Controversies

9/11 from terrorist's perspective basis for Iowa State assignment

Iowa State defends controversial assignment; Campus Reform's Sterling Beard reports on 'America's Newsroom'

 

9/11 was bad. But let’s pretend it wasn’t.

That’s the challenge some International Studies students at Iowa State University faced in an assignment obtained by The College Fix.

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“Write a paper that gives a historical account of 911 from the perspective of the terrorist network,” the project rundown stated. “In other words, how might Al-Qaeda or a non-Western historian describe what happened.”

Though the description acknowledges the terror attack was a "heinous action," it encourages students to view the events "from other perspectives."

The university defended the proposal for the 500-word minimum essay.

“As you can see, the assignment was in no way an attempt to diminish the tragic events of September 11, 2001,” an ISU spokesperson told The College Fix. “Nor was it designed to support the goals of Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.”

The spokesperson added: “This is similar to the vital work being performed in our nation’s diplomatic and intelligence operations, such as the Central Intelligence Agency, or the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research.”

The class is taught by lecturer James Strohman,a member of the Iowa Employment Appeal Board and a registered Democrat. Strohman has taught at ISU for 10 years, according to his biography on the university's website.

The assignment was given out during the first week of class and was worth a total of four points, according to the online description.

ISU is located in Ames, about 35 miles north of Des Moines.