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Middlebury College question

Reader comment on item: Debating the Khalil Gibran International Academy

Submitted by Diana (United States), May 19, 2008 at 14:32

Could someone please clarify the reference to Middlebury College as a place where "the instruction of Arabic implies either a political or a religious agenda"?

I am interested in this because a friend of mine who was a student of Islamic studies at Wesleyan University and who went on to study Arabic at the American University in Beruit recently told me that non-muslims were in fact allowed to enter Mecca "if they were respectful and if they donned the hijab out of respect" I was shocked by this, because everything I have ever read says otherwise. However, because he was an Arabic studies major and I an English major, I assumed he must know more about the subject than I.

However, after puzzling over this and doing even further research and asking some Saudi Muslims themselves, even they told me that Saudi law prevents non-muslims from entering Mecca.

So I have to wonder how my friend, a good student, would honestly believe anything otherwise? I have to wonder exactly what is being taught to young American Islamic studies majors? In fact, I have the opportunity to take a class in Islamic studies because I work at a University. So I will be paying very close attention...

Anyone who has any thoughts on this matter, a response would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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