Dr. Stephen McClatchie,
Principal, Huron University College
October 26, 2011
Dear Dr. McClatchie,
First, let me congratulate you, somewhat belatedly, on your appointment as principal of HUC. I hope you will have many happy and successful years at the head of HUC.
A few days ago, a letter signed by you was published in The National Post. It was a reply to Barbara Kay's article. I wrote 2 replies to that and they were both too long to be published in that newspaper. For this reason I am sending you an open letter (I will be forwarding copies to interested parties) outlining my concerns.
I do not know exactly when you took up your position at HUC or how much information you were provided regarding the public's concern with the financing of the chair in Islamic studies. I have no idea if you were ever given all the materials/articles/letters in which issues surrounding the very serious objections to the funders of the new programme were outlined. I have to assume that you have some knowledge of it all but should you wish it, I will be pleased to send you copies of everything we hand delivered to T. Fulton and Rev. Danaher.
The original communications of several individuals focused on requesting HUC to fund the new academic programme from untainted sources. We lost that battle and in what I am writing below I concentrate on the candidate who has been appointed to the new academic chair.
The main objection to HUC's establishment of a chair in Islamic Studies located in a Faculty of Anglican Theology was that it was bought and paid for by organisations with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, some of which are known to have a history of funding Hamas and other terrorist organisations. The fear was that such a program would not operate under the same rules of academic freedom we expect in our universities.......the right to criticise, the right to use reason, the right to disagree, the right to offend if the truth hurts.
Among those who expressed their concerns in writing to HUC and to the media, the example of an Islamic studies program that seemed to violate the expected norms of an academic program in a university was that of the Hartford Seminary in the USA. One of that programme's most senior and influential academics is Ingrid Mattson. Reading the calendar of Hartford Seminary is informative (and disquieting) but the most telling description of the inner workings of Islamic studies comes from an article published in the spring of 2011 by Andrew Bieszad, a student in the Islamic studies program at Hartford. (I am sending you a copy of this article as an attachment.)
You objected to Kay's reporting on the experience of Christian student Andrew Bieszad who was confronted by Muslim students who told him that infidels deserved to die, one of the nastier tenets endorsed in some contemporary forms of Islam. You dismissed this as ″the experience of one student." In fact, it required a remarkable display of courage by Bieszad to openly report on his appalling experiences while enrolled at the Hartford Seminary, a post-Christian institution whose pathways HUC seems to want to emulate. Is it acceptable because only one student had the guts to come forward and report on a distinctly Islamo-supremacist academic environment in which no questioning of anything Islamic is countenanced? Here is something else Bieszad mentions in his article, Islamo-Correctness at Hartford Seminary, in addition to the remarks from several Muslim students that he deserved to die because he was an infidel:
Another student, an American Muslim of Egyptian heritage informed me that I was dirty on account of being Christian. When I tried to address these and other incidents with the Hartford Seminary administration, I was told directly that I was 'intolerant' of Muslims and needed to show a better 'understanding of Islam' as a solution. No action was ever taken by the seminary.
Is this what we can look forward to at HUC?
At one point when things got truly beyond the pale for Bieszad, Mattson, the most prominent faculty member of that program at the Hartford Seminary, personally refused to discuss the many travails of Bieszad with him because she would be "uncomfortable discussing them with me." Academic leadership and upholding the values of academic freedom from Ingrid Mattson? I don't think so.
You argue against Ingrid Mattson's links with terrorism (spurious links you say) through her administrative leadership of the Islamic Society of North America, a Muslim Brotherhood front organisation. Your argument is that Mattson was an advisor to both Bush and Obama and said a prayer at Obama's inauguration prayer service. So what? There are several examples of individuals involved in outreach/interfaith programs and similar who have achieved success in our societies and subsequently turned out to have ties to terrorism. An invitation to the White House is not a certificate of purity and blamelessness. All sorts of villains have been received at the White House. Besides, getting an invitation to the White House is not a qualification for an academic chair or it certainly hasn't been until now.
You touch on Mattson as a voice for tolerance and diversity and defend her against the charge of being an adherent of Wahhabism, the very intolerant form of Islam exported world-wide by Saudi Arabia. Mattson has been in the spotlight for a long time and in the internet age has left quite a trail behind her. She is careful to say all the right things in an interfaith context but she won't explicitly reject the more unsavoury tenets of politicised Islam. She is the perfect selection for the face of the stealth jihad: female & cherubic looking, preaches in churches and synagogues, something a Wahhabi would never accept you say. Thus is she used to deflect accusations of Islamist misogyny and intolerance. Indeed, HUC has fallen for it hook line and sinker.
It is important to remember why so many were worried by the sources of funding for the HUC chair in Islamic studies. The major funders were proven front organisations of the Muslim Brotherhood and the only reason why they would pony up $2 million would be to further the goals of the Brotherhood. Let us remind ourselves of these goals. It just so happens that very recently Andrew McCarthy (former prosecutor in the Holy Land terrorism trial) issued an article entitled Fears and Smears on the topic of Islamophobia. In it he discusses the IIIT, the principal funder of the Islamic studies program. Here is a part of what McCarthy writes:
Of course, the problem is that American Muslims are being encouraged (and in some cases, coerced) into fundamentalist sharia — to which most of them are certainly not adherent — by Muslim Brotherhood organizations such as IIIT....That brings us back to Dr. Alwani (president of IIIT) and the English translation of Reliance of the Traveller. The IIIT president's lavish praise for the translation, which he called an 'eminent work of Islamic jurisprudence,' was not idle. It was written in an IIIT report that is included in the preface of Reliance as an endorsement of the manual's rendering of sharia. The purpose of the translation, Alwani explained, is to make this faithful interpretation of sharia 'accessible' to English speakers who are not fluent in the original Arabic. 'The book will be of great use,' he elaborated, 'in America, Britain, and Canada,' among other countries. Echoing IIIT's commendation is the certification that immediately follows from the Islamic Research Academy at al-Azhar University in Cairo, the ancient and profoundly influential seat of Sunni learning.
The manual is startling. To take just a few of its innumerable bracing instructions, it pronounces that:
· Apostasy from Islam is 'the ugliest form of unbelief' for which the penalty is death ('When a person who has reached puberty and is sane voluntarily apostatizes from Islam, he deserves to be killed').
· Apostasy occurs not only when a Muslim renounces Islam but also, among other things, when a Muslim appears to worship an idol, when he is heard 'to speak words that imply unbelief,' when he makes statements that appear to deny or revile Allah or the prophet Mohammed, when he is heard 'to deny the obligatory character of something which by consensus of Muslims is part of Islam,' and when he is heard 'to be sarcastic about any ruling of the Sacred Law'
· 'Jihad means to war against non-Muslims'
· Non-Muslims are permitted to live in an Islamic state only if they follow the rules of Islam, pay the non-Muslim poll tax, and comply with various adhesive conditions designed to remind them that they have been subdued (such as wearing distinctive clothing, keeping to one side of the street, not being greeted with 'Peace be with you' ('as-Salamu alaykum'), not being permitted to build as high as or higher than Muslims, and being forbidden to build new churches, recite prayers aloud, 'or make public displays of their funerals or feastdays'
· Offenses committed against Muslims (including murder) are more serious than offenses committed against non-Muslims
· The penalty for spying against Muslims is death
· The penalty for fornication is to be stoned to death, unless one is without the 'capacity to remain chaste,' in which case the penalty is 'being scourged one hundred stripes and banished to a distance of at least 81 km./50mi. for one year'
· The penalty for homosexual activity ('sodomy and lesbianism') is death
· A Muslim woman may only marry a Muslim man; a Muslim man may marry up to four women, who may be Muslim, Christian, or Jewish (but no apostates from Islam)
· A woman is required to be obedient to her husband and is prohibited from leaving the marital home without permission; if permitted to go out, she must conceal her figure or alter it 'to a form unlikely to draw looks from men or attract them'
· A non-Muslim may not be awarded custody of a Muslim child
· The penalty for theft is amputation of the right hand
· The penalty for drinking alcohol is 'to be scourged forty stripes'
· The penalty for accepting interest ('usurious gain') is death (i.e., to be considered in a state of war against Allah)
· The testimony of a woman is worth half that of a man
· If a case involves an allegation of fornication (including rape), 'then it requires four male witnesses'
· The establishment of a caliphate is obligatory, and the caliph must be Muslim and male
The IIIT was established by Muslim Brotherhood figures in 1980. Its mission is the Islamization of knowledge — 'a new synthesis of all knowledge in an Islamic epistemological framework,' as recounted in an important study, 'The Muslim Brotherhood in the United States,' authored by the Hudson Institute's Center on Islam, Democracy, and the Future of the Muslim World. As I've previously explained, the Brotherhood expressly identified the IIIT as being among 'our organizations and the organizations of our friends' in internal memoranda seized by the FBI and admitted in evidence at the Hamas-financing trial. It shares common leaders with the Islamic Society of North America, another Brotherhood affiliate that was shown to be complicit in the Hamas-financing conspiracy. And Dr. Alwani himself was cited as an unindicted coconspirator in the Justice Department's prosecution against Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Sami al-Arian, who ultimately pleaded guilty to a terrorism charge.
HUC has funded its chair with money from an institution that endorses all of the above. Would Ingrid Mattson openly espouse this? I doubt it, especially not at the White House or in a church or a synagogue. The more important question, perhaps, is, would criticism of any of these articles of faith be tolerated in her classrooms? I doubt that too. You can not get away from the fact that he who pays the piper calls the tune. The Islamists have clearly called the tune with the appointment of Ingrid Mattson, hot shot from the Hartford Seminary whose program in Islamic studies has been so graphically described by Andrew Bieszad. The theory of interfaith dialogue, outreach and all that, is fine. It can work very well with sincere partners on all sides. However, I prefer to judge by outcomes rather than intentions and we have a pretty good idea of what that outcome will be because we know how it works at the Hartford Seminary. It looks as though HUC is about to inaugurate a chair in Islamist studies and not a chair in Islamic studies.
The appointment of Ingrid Mattson, confirms my worst fears.
I am sorry to have to write such a letter to you but there is still time for you to look into all this seriously and avoid a very, very big mistake.