Steven Greydanus has been following the controversy—and doing a very good job of debunking it—over at the National Catholic Register:
Everybody take a deep breath. Nothing is actually happening here.
The source of the confusion appears to be an undated article posted on BeliefNet — a story that dates back to 2011. (Undated news stories are the worst. Actually, as I recently noted, even dated news stories are often revived years later on social media by people who don’t bother to check dates, but you don’t generally get news outlets like Breitbart making that mistake.)
It’s important to note what the 2011 BeliefNet story says — and what it doesn’t say.
As even the Breitbart story admits, there seems to be no evidence that any Muslim students at Catholic University have complained about anything at all. (When I pointed this out in the combox at Breitbart, I was immediately called a “blithering moron,” since Muslims always object to the cross. Don’t confuse some people with facts!)
I thought the story sounded vaguely familiar and did a little search through my vaults. Sure enough, I posted on this kerfuffle four years ago. You can see for yourself here and here. There are lots of links there to other sources and reactions. It quickly died down and went away for one simple reason: it wasn’t a story.
It wasn’t one then. It’s not one now.
Read the details. It’s a fabricated controversy cooked up by someone in 2011 who was not at CUA and was not even Muslim. The school debunked it then and at the time even cited Muslim students praising their experience at CUA.
As Steve says:
Alarmism riles people up, and that can be socially useful, but it also obscures the fact that there’s good news in the world as well as bad.
In this case, misinformed alarmism over this story obscures the more relevant fact that, as Rod Dreher pointed out at the time, Muslims are attending a Catholic university in our nation’s capital — and they’re happy there.
They don’t feel oppressed by the university’s Catholic identity, and they aren’t out to impose Sharia on anyone.
Of course, that’s a portrait of Muslims in America that doesn’t serve the culture-war narrative. The other story is more useful, so that’s the one that gets exhumed going on four years later.
I agree with the good Mr. Greydanus: Let’s all take deep breaths and get a grip.
There’s nothing to see here. Move along.