Middle East studies in the News
Seminary Head Regrets Prof's Seemingly Anti-Semitic Remarks
by Jim Brown
The president of a Roman Catholic seminary is responding to controversial remarks made by a tenured professor at the school in defense of a Muslim man on trial for immigration fraud and concealment of terrorist ties.
Scott Alexander is an associate professor of Islam at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. In a report filed in a Cleveland, Ohio, federal court on behalf of accused terrorist Fawaz Damra, Dr. Alexander wrote, "When Palestinians refer to Jews as 'descended from apes and swine' or encourage support for those who 'kill Jews,' they do so with the reasonably justifiable self-image of victim and persecuted, not of victimizer and persecutor."
Although the remarks have generated criticism and controversy, CTU president Ronald Senior says Alexander will not be reprimanded for them or subjected to any kind of disciplinary action.
"We don't feel that he acted with wrong intention or out of wrong values," Senior says. I think it was imprudent and an error in judgment, which he is the first to admit, and he feels terrible about it."
The associate professor's commentary in no way condones hate speech against Jews or any other group, CTU's administrative head contends. He feels the words have simply been misconstrued by the press and notes, "Those words ... which were focused in a very narrow, technical way, certainly leave the opening for that quote to be taken out of context -- to seem to be a justification of hate speech against Jews or others."
But Senior says such a justification, however inadvertently implied, "runs contrary to Dr. Alexander's own personal religious perspectives" and "certainly runs counter to what Catholic Theological Union stands for."
The seminary president says CTU has expressed "great regret" to the Jewish community for any harm Alexander's remarks have caused, and extends those regrets as well to those in the wider community who have been offended by the comments.Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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