Shiraz Dossa: Professor who attended Holocaust conference blasts critics as Islamophobes

Historians in the News

A Canadian political scientist excoriated for attending what was widely labelled a Holocaust-denial conference in Tehran has retaliated with a blistering published attack on his university president and his colleagues for being illiterate Islamophobes.

Writing in the influential Literary Review of Canada, Shiraz Dossa, a tenured professor at Nova Scotia's St. Francis Xavier University, said that his academic integrity and academic freedom were grossly impugned by the university administration, an assault on his reputation that he said has yet to be remedied.

He accused the president and chancellor of authorizing a "small Spanish Inquisition" to denounce him - a campaign he said was initiated by two Jewish professors and the Christian chair of the political science department.

Prof. Dossa also wrote that the attack on his reputation was launched by The Globe and Mail's editorial board and by columnists John Ibbitson and Rex Murphy, whom he described as being "intellectually just a cut above the Trailer Park Boys" and ignorant of the Middle East.

James Turk, executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, likened the treatment of Prof. Dossa to the 1950s McCarthy period in the United States when academics and others were subjected to intense pressure not to attend events that were unpopular.

This is the first time Prof. Dossa has spoken out since the storm erupted over his attendance at the Tehran conference in mid-December.

His two-page essay appears in the issue of the LRC that will be posted today on its website, Although the monthly publication's circulation is small, it is widely read in the academic, journalistic, political and public-service communities.

In an interview, Prof. Dossa said he wrote the essay because he wanted to set the record straight and because he still hasn't received an apology from either St. FX president Sean Riley or chancellor Raymond Lahey, the Roman Catholic bishop of Antigonish where the university is located. He also said he has refused to speak to his department chair, Prof. Yvon Grenier, since December. ...

comments powered by Disqus