A Timely Subject — and a Sore One

Old Blog Import

I used to live upstairs from Michael Sells.

…this year, 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.

The university chose "Approaching the Qur’an: The Early Revelations" by Michael A. Sells, a professor of comparative religion at Haverford College, because of intense interest in Islam since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, said UNC Chancellor James Moeser.

"We’re obviously not promoting one religion," Moeser told concerned university trustees last month. "What more timely subject could there be?"

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."”