disciplinary hearing of Vincent Geisser voicing concern that this is related to his work on Islam in France. (pdf)

Related lettersOpen letter to Madame Catherine Bréchignac, Présidente du CNRS from California Scholars for Academic Freedom (pdf) Open letter to Madame Catherine Bréchignac, Présidente du CNRS from academics, independent scholars, and writers based outside France (pdf)
June 19, 2009 Canada Request by the Minister of State (Technology and Science) for a second review process of the grant-in-aid secured from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The grant helped fund the York University conference, Israel/Palestine: Mapping Models of Statehood and Paths to Peace.Three letters sent: Minister Goodyear (pdf); SSHRC President Gaffield (pdf); York University President Shoukri (pdf) Reply from Goodyear's office received June 22, 2009
May 27, 2009 Israel

Refusal of Israeli authorities to allow Dr. Nicola Pratt to enter the West Bank on April 22, 2009 to present two seminars at the institute for Women's Studies at Bir Zeit University. (pdf)

May 21, 2009 Israel

Commendation of Tel Aviv University President Zvi Galil for his May 3, 2009 letter regarding student Omar Barghouti's petition to boycott Israeli universities. (pdf)

Reply received June 21, 2009

May 8, 2009 USA

Alleged misconduct and investigation of Prof. William Robinson of University of California, Santa Barbara (pdf)

UPDATE: Case dismissed on June 24, 2009. (AAUP follow-up letter)

April 29, 2009 Iran Treatment by security forces of student demonstrators on several university campuses (pdf)
April 29, 2009 Turkey Pattern of arrests and detention of university faculty and rectors in connection with the Ergenekon investigation (pdf)
April 23, 2009 USA

Cancellation of Professor Norman Finkelstein's lecture at Clark University. (pdf)

April 29, 2009 letter responding to rescheduling of lecture. (pdf)

Reply received April 29, 2009

March 4, 2009 USA

Bard University termination of Professor Joel Kovel’s appointment.. (pdf)

Reply received March 9, 2009

January 5, 2009 Israel Military campaign against the Gaza Strip that has included the killing of students outside the Gaza Training College in Gaza City and the bombing of the Gaza Islamic University (pdf)
December 18, 2008 Palestine Authority Reports of detention of students without trial at West Bank universities, apparently because of their political affiliations (pdf)
December 18, 2008 Palestine Authority Violent incidents at al-Azhar university in Gaza and the role of Palestinian security forces in these incidents (pdf)
November 5, 2008 Iran Arrest of Ms. Esha Momeni, a graduate student in the department of journalism and media studies at California State University, Northridge in Iran (pdf)
November 4, 2008 Egypt Recent violation of academic freedom on Egyptian university campuses (pdf)
November 4, 2008 Iran Confiscation of Ms. Sussan Tahmasebi's passport in Iran (pdf)
September 12, 2008 Iran Arrest and detention of Professor Mehdi Zakerian, Azad University (pdf)
July 22, 2008 Saudi Arabia Continued imprisonment of Professor Al-Faleh (pdf)
July 14, 2008 Egypt Delay of the Egyptian Ministry of Higher Education in replying to a US Fulbright Commission recommendation (pdf)
June 9, 2008 USA Visa denial for Professor Mahmoud Abossowa (pdf)
Reply received June 30, 2008
June 9, 2008 USA US Army War College and Professor Sherifa Zuhur (pdf)
June 3, 2008 Israel Professor Norman Finkelstein denied entry into Israel (pdf)
June 2, 2008 USA

Prevention of students from Gaza from studying abroad (pdf)

May 30, 2008 Saudi Arabia Arrest and detention of Professor Matrouk Al-Faleh (pdf)
May 27, 2008 Turkey Forced resignation of ITS Chairman of the Board of Governors (pdf)
Reply received dated June 30, 2008 (pdf)
May 1, 2008 Israel Continued restriction of travel for students from Gaza (pdf)
April 1, 2008 Iran Attack and arrests of students of Shiraz University (pdf)
March 10, 2008 Palestine Authority Rocket fire on Israeli towns bordering Gaza (pdf)
March 7, 2008 Israel Dismissal of Nizar Hassan, filmmaker and professor at Sapir College. (pdf)
February 27, 2008 Palestine Authority/Gaza/PLO Attack on educational facities in Gaza (pdf)
January 7, 2008 Iran Arrest of students at December 7, 2007 demonstrations in Iran. (pdf)
December 19, 2007 Egypt Restrictions on student expression on Egyptian campuses. (pdf)
November 7, 2007 Egypt Egyptian students' rights violations
November 4, 2007 USA Dismissal of duties of Dr. Cris Toffolo at St. Thomas University
October 19, 2007 Israel Students' rights (freedom of movement)
September 4, 2007 USA Tenure case of Professor Norman G. Finkelstein (pdf)
September 4, 2007 USA Cancellation of a scheduled talk by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs (pdf)
June 11, 2007 USA

Grave concern with aspects both of the briefing report titled “Campus Anti-Semitism,” released by the United States Commission on Civil Rights in early 2007 and of the “Findings and Recommendations of the United States Commission on Civil Rights Regarding Campus Anti-Semitism,” dated April 3, 2006.

Related article U. of California at Irvine Is Cleared in Civil-Rights Office's Investigation of Anti-Semitism Allegations (

June 06 2007 Israel

Broad assault on the education system in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Response dated August 9, 2007 (click here for .pdf)

May 30, 2007 Iran Joint letter with ISIS to Iran regarding Dr. Haleh Esfandiari and Dr. Kian Tajbakhash
May 30, 2007 Jordan Dismissal of 16 university professors from Al-Zarq al-Ahliyyah University in Jordan
May 29, 2007 Re Iran Statement of concern regarding travel to Iran
May 22, 2007 Iran Continued harassment, expulsion and arrest of students at Amir Kabir University of Technology in Tehran.
May 22, 2007 Palestine National Authority/PLO Attacks on schools, libraries and educational facilities in Gaza.
May 11, 2007 Iran

Detention of Dr. Haleh Esfandiari in Tehran.

Read the Washington Post article regarding CAF on Esfandiari May 1, 2008

May 7, 2007 Egypt Restrictions on student expression on Egyptian campuses.
April 17, 2007 Saudi Arabia Recent academic restrictions in Saudi Arabia.
April 10, 2007 USA Tenure case of Professor Norman Finkelstein.
February 14, 2007 USA Cancellation of Dr. Joel Beinin's lecture at Harker School.
February 13, 2007 Turkey Detention and deportation of Kristiina Koivunen.
February 13, 2007 Iran Expulsion of Matin Meshkin.
February 7, 2007 Turkey Expulsion from Gazi University of Dr. Atilla Yayla.
January 25, 2007 Turkey Criminal investigation of Dr. Taner Akçam.
January 16, 2007 UAE Arrest and questioning of American scholar, Assistant Professor Syed Ali, and his subsequent expulsion from Dubai.
November 10, 2006 Iraq Killing of two prominent Iraqi academics.
October 19, 2006 USA Professor Tony Judt's talk cancelled at Polish Consulate.
October 3, 2006 USA

US Department of State's second visa denial for Professor Tareq Ramadan (letter to Condoleeza Rice)

Update: AAR vs. Chertoff (lawsuit regarding Ramadan's visa denial)

October 3, 2006 USA

US Department of State's second visa denial for Professor Tareq Ramadan (letter to Karen Hughes)

Reply dated October 18, 2006 (.pdf file)

September 21, 2006 Israel Occupational therapy students denied access to study in the West Bank.
September 13, 2006 Iran Purge of liberal and secular faculty members from the universities in Iran.
August 23, 2006 Iran Death of Akbar Mohammadi and the condition of Manuchehr Mohammadi in Evin Prison
July 25, 2006 Israel

Arrest of Professor Ghazi Walid Falah

Update: Ghazi Falah, an associate professor in the department of geography and planning at the University of Akron, who had been informally accused of spying for Hezbollah in Israel, was released Sunday, July 30, 2006 without any charges being filed. Professor Falah holds joint Israeli and Canadian citizenship but works in the United States on a permanent visa.

July 20, 2006 Turkey

Prosecution of Elif Shafak.

Update September 21, 2006: Professor Shafak acquitted.

June 20, 2006 USA

Regarding withdrawal of offer of joint appointment to Dr. Juan R.I. Cole

Response received June 30, 2006

May 08, 2006 Iran

Arrest and detention of Dr. Ramin Jahanbegloo Update August 30, 2006: The Canadian Depart

ment of Foreign Affairs has confirmed the release of Ramin Jahanbegloo, a Canadian-Iranian intellectual, who has been detained in Iran for the past four months. Jahanbegloo was released Wednesday from Tehran's infamous Evin prison, a ministry spokesman said.

April 18, 2006 Syria

Continued imprisonment of Professor Arif Dalilah.

Update August 7, 2008: Professor Dalilah freed from prison today in Damascus.

March 13, 2006 USA

Denial of visas to 55 Cuban scholars to attend LASA meeting.

Response received April 26, 2006.

March 11, 2006 UAE Dismissal of Claudia Kiburz of Zayed University
November 30, 2005 Egypt Banning in Egypt of a book published by the American University in Cairo Press,Wahhabi Islam: From Revival and Reform to Global Jihad by Natana J. DeLong-Bas.
November 30, 2005 Turkey Prosecution ot Fatih Tas, owner of Aram Publishing House
September 21, 2005 Turkey Prosecution of Orhan Pamuk.
September 20, 2005 Iran Continued imprisonment of Dr. Hossein Ghazian.
September 6, 2005 Israel Israel's security barrier's effects on East Jerusalem schools.
June 23, 2005 Armenia Detention of Yektan Turkyilmaz, PhD candidate at Duke University, in Yerevan, Armenia.
June 22, 2005 Saudi Arabia Sentencing of Professor Matrouk Al-Faleh of King Saud University.
June 14, 2005 Israel

Proposed upgrading of College of Judea and Samaria to university status (two letters sent).

Reply received.

May 27, 2005 Turkey Conference in Turkey cancelled.
May 18, 2005 Syria Detention and alleged torture of 40 Syrian university students in Latakia.
May 13, 2005 United Kingdom Association of University Teachers (AUT) boycott of Haifa University and Bar Ilan University.
Apr 07, 2005 USA Exclusion of Rashid Khalidi from participation in NYC teacher development workshops.
Nov 05, 2004 USA Pressure to dismiss Columbia University Prof. Joseph Massad.
Aug 30, 2004 USA

Rescinding of visa for Dr. Tariq Ramadan.

Reply received September 3, 2004.

Update July 17, 2009: A federal appeals court today found that the U.S. government had not adequately justified its denial of a visa to a Swiss professor and leading scholar of the Muslim world. The decision, which reverses a ruling of a lower federal court, comes in a case in which the American Civil Liberties Union contended that the government's exclusion from the U.S. of Professor Tariq Ramadan violated the First Amendment rights of organizations inside the United States that had invited Ramadan to meet with and speak to their members. More information about the Ramadan case and the ACLU's separate lawsuit concerning the exclusion of South African scholar Adam Habib is available online at:

Mar 29, 2004 Saudi Arabia Arrest of university professors (Saudi Arabia).
Dec 23, 2003 Iran Imprisonment over translation (Iran).
Nov 19, 2003 Egypt New Woman Institution’s registration with Egyptian Ministry of Social Affairs (Egypt).
Jul 25, 2003 Iran Violent attacks on university students in Iran.

Mar 04, 2003

Lebanon Interrogation of philosophy professor Dr. Adonis Akra.
Jan 21, 2003 Israel Closure of two Palestinian universities in the West Bank.
Nov 13, 2002 UAE Forced early retirement of Prof. Hassan Hamdan Al Alkim.
Nov 11, 2002 Iran Death sentence and other harsh penalties issued against Professor Hashem Aghajari.
Aug 13, 2002 Egypt Sentencing of Professor Saad Eddin Ibrahim.
Aug 09, 2002 Gaza Bombing at Hebrew University.
July 22, 2002 Israel

Closure of Al Quds University.

Reply received August 6, 2002

Jun 05, 2002 Israel Damage to Palestinian institutions.
Jan 11, 2002 Syria Professor Arif Dalila.
May 30, 2001 Egypt Professor Saad Eddin Ibrahim.
Mar 26, 2001 Tunisia Escalating attacks on Tunisian scholars.
Mar 16, 2001 Israel Israel’s intensified closure policy with particular impact on Birzeit University.
Jan 24, 2001 Iran Iranian government attacks on scholars.

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