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 celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance brings together members from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition to protect faith and freedom. For more information visit