Statement of Principles. The Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies

The Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies stands united in its commitment to upholding the fundamental equality and inherent dignity of all human beings. These values transcend political affiliation and are fundamental to our mission as a department and as members of the Georgetown University community.

As teachers, researchers and mentors we are dedicated to open and honest debate, the unfettered pursuit of knowledge, the careful consideration of evidence, fact and interpretation, the exercise of the rights of free association, expression and dissent, and the respect for different cultural beliefs. We join together in opposition to those who would ignore, reject, or recast as debatable the principles of equality and justice that are the foundation of our work and mission.

We affirm this shared commitment publicly because the values of equality and human dignity are increasingly under threat. Instances of racist, misogynist, Islamophobic, anti-immigrant, homophobic and anti-Semitic harassment, coupled with hate crimes and acts of racial terrorism, are on the rise nationally and have begun to occur as well as on the Georgetown University campus.

The climate for these acts has been substantively shaped by a rhetoric of bigotry that has come to pervade current American political discourse, even at the highest levels of office. As linguists, language teachers, and humanist scholars, we know that words matter and that what we say informs what we do. As a department with a special relationship to Islam and the experience of immigration, we reject the targeting of Muslims and immigrants and affirm our shared commitment to justice for all victims of discrimination.

To our students: we stand with you. We acknowledge your fears and affirm your right to pursue knowledge regardless of your identity or origin. Our task as educators is to encourage, challenge, and support all of you. We recommit to that task now more than ever.