Controversy over Required Reading on Islam at University of North Carolina

August 7, 2002

Source: The Washington Post

On August 7, 2002, The Washington Post featured an editorial by Prof. Michael Sells. "The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, is being sued for assigning my book, Approaching the Qur'an: The Early Revelations, as required summer reading for first-year students... The plaintiffs charge that UNC indoctrinates students with deceptive claims about the peaceful nature of Islam, violating the separation of church and state. In fact, the book makes no general claims about Islam... Behind the lawsuit is an old missionary claim that Islam is a religion of violence in contrast to Christianity, a religion of peace." Dr. Sells emphasizes that his book "presents the passages that Muslims consider the earliest revelations to Muhammad, those with the most direct account of core theological ideas and literary themes."