Christian School Teaches How to Lead a MosqueWritten by Moriel Administrator
Hartford Seminary, Islamic Institute launch graduate certificate
Posted: February 22, 2010
11:19 pm Eastern
Muslims who want to become an imam in the U.S. can now train at an institution founded in the 18th century by members of the Congregationalist denomination to prepare pastors and other Christian ministers for service.
Hartford Seminary is launching a new "Graduate Certificate in Imam Education" program this spring, with help from the seminary's Duncan Black MacDonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, the Fairfax Institute and the Fairfax Institute's parent, the International Institute for Islamic Thought, or the IITT
The Hudson Institute's Hillel Fradkin says he's concerned about the move, because the IIIT is a front group of the Egypt-based Muslim Brotherhood, which spawned most of the leading terrorist groups, including al-Qaida and Hamas.
"If the Hartford Seminary program is being done through the IIIT, that is rather worrisome," said Fradkin, senior fellow of the D.C.-based think tank's Center for Islam, Democracy and the Future of the Muslim World.
Christopher Holton of the Center for Strategic Studies in Washington agreed the IIIT represents a radical version of Islam.
"IIIT is a Wahhabi organization. The Wahhabi sect of Sunni Islam is among the most intolerant, hateful and aggressive religious cults in the entire world. The Hartford Seminary has been snowed due to their apparent ignorance, and this is a disservice to America, as well as peaceful and tolerant people of all faiths," he said.
He called the move "an unfortunate continuation of a disturbing pattern of misguided American Christian leaders choosing to do interfaith outreach with jihadist Muslim Brotherhood organizations."
He said it isn't the first time a Christian leader has taken such a step.
"First we saw the Rev. Rick Warren speaking at ISNA's (Islamic Society of North America) convention last summer, and now we have this episode. Choosing the IIIT for interfaith outreach is a betrayal of Christian principles." Holton said.
Hartford Seminary was founded in 1833 when a group of Congregational ministers opened a school that later assimilated several other institutions and became a founding member of the American Association of Theological Schools.
It features the Hartford School of Missions, which train missionaries.
The seminary opened its doors to the first Muslim on its core faculty in the 1990s, shortly after a decision had been made to pursue "Christian-Muslim relations."
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