After receiving a chorus of criticism against a professor who has called for the destruction of Israel and denied the Holocaust occurred, Lincoln University yesterday issued a statement assailing the educator's remarks.
Lincoln President Ivory Nelson said Kaukab Siddique's remarks at a recent rally and his earlier writings and statements "are an insult to all decent people."
A firestorm arose after CBN News, the Christian Broadcasting Network, aired a video of a Sept. 3 Washington rally in which Siddique said, "We must stand united to defeat, to destroy, to dismantle Israel, if possible by peaceful means."
Siddique, 67, an associate professor of English and literature at Lincoln, called Zionism a "hydra-headed monster."
CBN, state Sens. Daylin Leach and Anthony H. Williams, and others have said they learned that Siddique, who is Muslim and originally from Pakistan, has called the Holocaust "a hoax" or "a myth."
Nelson said Siddique's views do not represent his own or the university's. "The university acknowledges the Holocaust as a well-documented historical fact and does not condone the incitement to destruct any population or state by any means," he said.
Lincoln, one of the nation's oldest historically black colleges, said it "cannot take action at this time" against Siddique because his opinions are not part of his curriculum.
Yesterday, Leach, Williams and other lawmakers met with Nelson and the university's executive vice president, Michael B. Hill, at Lincoln in Chester County.
The senators said they want university officials to show them the documents they looked at when they offered Siddique his job and awarded him tenure. They said a symposium will be planned to discuss academic freedom and hate speech.
Barry Morrison, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, wrote Nelson a letter yesterday saying he has learned that Siddique's "problematic views" have been expressed on campus.
He pointed to an event at Lincoln in September during which Siddique commented on the Washington rally to some students.
During the campus event, Siddique pointed out that his "criticism of Israel is based not on hatred of Jews but on facts which cannot be denied," and contended "Israel has committed genocide" against Palestinians, according to New Trend, an online magazine of which Siddique is editor.
In a letter last Friday to Nelson, Morrison noted that in 2006, he wrote a letter expressing the ADL's concern that Lincoln had on its faculty "an active Holocaust denier."
Joseph Torsella, chairman of the state board of education, also recently wrote to Nelson stating concern over Siddique's comments.
Siddique, asked this week by the Daily News if he denies the Holocaust happened, said: "I'm not a scholar of the Holocaust. I'm not saying it happened. I'm not saying it didn't. Maybe it did."
Asked if he ever wrote that the Holocaust was "a hoax," he replied, "In some context, I might have said some scholars who have studied it have said the Holocaust is 'a hoax' or a 'gross exaggeration.' "