LETTER: An invitation to learn

The department of foreign languages, literatures and cultures strongly supports Central Michigan University’s mission statement encouraging the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom as well as preparing students for responsible citizenship in a global society.

For this reason, while we realize that Associate Professor of Journalism Timothy Boudreau had the right to bring controversial Rev. Terry Jones to campus to illustrate the importance of freedom of speech in our country, we are strongly opposed to hate messages that undermine the core values that we are trying so hard to create through the study of other languages and cultural perspectives.

On the third floor of Pearce Hall — the same floor where Terry Jones was interviewed — we have been offering Arabic classes for the last three years.

Additionally, our department, along with the departments of history, religion and political science are working on a minor in Middle East and Islamic Studies. Our classes and programs have as their goal not only the acquisition of languages, but also enlightenment about other cultures. They also intend to foster CMU’s core values of “integrity, respect, compassion, inclusiveness (and) social responsibility.”

The Central Michigan Life article entitled “Local Muslims Say Quran-Burner Terry Jones Is Wrong about Islam” (Nov. 14) raises an important question: How can you condemn Islam without having studied it?

While freedom of speech is one of the founding principles of our country, speech based on lack of facts or prejudice does nothing to foster global understanding or global peace. For these and other reasons, the Department of Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures would like to extend an open invitation to all members of the CMU and Mount Pleasant communities to learn about our global society. Take classes in our department or others, talk to your professors and peers about these issues, and join us in our campus-wide discussions that aim to understand and value cultures and traditions within and outside the U.S.

Department of Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures