Very few people. No qualms against Russians, Russian history, and most definitely not against a great film about a Russian sniper in WW2 that is ironically casted solely with British actors/actresses, Enemy at the Gates. Seriously, great movie. But nothing against Russianism, just making the point that studying anything having to do with Russia or the Soviet Union was much more relevant 30 years ago.
Nevertheless, the study of middle-east and Islam in colleges/anywhere is most relevant among American students because of the current state of world events and the connection of political connection to Islam in the middle east. I am most definitely guilty of participating in the status quo because I am in a religion class that is an overview of Shi'ism, the minority faction of Islam.
My professor was saddened by the neglect of Islam as a whole, complete belief system because of the emphasis today in the west on the political aspect of Islam, which in fact is a smaller facet of what he believes is a greater whole.
One could witness the same trend existing in churches today because of the rapid growth of Islam (fastest growing religion) worldwide. I write this post only to say that if churches/christ-followers wish to reach any of the muslim community or any community of people that desperately needs Jesus, in the honoring of Acts 1:8:
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." ESV
Shouldn't I, as a way to resemble Christ, become an expert on the people for which God has put a love in my heart? In a world that equates ignorance and hypocrisy as synonyms of the word "Christian," I believe it would be a great tragedy for me to do anything less than become as knowledgeable of what I am up against as I can. I believe I must acknowledge and become an expert of knowledge of Satan, his schemes, his methods, and the existence of a place of eternal punishment which some church leaders, even mega-church leaders refuse to acknowledge. I also believe it is essential that I become an expert on any people group I am trying to reach out of a love that I believe is completely God-ordained.
Jesus was and remains a sinless expert on sinners. Would anything less be expected of me?