dedicated to the study of religions as historical and cultural phenomena. We take an interdisciplinary approach to understanding religious traditions from around the world: their history, sacred texts, beliefs, rituals, and institutions [website]To illustrate his spleen-rich spinning of the Deir Yassin story so beloved of Palestinian Arab polemicists (who invoke it in their justification of the endless acts of Arab terrorism carried out in its name in the last six decades), he brings a photograph of dead bodies. Piles and piles of dead bodies. The culprits? Well, he leaves readers in little doubt as the title of his post declaims: "Zionist atrocities at Palestinian village of Deir Yassin, 65 years ago…and today".
But we and several others pointed out that the picture came from Wikipedia and showed a Nazi concentration camp in 1945; the dead bodies were not Palestinian Arabs or any other sort of Arabs. It was a stupid mistake, and he ought to have apologized as if his academic career depended on it.
Instead, the author of the What Would Muhammad Do? blog simply replaced it with a different photo during this morning, and rubbed out the reader comments, one of which we supplied, that had excoriated him for the naked attempt to deceive.
An apology? Sure - coming right up.
Now we would think that an academic caught red-handed in the performance of counter-factual stunt like this (we're trying to stay polite) would take the greatest of care from this moment onwards. Which is why we want you to know - and the authorities at the University of North Carolina too, if possible - that Omid Safi is now illustrating his story about an alleged massacre from 1948 with a photo of dead Arabs killed by other Arabs in Lebanon in 1982. (Thanks to Elder of Ziyon for the alert.)
Most people won't notice. He knows that. And most people don't pay that much attention to fine details of history. So it's certain that the spinning and the misappropriation of history will just keep going on.