September 20, 2019

Ari Geller, West End Strategy Team; Phone: 202-776-7700

Rabbi Jack Moline Condemns Trump Administration’s Islamophobic Statement Targeting Middle East Studies Program
Interfaith Alliance president calls out Department of Education for promoting bigotry in comments that federally funded Duke-UNC program is ‘too positive’ on Islam

Following the Department of Education’s threat to pull funding from the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies for emphasizing ‘the positive aspects of Islam,’ Rabbi Jack Moline, President of Interfaith Alliance, released the following statement confronting the Islamophobic comments:

The Trump administration has time and again made its preference for educational programming that emphasizes Christian, conservative values clear. Now, it is especially troubling that the Department of Education is threatening to pull federal funding for the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies, in part because of the so-called ‘considerable emphasis placed on understanding the positive aspects of Islam.’

 “These actions further advance this administration’s campaign to mischaracterize Islam and ostracize Muslim people, at home and abroad. Programs like the Duke-UNC Consortium exist to further research, understanding, and dialogue. Education is the greatest gateway to bridge differences and create more tolerant societies. It is abhorrent for the Trump administration to target experts, students, and educators in order to further their anti-Muslim bigotry.”

Interfaith Alliance is a network of people of diverse faiths and beliefs from across the country working together to build a resilient democracy and fulfill America’s promise of religious freedom and civil rights not just for some, but for all. We mobilize powerful coalitions to challenge Christian nationalism and religious extremism, while fostering a better understanding of the healthy boundaries between religion and government. We advocate at all levels of government for an equitable and just America where the freedoms of belief and religious practice are protected, and where all persons are treated with dignity and have the opportunity to thrive. For more information visit