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August 28, 2002

Carolina in the News


Special Summer Reading Program Coverage Summary

As part of the National Press Club’s “Afternoon Newsmaker” series, Chancellor James 
Moeser
discussed “A Tempest in a Textbook: Academic Freedom and the Qur’an Controversy” 
on Tuesday in Washington, D.C. Among the highlights:

National Highlights 

University says students surprised by backlash over Koran 
The Boston Globe

University of North Carolina freshmen, assigned to read a book on the Koran, were more 
puzzled by a challenge from a religious group, Chancellor James Moeser said yesterday. 
http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/240/nation/University_says_students_surprised_by_backlash_over_Koran+.shtml
(Note: This national Associated Press story was also featured in today's edition of The 
Atlanta Journal-Constitution 
http://www.accessatlanta.com/ajc/epaper/editions/today/news_d3c67615824cc1210069.html 

Cuckoo in Carolina (Opinion-Editorial Column)
The New York Times

he ruckus being raised by conservative Christians over the University of North Carolina's 
decision to ask incoming students to read a book about the Koran — to stimulate a campus 
debate — surely has to be one of the most embarrassing moments for America since Sept. 11.
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/08/28/opinion/28FRIE.html

Christians Can Learn Much From the Quran (Opinion-Editorial Column)
Newsday (N.Y.)

Should college students be required to read the Quran? That is what the University of North 
Carolina
recently asked incoming students to do in preparation for orientation week discussions 
at Chapel Hill. Outraged, the Family Policy Network in Virginia recruited three students to join 
in a lawsuit attempting to stop the assignment.
http://www.newsday.com/news/opinion/ny-vpgoo282840877aug28.story?coll=ny%2Dviewpoints%2Dheadlines

Sanitizing Islam (Editorial)
The Jerusalem Post

In Funtua, Nigeria, last week, a 30-year-old mother named Amina Lawal was sentenced to 
death by stoning by an Islamic court for "adultery," although in her case this means only having 
sex out of wedlock... Meanwhile, the Fourth US Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the 
right of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to require this year's 3,500 freshmen 
to read Approaching the Koran: The Early Revelations, by Haverford College religious studies
Prof. Michael Sells.
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/A/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1029920526127

Religious dialogue might not be easy, but it really is necessary (Commentary)
San Antonio Express-News

The way I see it, we've got two ways to deal long-term with the religious strife that underlies much 
of the murder, mayhem and violence around the world… Unfortunately, none of this is going to be
easy, as 20 freshmen at the University of North Carolina learned last week when they gathered to 
begin reading a book about the Koran, under the instruction of James Moeser, their brave chancellor.
http://news.mysanantonio.com/story.cfm?xla=saen&xlb=1055&xlc=793080
(Note: This syndicated column previously appeared in the Seattle Post Intelligencer.)

An unlikely, provocative target
Baltimore Sun

Moises Kaufman is a born outsider. The son of Eastern European Holocaust survivors, he was 
raised as an Orthodox Jew in deeply Catholic Venezuela and had nowhere to turn in that macho 
society when he began to realize, at age 9, that he was homosexual. Eventually he turned to the 
theater, and today the 38-year-old critically acclaimed director and playwright is credited with 
two of the most widely produced plays in American regional theater... Protests of public 
school reading assignments have become almost a ritual; recently the same conservative group 
that is protesting UM's plans unsuccessfully sued the University of North Carolina over its 
assignment of a book about the Quran, claiming unconstitutional religious indoctrination.
http://www.sunspot.net/bal-te.laramie28aug28.story

State Highlights

Book won't be last provocative pick, Moeser says 
News and Observer

UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor James Moeser said Tuesday that the university would continue 
to pick "provocative" books for its freshman summer reading program and that he feared no 
long-term fallout from state lawmakers angered by this year's choice of a work about the holy 
teachings of Islam.
http://newsobserver.com/news/triangle/story/1679888p-1700379c.html

Chancellor defends Quran decision 
Durham Herald-Sun 

UNC Chancellor James Moeser told the National Press Club on Tuesday that the university 
picked a book on the Quran for campus discussion groups to encourage students to form their 
own conclusions about the religion. 
http://www.herald-sun.com/orange/10-261432.html

Turning a page on the Quran controversy (Opinion-Editorial Column)
News and Observer

With UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor James Moeser choosing to reaffirm his position before 
the National Press Club on Tuesday in Washington, bad blood continuing to flow against him 
in Raleigh and the prospect of incoming attacks on the university from religious groups, it 
appears that the civil warfare over "Approaching the Qur'an" has left wounds that will not soon 
heal in the fabric of North Carolina. 
http://newsobserver.com/editorials/story/1679663p-1700341c.html
(Note: Mark Walton is chairman of the Center for Leadership Communication in Chapel Hill. 
He was CNN's first chief White House correspondent.)

Issues and Trends Affecting Carolina

Bowles shifts into overdrive 
News and Observer 

A student asked Democrat Erskine Bowles, as he campaigned at UNC-Chapel Hill, if a 
newspaper photo showed him praying before his recreation basketball league team played a team 
coached by Dean Smith. "If you ever coached against Dean Smith, you'd be praying, too," 
Bowles joked to more than 300 people packed into a UNC-CH lecture hall.
http://newsobserver.com/news/triangle/story/1679882p-1700381c.html

Kinnaird for state Senate (Editorial)
Chapel Hill News

Too often in politics, voters are faced with a choice between the lesser of two evils. In Orange 
County this year, unfortunately, we must choose between the greater of two goods... Lee’s position
also gives him a perch to look out for the interests of UNC. Several years ago, he helped negotiate 
crucial budget flexibility for UNC, and this year he apparently has succeeded in blocking efforts to 
siphon some $120 million in federal “overhead receipts” from the university into the state general fund. 
http://www.triangle.com/triangle.com/communities/chapelhill/opinion/story/1677760p-1698506c.html

University asks Carrboro to annex more land
Chapel Hill News

The university has added 303 acres of its Horace Williams land to its request for annexation into 
the Town of Carrboro. But officials at Carolina say the move should not be read as an indication 
that plans are moving forward on developing the property.
http://www.triangle.com/triangle.com/communities/chapelhill/news/story/1677776p-1698501c.html

Note: If you have any questions about Carolina in the News, 
please call Cathleen Keyser or Mike McFarland at News Services, 
(919) 962-2091 or news@unc.edu or mike_mcfarland@unc.edu