Vanderbilt University is distancing itself from a Muslim chaplain after he told a gathering of students homosexuality is punishable by death under Islam.

“I don’t have a choice as a Muslim to accept or reject teachings. I go with
what Islam teaches,” said Awadh A. Binhazim, who is listed on the Vanderbilt website as “Adjunct Professor of Islam at the Divinity School” and an adviser to the Muslim Student Association. His comments came earlier this week at a diversity event for students.

He was asked directly, “Under Islamic law
is it punishable by death if you are a homosexual?”

Binhazim said, “Yes. It is
punishable by death.”

The school immediately distanced itself from the professor, issuing a statement to WND that denied he was an “employee” and reaffirming Vanderbilt’s “non-discriminatory policies.”

“Vanderbilt University is dedicated to a policy of non-discrimination on the basis of race or sexuality,” said the statement dispatched by e-mail from the school to WND today.

“Awadh A. Binhazim is not and has never been a Vanderbilt employee, and is not paid by the university. He is the university’s Muslim chaplain under a working agreement that is similar to those signed with chaplains of other faiths at Vanderbilt. This working agreement requires Binhazim to observe Vanderbilt rules, including its non-discriminatory policies. Vanderbilt does not limit the free speech of its students, faculty, staff or its chaplains in any way.”

Religious Life page in the Vanderbilt Office of the Dean of Students profiling Binhazim

His profile on the Vanderbilt Dean of Students website explained Binhazim was born and raised in Kenya and studied Islam in a madrassah as a child and later at King Faisal University in Saudi Arabia. He earned a master’s degree at the University of Nairobi and his Ph.D. in pathology at the University of Georgia in Athens.

“He is the founder and program director of a series of courses (offered for free to those interested) on Islam held in Nashville, Tennessee. Within these courses as well as at the Divinity School of Vanderbilt University, Professor Binhazim teaches about Islamic beliefs, spirituality, and moral code of Islam, monotheism, Muslim cultures, and civilizations,” the description continues.

His free course at Vanderbilt called “Introduction to Islam” is to begin Feb. 5:

University advertisement for “Introduction to Islam” course

The questions, at a student event held by the Muslim Students Association and the Army ROTC, were asked by Devin Saucier, president of Vanderbilt’s
chapter of Youth for Western Civilization.

He told WND it was a “30-minute, roses and butterflies overview of Islam.”

Saucier said in a blog he wondered about the “unholy alliance between Muslims and leftists – how could the latter, who fervently support multiculturalism, gay marriage, and gender equality, ally with the former, who support religious and cultural supremacy, traditional marriage, and the oppression of women?”

“When I saw that the Muslim Students Association (MSA) was hosting an event titled ‘Common Ground: Being Muslim in the Military’ which was sponsored by the Project Dialogue committee, I knew it would be ripe grounds for me to expose the gullibility of leftists who grovel at the altars of tolerance and acceptance,” he wrote.

Saucier documented the question-and-answer exchange on video.

The reaction has just started to develop, but Saucier wrote that immediately after the meeting a “rather flustered girl” demanded to know why he asked the question.

“Why would you ask some irrelevant question like that?” she said.

“I think my question was quite relevant, since there are a number of homosexuals in the military,” Saucier replied.

“So?” she responded.

“Well let me put it this way. If I was a homosexual in the military, I would want to know if the religion of the person fighting next to me demands my death. That would be significant to me,” he said.

“Well I learned in Sunday school that Christianity condemns homosexuality too!” the girl said.

“Yes, Christianity does consider homosexuality sinful, and Christians pray for homosexuals because of it, while Islamic law says they should be punished with death. See the difference?” he responded.

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