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Teaching & Understanding Sept 11: 

Photograph of the Week - Vengeance and Understanding 9-11

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It is easy to appreciate the sentiments in the photo, but it is also important to be open to learning something about those we consider the enemy. Consider that "the university in Chapel Hill is asking all 3,500 incoming freshmen to read a book about Islam and finds itself besieged in federal court and across the airwaves by Christian evangelists and other conservatives."

Trust the press to step in and raise the level of discussion: "But a national TV talk show host, Fox News Network's Bill O'Reilly, compared the assignment to teaching "Mein Kampf" in 1941 and questioned the purpose of making freshmen study "our enemy's religion." (Two paragraphs from A Timely Subject -- and a Sore One: UNC Draws Fire, Lawsuit for Assigning Book on Islam. Washington Post, August 7, p A01). 

One Freshman seemed to have a much healthier perspective: "After the terrorist attacks, I was so angry that I really didn't care to learn anything about Muslims," said Matthew Dale, an 18-year-old freshmen from Raleigh, N.C. "But I know now that refusing to learn is what causes more anger and confusion. I'm glad they chose this book. I still have a lot of questions, but at least this was a start." (from N.C. University Students Discuss Readings in Islam: Christian Group Sought to Bar Assignment on Koran. Washington Post, August 20, P A02)

The Book is Approaching the Qur'an: The Early Revelations. The text above is from the August- Part 1 edition of my Weblog/News Blog

UPDATE: ABCNews Nightline did a segment on this controversy. The reading is now optional, although one student was excited about it: "It was the first time he'd read anything about Islam, and he wanted to talk about it. 'I feel like I learned a lot, because, I mean, I really didn't know that much about Islam before I began,' Gilbert said. 'I knew they worshipped Allah, and prayed five times a day. That was about it.'"

The Chancellor commented: "I knew there would be controversy, but I never imagined international attention to this. I mean, to a two-hour discussion group over an assigned book. I think it says a lot about our country, not all of it good."

The book's author: "'There's a large undercurrent out there that did not believe President Bush when he said Islam is not our enemy,' Sells said. 'We don't need to condemn those people, or dismiss them. We should talk with them and really talk this thing through, because we're going to be involved in conflicts in areas with largely Muslim populations for the foreseeable future.'"

Any views or opinions expressed in the pictures is not necessarily those of the authors. The photographs are presented as additional commentary on Sept 11th and people's reaction to it. No claim of copyright is being made to the photographs, which are temporarily provided here for their contribution to education. Copyright owners who would like additional credit or the removal of material from this site should contact me



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