The book “All the President’s Men” detailing the Watergate burglary added this gem to our culture:
Deep Throat: No, I have to do this my way. You tell me what you know, and I’ll confirm. I’ll keep you in the right direction if I can, but that’s all. Just… follow the money.
Follow the money is only half of this story concerning Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf. He was paid $20,000 in private funds to deliver the 2011 Weil Lecture on American Citizenship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on March 16, 2011. The private funding bothered me. Why would someone pay this Imam $20,000 to indoctrinate our children and why would a state funded university allow this presentation?
The last Weil Lecture in 2009 featured Senator John Kerry. His presentation was entitled “Global Warming and Community Action”. Again I ask, why are we allowing a state funded university to indoctrinate our children? It is time to follow the example of the House of Representatives concerning the continued funding of NPR: the gravy train at the expense of taxpayers needs to sent to the scrap yard.
Let us first get some background on UNC’s Weil Lecture in American Citizenship:
The Institute for the Arts and Humanities has hosted UNC’s Weil Lecture in American Citizenship since 2000. Brothers Henry and Solomon Weil established the lecture in 1915 to widen discussion of the American scene. Presidents Taft and Carter, Eleanor Roosevelt, Senators J. William Fulbright and Nancy Kassebaum and Professor Lester Thurow are among the many distinguished Weil lecturers. Others have been members of Congress, diplomats, political commentators and renowned scholars. Kevin Phillips and Anna Deveare Smith are among recent speakers.
The Weil lecturer is selected by a committee of UNC faculty. The committee members for the 2010-2011 Weil Lecture are:
Michele Berger, Department of Women’s Studies
Michael Gerhardt, School of Law
Charles Kurzman, Department of Sociology
Andrew Perrin, Department of Sociology
In addition, an advisory committee for the 2011 lecture comprises Chancellor Emeritus James Moeser, IAH senior fellow for special initiatives; Omid Safi, professor of religious studies; Carl W. Ernst, professor of religious studies; UNC student government; the Campus Y; and the Three Cups of Tea Community Dialogue.
Is there any oversight by the University for the selection by the faculty and advisory committee? Is there a connection between the university and Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf?
This brings us to the second part of the story which is Omid Safi who is a member of the advisory committee. He is a professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the author, most recently, of “Memories of Muhammad: Why the Prophet Matters”.
The first piece of information concerning this “professor” is shown below from jihadwatch.org:
Omid Safi lies again, claims I threatened to kill him
The facts at hand presumably speak for themselves, but a trifle more vulgarly, I suspect, than facts even usually do. A few years back I had a rather unpleasant exchange with Omid Safi, a professor at that time at Colgate University, now at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Or at least he seemed to think it was unpleasant; I thought it was riotous: an entertaining exposure of academic pomposity and the vacuity of the dominant MESA orthodoxy that has a stranglehold on university Middle East Studies departments.
I expanded the search parameters to include both Omid Safi and Feisal Abdul Rauf. It appears that Mr. Safi is an outspoken supporter of the ground zero mosque or as he states:
No, it is not a mosque. It is a community center with interfaith spaces, wedding halls, reading rooms, and yes, a place for prayer.
He continues with an attack on Americans who display xenophobic anxieties:
Most importantly, this controversy is not ultimately about Muslims or Islam or the place of Muslims in the mosaic of America. It is about competing and contentious visions of America. It is about what kind of a society we wish to be and to become.
We do have a culture war in this country, and on one side we have people who see us as being made richer through our existing diversity, and on the other side we have people who are displaying xenophobic anxieties about the increasing religious, ethnic, and sexual diversity of America.
It appears that Mr. Safi has no issue with submitting the above information on multiple sites:
In a New York Times article, Mr. Safi actually criticized the imam for not being outspoken concerning US policy on Israel and being too accommodating:
One critique of the imam, said Omid Safi, a professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina, was that he had not been outspoken enough on issues “near and dear to many Muslims,” like United States policy on Israel and treatment of Muslims after 9/11, “because of the need that he has had — whether taken upon himself or thrust upon him — to be the ‘American imam,’ to be the ‘New York imam,’ to be the ‘accommodationist imam.’ ”
The Weil Lecture may have started out with good intentions but it has been turned into a progressive dream and a stain on our state. It is past time to take out the trash in Chapel Hill.