In its April 27 issue, the Jewish Ledger published a commentary that contains numerous false statements and inaccurate assumptions that I would like to correct (“Hartford Seminary’s Shameful Ties to Syria’s Dictator” by Stephen Schwartz). Far from extending accommodation to the regime of Bashar Assad in Syria, Hartford Seminary has worked to promote interfaith dialogue and understanding in that country. Our partnership with Al-Fatih Institute has led to students coming to Hartford to study. This allows the Syrian students to experience American pluralism and allows our Seminary students to learn from their international counterparts. Dialogue promotes peace.
Dr. Ibrahim Abu-Rabi’, a well-known and prolific scholar who tragically passed away in 2011, was an expert on contemporary Islamic thought. He believed that building bridges among faith communities is necessary in a highly globalized world.
Dr. Ingrid Mattson is a scholar of Islam, well versed in Islamic law, who has spoken out tirelessly against terrorism. She is also an advocate of bridge-building among the Abrahamic faiths. Check out her online writings at the Seminary website and this will become obvious.
The Seminary’s Islamic Chaplaincy Program is endorsed by the U.S. military. It has been vetted and examined, and found to be of service to, not only the military, but also hospitals, universities and prisons.
I would welcome any of the readers of the Ledger, and its editorial leadership, to spend time at Hartford Seminary. I would be pleased to meet with them to discuss our commitment to preparing peacemakers and promoting vital faith communities.