January 22, 2016 –
Rejecting Hate by Larry Yarbrough for Charles P. Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life
January 22, 2016
As director of the Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life, I feel compelled to express my deep concerns about the divisive and inflammatory rhetoric currently being used on public platforms and in social media to denigrate Islam and to question the place of Muslims in American life.
My concerns derive from my faith and my work as a professor of religion and director of the Scott Center. But they are also linked to my being a member of the Middlebury community. For like many of you who have written or called about the growing number of anti-Muslim statements, I regard such divisive and inflammatory speech as antithetical to Middlebury’s values, whether we measure them by codes of conduct or statements of mission.
I am deeply grateful that the Scott Center has long welcomed the presence of Muslims in our multifaith approach to religion and spirituality on campus and that we have a thriving Muslim Students Association. Student leadership in this organization is outstanding; and the whole community is fortunate to have Beau Scurich and Naila Baloch as associate chaplains and Muslim advisors.
The students and faculty in Arabic language and literature at our schools abroad, in the summer school, in our program in Arabic at the College, and in other departments that treat Islamic history, religion, politics, and other topics on the Middlebury campus and in Monterey also enrich our curriculum and common life.
In whatever way and for whatever reason we reject divisive and inflammatory rhetoric against Islam and Muslims, we are taking a stand—against fear, aggression, and hate. And we are opening the way to open and honest dialogue and cooperation. In taking this stand, we give voice to our aspirations—for ourselves and for our world.
I welcome your comments.
Director of the Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life
Tillinghast Professor of Religion