The Hartford Seminary has occupied a leading position among theological faculties around the nation in accommodating Islam, particularly in its radical forms, since appointing its first Muslim faculty member more than twenty years ago. Today, that accommodation extends to the murderous regime of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.
Hartford maintains a highly questionable relationship with an Islamic religious and Arabic-language school, the Al-Fatiha Islamic Academy in Damascus, approved by, and allied with, the Assad family. Founded in 1956, Al-Fatiha promotes aggressively sharia-based finance (Islamic banking) and denounces the current international financial system.
On January 30, Hartford announced that "Omer Awass ... has been named Visiting Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations, starting in Fall 2012." Awass possesses unexceptional standing as a doctoral candidate at Temple University, where he earned his master's degree in religion, with attendance at al-Azhar, the prestigious Sunni Muslim religious university in Cairo. And by way of justifying this rather odd academic appointment, Hartford disclosed that Awass "is a graduate of Al-Fatih Islamic Institute in Damascus, Syria, which has enjoyed a partnership with Hartford Seminary and had students earn degrees at the Seminary."
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