A North Carolina congressman is denouncing the use of federal dollars to “promote the rich cultural heritage of Islamic civilizations.”
Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) told Fox News that he was appalled by the hundreds of thousands of dollars used to fund the program through a National Endowment for the Humanities grant – calling it “wasting taxpayer money.”
Jones was referring to the “Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys” program. The NEH program put dozens of books promoting the Islamic culture in more than 800 libraries in all 50 states. The program is funded by a $1.8 million grant.
NEH Communications director Judy Havemann told Fox News the “Muslim Journeys Bookshelf” is funded by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. It was unclear how much taxpayer money was used to facilitate the project.
She said the NEH is allowed, through legislation, to explore “comparative religion.”
Libraries that participate in the government program will receive 25 books about the Islam, along with films and access to the Oxford Islamic Studies Online. The libraries will also be required to host community discussions about the Muslim faith and culture.
Craven Community College, in Jones’ district, was one of the institutions to receive the NEH grant.
“NEH has a long tradition of supporting large scale projects devoted to the historical, cultural, political, literary, and artistic traditions associated with the world’s faiths,” Havemann told Fox News.
But Jones said it’s financially irresponsible for the federal government to spend so much money – given the economic troubles facing the nation.
“It makes zero sense for the U.S. government to borrow money from China in order to promote the culture of Islamic civilizations,” said Jones – who has a history of opposing funding to the NEH and the National Endowment for the Arts.