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Department of Religious Studies Statement on the Muslim Ban

The faculty of the Department of Religious Studies, College of Charleston, support the AAR national organization’s statement regarding the Muslim ban (see below). We emphasize that Islam is not reducible to or represented by the actions and attitudes of a small, violent minority, who clearly reject and routinely violate peaceful Islamic beliefs and values. Muslim communities have been a part of American social life since African Muslims were first carried across the Atlantic as slaves. As the third largest religion in America, there are currently 3.3 million Muslims living in this country, many of whom are second generation.

Cultural pluralism through immigration is an intrinsic and vital feature of American history, producing a vibrant and creative American religious society. The ban on immigration challenges those foundational American values that promote religious diversity, values that honor the cultural origins of diverse nationals from all parts of the globe. Religious studies is a discipline dedicated to the promotion of harmonious international global relations and to teaching tolerance and empathy for the beliefs of others; the immigration ban inhibits this educational mission and needlessly creates suspicion of those fleeing often intolerant situations and dangerous living conditions. The aggressive ideology and violence of a tiny, yet vocal, minority should never be the basis for wholesale discrimination against a religious tradition that promotes peace as a core value. This departmental statement applies to all peoples facing prejudice, oppression, or discrimination based on religious identity, but recognizes that in the current political climate of the U.S., Muslims are disproportionately affected.


American Academy of Religion

Board Statement on U.S. Executive Order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States"

Statement Issued by the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Religion on January 30, 2017

President Trump’s recent executive order limiting and banning Muslim immigration to the United States from seven countries strikes at the heart of the mission and values of the American Academy of Religion, a learned society of some 8,500 members.

Our organization is committed to excellence in the academic study of religion and to making our scholarship freely available in order to foster the larger public understanding of religion.

The ban impedes that mission. Faculty members, students, and independent scholars who study religion depend on the freedom of travel to pursue their work. Already we have received reports of scholars who have been prevented from returning home to the United States from research trips abroad. The ban will also impede international students who hope to study in the United States and to American students who plan to study abroad.

At a more fundamental level, the ban conflicts with our values. We hold dear diversity, mutual respect, inclusion, and free inquiry, all of which the immigration ban jeopardizes. The ban erodes our hope that these values will serve as the foundation for all governmental decisions regarding our members as well as our colleagues around the globe.

Finally, the ban poisons the public’s understanding of Islam in particular and religion in general. It blatantly and explicitly discriminates against Islam and Muslims, and appears to provide special treatment of Christianity. It violates our national commitment to welcome persons of all religions.

With learned societies, colleges and universities, and educational leaders across the nation, we call on the President and Congress to retract the Muslim immigration ban and to denounce religious intolerance in all its forms.