Posted on September 20, 2019

Trump Administration Orders Changes to Duke, UNC Curriculum Because It’s Not “Positive” Enough About Judaism and Christianity

Elliot Hannon, Slate, September 20, 2019

The Trump administration has threatened to withdraw federal funding for a Middle East studies course jointly taught by Duke University and the University of North Carolina because it believes the course is too positive in its depiction of Islam in comparison with its portrayal of Judaism and Christianity. The Department of Education said the consortium had failed to offer a “balance of perspectives” on the religions and ordered the universities to remake the course to provide a more “positive” portrayal of Judaism and Christianity or lose its federal funding. The consortium received $235,000 in federal grant money last year. There is “a considerable emphasis placed on the understanding the positive aspects of Islam, while there is an absolute absence of any similar focus on the positive aspects of Christianity, Judaism or any other religion or belief system in the Middle East,” the Department of Education said in its letter to the schools.


“The inquiry was part of a far-reaching investigation into the program by the department, which under Betsy DeVos, the education secretary, has become increasingly aggressive in going after perceived anti-Israel bias in higher education,” [reports the New York Times].