U.S. Rep. Walter Jones has taken a stand against a recent federal grant to Craven Community College to provide 25 books and a DVD to “introduce Muslim cultures to Americans,” Jones’ office said in a news release.
The “Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys” grant came from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Jones has consistently opposed federal spending bills that give money to the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts, his office said.
“It is appalling to me that a federal agency like NEH is wasting taxpayer money on programs like this,” Jones said. “It makes zero sense for the U.S. government to borrow money from China in order to promote the culture of Islamic civilizations.”
Book titles include: “The Butterfly Mosque: A Young American Woman’s Journey to Love and Islam,” “The Story of the Qur’an,” “Muhammad,” and “A Quiet Revolution: The Veil’s Resurgence, from the Middle East to America.”
Jones’ office said it has sent a letter to Craven County Board of Trustees Chairwoman Carol Mattocks about the congressman’s concerns.
For her part, Mattocks said she has not received the letter from Jones’ office, but is aware it is coming.
“I would like to see the letter and give it due consideration,” she said.
Mattocks also said she has seen a press release about the matter.
“An institute of higher learning is always looking for ways to navigate a global society,” she said.
Judy Eurich, director of marketing, communications and development liaison at Craven Community College, said that the college is one of seven institutions of higher education in the state that received the grant. She said there was no monetary funding involved from the college, explaining that the college will get the 25 books, a DVD series of short videos about Islamic art and architecture, two films and a one-year subscription to Oxford Islamic Studies online.
Eurich said the college had community support from the grant from the New Bern-Craven County Public Library, Carteret County Public Library and Interfaith Refugee Ministry.
“This fits in the mission of the college of improving and enhancing the lives of individuals and communities by providing opportunities to prepare students for a global society,” she said.
If Craven Community College accepts the grant, Jones has called on college leaders to follow their policy of providing “balanced” resources for library patrons.
In a letter to the college, Jones asks the trustees to give equal exposure to books about Christianity and America’s rich Judeo-Christian heritage. The Craven-Pamlico Christian Coalition has committed to donating 25 books on those topics.
According to the news release, Jerry Schill, chairman of the Craven-Pamlico Christian Coalition, said the organization would provide materials about Christianity.
“However, in light of the government’s role in keeping God out of the public square and the obstacles that Christians face when it comes to prayer and the ability to publicly proclaim our faith, it just seems more than odd that the federal government will provide a package of ‘Muslim Journeys’ to a number of colleges nationwide,” Schill said. “It’s even more perplexing knowing the fiscal problems facing our nation.”