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Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) is objecting to a North Carolina community college's acquisition of 25 books on Islam and Muslim culture, the progressive website Think Progress reported on Tuesday.
Craven Community College in New Bern, N.C. is one of more than 800 libraries nationwide to take advantage of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of an effort to provide "trustworthy and accessible resources about Muslim beliefs and practices and the cultural heritage associated with Islamic civilizations." But Jones contends that the grant amounts to a waste of taxpayer dollars, saying in a statement that it makes "zero sense for the U.S. government to borrow money from China in order to promote the culture of Islamic civilizations."
In an interview with a North Carolina-based NBC affiliate WITN, the 10-term congressman raised concerns that the addition of the books on Islam may be unfair to Christians.
“I want to treat it fairly and I think too many times the Christian faith is not treated fairly," Jones said. "If they want to have book about the Muslim’s faith, let’s have equal number of books about Judeo-Christian [sic].”
But Jones said he has no qualms with Islam, nothing that he is friends with Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), a Muslim. Jones also said that he'd prefer to "see the $150 million spent to remodel schools in Craven County or build schools in the Craven community." But as a blogger at Library Journal pointed out, $150 million actually represents the entire budget of the NEH, not the size of the grant.