Center President Calls For Georgetown University To Repudiate Professor Who Defends Slavery, Misogyny

gtwonCenter for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney today responded to outrageous statements made recently by the executive director of Georgetown University’s Saudi-funded Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Jonathan AC Brown. The Georgetown professor of Islamic Studies condoned slavery and rape in the course of remarks made recently at the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated International Institute on Islamic Thought (IIIT).

In a letter today to Georgetown’s president, John DeGioia, Gaffney – an alumnus of the university – observed that Brown was promoting conduct that is directly at odds with his alma mater’s stated policies, including such assertions as: “It is not immoral for one human to own another human” and “Consent isn’t necessary for lawful sex.”

Mr. Gaffney called for Georgetown University to disassociate itself from Brown’s abhorrent, supremacist and misogynistic remarks by publicly renouncing them and terminating his employment.

The full text of the letter is below.

Frank. Gaffney.Jr., President & CEO
22 February 2017

President John J. DeGioia
Georgetown University
3 h and O Streets, NW
Washington, D.C. 20057

Dear Dr. DeGioia:

In my freshman year at Georgetown in 1971-1972, I spent a semester living in an oversized closet on the fifth-floor of Old North. It was what previously passed for housing for slaves of university students.

I was reminded of that unsavory history of my alma mater when, in September 2016, you personally made a public apology for Georgetown's sale in 1838 of 272 slaves to stave off financial ruin. You went to considerable lengths to demonstrate contrition for this action, including multiple steps aimed at promoting reconciliation with the descendants of those sold as chattel, among them “establishing a living and evolving memorial to the slaves from whom Georgetown benefitted.”

Imagine my surprise, then, to learn that an employee of your university used a recent “l et.:ch at the International Institute on Islamic Thought to condone and rationalize the practice of slavery – not in some bygone era, but today. Among Professor Jonathan AC Brown's astounding quotes was this pronouncement: “It is not immoral for one human to own another human.”

As you know, in addition to teaching Islamic Studies, Prof. Brown serves as the executive director of Georgetown's Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. In his self­ recorded and -distributed remarks, he also defended the practice of rape. For example, he declared, again among other outrageous statements, that “Consent isn't necessary for lawful sex.”

It is my understanding that the university has been working hard to instill in its students exactly the opposite understanding. Indeed, the university's Policy Statement on Sexual Misconduct states that: “Sexual misconduct is unwanted conduct of a sexual nature that constitutes sexual harassment, sexual assault, relationship violence (including domestic violence and dating violence), or stalking, and includes related acts of retaliation.” (Emphasis added).

As an alumnus of your institution and as a member of its community who has devoted his life to opposing the sorts of practices espoused and legitimated by Jonathan Brown, I respectfully suggest that anything short of your public renunciation of his supremacist and misogynistic remarks and subsequent termination of his employment would amount to an endorsement of Prof. Brown's immoral views by Georgetown University – not a defense of “academic freedom.”

Frank Gaffeny
1901 Pennsylvania Ave., NW. Suite 201, Washington, D.C. 20006 • (202) 835-9077
(202) 835-9066 FAX •

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