Alex Shams writes, “The failure of the University of Chicago – and other universities like it – to vocally defend the rights of its students to free speech, political activism, and to live in an environment free of racial and religious hatred is particularly disconcerting given the wave of Islamophobia that has overtaken the country in the last year, particularly in light of Donald Trump’s electoral victory.”

French police on Tuesday forced a woman to take off her clothes on a beach in Nice because she was wearing a “burkini,” a bathing suit recently criminalized in 15 French cities. Apparently, telling women what to wear – or in this case, what not to wear – is now considered good nationalism and good feminism among a large proportion of French society. These incidents should be shocking to all of us.

On October 16th, a large crowd of Palestinians near the northern West Bank city of Nablus surrounded the religious site of Joseph’s Tomb and proceeded to light the shrine on fire. The attack elicited widespread outrage and for Israelis it seemed to indicate yet again that Palestinian violence is motivated by anti-Jewish hatred. The reality, however, is far different than the Israeli narrative would seem to suggest. The attack had almost nothing to do with religion, but instead how the Israeli military and settlement movement have used religion to expand their control over Palestinian land and holy places.

On Monday, Ramallah-based visual artist Khaled Jarrar painted a portion of Israel’s separation wall as a rainbow flag following the US Supreme Court decision in support of marriage equality. Jarrar said in a statement: “I went and painted the colors of the rainbow (on the wall) as these colors were circulated all over the world. These colors are ultimately an expression of freedom.”