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Religious bias claim ‘significant threat to academic freedom’

Image: Osajus [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

Government threats to withdraw federal funding from a Middle Eastern studies centre over a perceived lack of religious balance are a “chillingly inappropriate political intrusion”, academics have said.

The Department of Education said that a language teaching collaboration between the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University may now be ineligible for a federal funding programme that has partly supported it since 2005.

In a letter sent to the UNC on 29 August and published on 17 September, the department said the centre “appears to lack balance”, as it lacks teaching programmes focused on the discrimination of religious minorities in the region and the positive aspects of Judaism and Christianity.

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