Vanderbilt Clarifies Ties to Muslim Chaplain

February 2, 2010

Vanderbilt University on Monday issued a statement that suggested it has only limited ties to its Muslim chaplain, Awadh A. Binhazim, whose comments at a campus forum -- videotaped and since posted on many Web sites -- have led to considerable criticism. Asked about Muslim teachings that have been used to justify executing gay people, Binhazim says that he accepts such teachings. Vanderbilt's statement said that there "has been some confusion as to Binhazim's role at Vanderbilt. He is the Muslim chaplain at Vanderbilt, a volunteer position. He is not a professor of Islam and is not associated with Vanderbilt University Divinity School. He has adjunct associate professor status at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in pathology. This position, which carries no teaching or research responsibilities, is also unpaid." The university didn't comment directly on his comments, but said that no view in the forum "should be construed as being endorsed by Vanderbilt. The university is dedicated to the free exchange of ideas. It is the belief of the university community that free discussion of ideas can lead to resolution and reconciliation."

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