19th anniversary of 9/11 was an opportunity for Iranian Council For Defending The Truth to ask Kevin Barrett to talk about his motivations and goals in writing “Truth Jihad: My Epic Struggle Against the 9/11 Big Lie”.
I wrote Truth Jihad in August 2006, six weeks after I had been dragged into the media limelight by Fox News followed by CNN, the New York Times, and the other big mainstream outlets. At that time I was one of the most outspoken and vulnerable of the 100 or so members of Scholars for 9/11 Truth, which was founded at the beginning of 2006 by Steven Jones and James Fetzer to contest the official version of 9/11 and draw attention to the controlled demolition of the World Trade Center.
Most of the Scholars were tenured professors. Many were scientists. I was a part-time Islamic Studies lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, trying to support a family of four on an income less than half the poverty line. Additionally, I had converted to Islam in 1993, which made me vulnerable to being cast by Fox News as a “radical Muslim professor” who was “corrupting the youth.”
The media campaign against me continued nonstop from late June through December 2006. Its goal was to force the University of Wisconsin to fire me. It failed. The University conducted a painstaking review of my teaching record and found I was a highly-rated instructor who had done nothing wrong. I taught Introduction to Islamic Studies during the fall semester. Anderson Cooper’s film crew, among other journalists, sat in on my class, which had drawn around 200 students instead of the usual 30. Though that class was a success, and the University stuck by its decision not to fire me, they could not rehire me without taking a huge financial hit. So since then I have been essentially unemployable in the American academy.
I wrote Truth Jihad that August to push back against the mainstream media attempt to dehumanize me as a deluded “conspiracy theorist” and “radical Muslim.” In the book I explored the question: How did a seemingly normal middle class Midwestern white boy turn into a “radical Muslim conspiracy theorist”? (It wasn’t just the media posing that question; my own mother was wondering the same thing, and it wasn’t until 2010 that she finally came around and admitted that WTC-7 was obviously a controlled demolition.)
Truth Jihad features a lot of self-effacing humor. The title at first glance seems to be a joke: I’m laughing at myself as a “crazy radical Muslim truth jihadi” who stupidly blew up his academic career in a sort of intellectual equivalent of a suicide bombing. (The well-known Muslim dawa lecturer Yasmin Mogahed, who guest lectured to my class and contributed to one of my edited books, used to laughingly call me “Kevin shaheed” while insisting that she herself could not directly express her view that 9/11 was a false flag because it would damage her career. She was far from the only one who felt that way.)
But the expression truth jihad, which has since become the name of my website and radio show, has a serious deeper meaning. In Islam, jihad is a noble concept. Though the Zionist-dominated, Islamophobic Western media has tried to portray jihad as a bad thing, and has been helped in doing so by the idiot mercenaries of Daesh, the real meaning of jihad is simple:
JIHAD (n.) Effort, struggle, or striving to (1) be a better person, or (2) defend the community.
There is a famous hadith that states: “The best jihad is a word of truth flung in the face of a tyrant.” Today, that hadith is more relevant than ever. The development of modern weapons has made warfare unimaginably destructive. Traditional Islamic prohibitions on harming civilians and infrastructure are almost impossible to obey, due to the wanton destruction of today’s mega-weapons. At the same time, communications technology has advanced to the point that one dedicated person with virtually no money has a possibility of succeeding in spreading a powerful but suppressed truth. So when a Big Lie is weaponized against your community—as the Big Lie of 9/11 has been weaponized against Muslims and against the American Republic—the truth is the best defense.
Truth Jihad uses humor, a sense of the absurd, some silly poems, and other offbeat approaches to explain why I felt compelled to risk my career and reputation to attempt to defend the Muslim community, as well as the American community, against the neoconservative Zionists who attacked us on September 11, 2001.
One of the very few mainstream reviews I got was reasonably positive and compared me to the great satirist Rabelais, which I took as a gargantuan compliment. (I enjoy writing political and social satire, and find the post-9/11 world rife with dark humor and over-the-top absurdity.) Unfortunately, few mainstream outlets would review or even mention the book. After all, they were attacking me to discredit the 9/11 truth movement, not to sell books for me!
Truth Jihad has some fans in the academy. But few of them want to publicly admit it. Shortly after the 2006 controversy, I was invited to give an (unadvertised) lecture at a major program at UW-Madison. One of the professors, a Jewish man with relatively mainstream, cynical political views, offered a rave review of the book, and then asked: “But do you really think you can change the world with this stuff? Aren’t you swimming against an overwhelming current?” I admitted he had a point, but that Islam requires me to do the right thing in the eyes of God, whatever the visible results.
Peter Dale Scott, the University of California professor who popularized the term deep state, called Truth Jihad “delicious.” He particularly enjoyed the humorous poetry, which is a meaningful compliment, since his father was a famous poet and he is an accomplished poet himself as well as an English professor and literature expert. He especially liked my parodies of Islamic mystical poetry celebrating the wine of paradise; since I am from Wisconsin, and had to make extra effort to give up beer when I converted to Islam, I recast these poems with beer instead of wine as the beverage of paradise.
Other “closet Truth Jihad fans” in the academy have invited me to lecture to their classes at various universities. These lectures have always been unadvertised in order to avoid potential scandals.
I have also gotten a couple of bad reviews from noted academicians. Stanley Fish, in a top feature New York Times op-ed, falsely accused me of “proselytizing” for 9/11 truth in my classes. In fact, none of my students would even have known what I thought about who did 9/11 on the basis of anything that happened in my classrooms. I was hounded by the politicians and the media due to what I had said on a radio show, not what I taught at the University. But my letter to the Times correcting the record, and asking Fish to retract his libelous statement, went unpublished and unanswered.
I got an even worse review from Edward Luttwak, the Zionist-extremist Machievellian author of Coup d’Etat: A Practical Handbook. That book is a step by step guide detailing how to perpetrate a “policy coup” like the one the neocon-Zionists staged on 9/11/2001. When I pointed that out to the New York Sun, Luttwak, like Lady MacBeth, protested too much: “How come a public institution will accord any kind of job other than cleaning the bathrooms to a person who says these things? What were the people who appointed him thinking?” Luttwak, of course, knows better than anyone that Coup d’Etat amounts to a step-by-step guide to staging the 9/11 false flag.