$20,000, really? Imam is coming to speak at UNC and at Duke. Why is he getting paid?
Universities are supposed to explore issues and to debate policy. That is part of a well-rounded education experience.
So, it might not be that surprising that officials would want to discuss the issue of the mosque/cultural center near Ground Zero in New York.
But the fact that the imam in charge of the proposal is being paid $20,000 to come and speak to students at the University of North Carolina and Duke might make someone wonder just why this is an issue of such great interest that it is worth this kind of attention and a stipend at all.
The mosque/cultural issue is a New York debate -- even though the cause for the disdain relates to the national horror of Sept. 11, 2001. Those who disagree with its placement believe that it is disrespectful to place a structure like this so close to the site where 3,000 Americans lost their lives.
Proponents of the project see it as an olive branch of understanding and a chance to differentiate between radicals and everyday Muslims.
Invite the imam to speak? OK, but how about a debate instead. A chance for those who oppose the project to state their case, too.
That is an intellectual debate worthy of a university.
Published in Editorials on March 14, 2011 10:33 AM