Sharia, Arkansas Style

On April 13-15, the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Arkansas held a symposium on so-called “honor violence,” as exemplified by honor killings, forced marriage, and other such delightful acts. I’ll get back to this – but first of all, am I the only person who still finds it jarring to see words like “King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies” in the same sentence as words like “University of Arkansas”?

The Center, as its website informs us, “was founded with a $20 million endowment from the Saudi government in the mid-1990s. An initial endowment of $2 million, dedicated toward language, literary translation and publication was followed by a much larger $18 million gift designed to spark the foundation of a comprehensive Middle East Studies program at the undergraduate and graduate levels.”

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