Is Islamophobia accelerating global warming? That question was the focus of a lecture hosted by the highly regarded Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Monday.
According to an advertisement posted on MIT's website, the MIT Global Studies and Language Department's Ecology and Justice Forum hosted Ghassan Hage, a Lebanese-born future generation professor at the University of Melbourne, for a discussion on the connection between two major focuses for liberal social and environmental justice warriors — Islamophobia and global warming.
"This talk examines the relation between Islamophobia as the dominant form of racism today and the ecological crisis," the online advertisement states.
According to the ad, Hage's focus was on how Islamophobia and global warming both emanate from "generalized domestication" or "a similar mode of being, or enmeshment, in the world."
"It looks at the three common ways in which the two phenomena are seen to be linked: as an entanglement of two crises, metaphorically related with one being a source of imagery for the other and both originating in colonial forms of capitalist accumulation," the site argues.
Although the lecture was approved by MIT and open to the public, it is unclear how many students attended, what Hage's concrete arguments were and how his arguments were received by the MIT community.
Hage, who has held many visiting positions at prominent institutions around the world, such as Harvard, American University of Beirut and the University of Copenhagen, has a new book in the works that deals with the connection between global warming and Islamophobia. The book's title is slated to be Is Islamophobia Accelerating Global Warming?
Hage has also authored other books that focus on topics such as "fantasies of white supremacy in a multicultural society," "the future of Australian multiculturalism," and "paranoid nationalism."
Hage has issued other controversial opinions In the past.
Fox News reports that Hage opined in a 2014 essay that airport security is the "most obvious" example in which "Westerners require from those they racialize an exact obedience to the letter of the law."
"It is an obedience they do not require in interactions among themselves," Hage wrote.
Fox News also reports that Hage, a supporter of anti-Israel boycotts, once compared Israelis to "slave owners" in a tweet. And in a 2010 essay titled "A Massacre is Not a Massacre," Hage compared Palestinian militants to "freedom fighters."
The Daily Caller reports that Hage's argument is not the first time that activists have used global warming as a platform to promote their own social justice theories.
In 2015, environmental activists tried to claim that global warming was a women's issue because women are "even more vulnerable" to climate change and global warming could lead to an increase in sexual assaults.
Last July, former Democratic presidential candidate and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley argued that climate change led to the rise of the Islamic State terrorist organization in Syria.
MIT, which is ranked as the top research school, is not the first academic institution to host an unusual event that focuses on climate change.
Last week, The University of Virginia hosted a ballet to raise global warming awareness, which it deemed an "astounding multimedia dance/music performance about the precarity of our Arctic icescapes and global climate change."