An Open Letter to WFU in Support of Pro Humanitate & Imam Griggs
  • Petitioned Dr. Nathan O. Hatch

This petition was delivered to:

President, Wake Forest University
Dr. Nathan O. Hatch

An Open Letter to WFU in Support of Pro Humanitate & Imam Griggs

    1. Petition by

      Zahir Rahman

Dear President Hatch and the Wake Forest Administration,

Wake Forest University alumni are writing this open letter in response to the ongoing attacks from a small group of alumni over the past couple of years, exemplified in the hateful, bigoted, and Islamophobic character assassination published in a Winston-Salem Journal ad on Monday, May 21st. The ad accuses Imam Griggs of being a Shariah law supremacist and insinuates that he encourages Muslims to form terrorist cells. These accusations are so unfounded that we will not legitize them with a response. Rather, we will remind you of how vital Imam Griggs is to our community and the harm such attacks do to WFU diversity and our pro humanitate principles.

In the fall of 2010, Imam Griggs was hired as Associate Chaplain for Muslim life. Soon thereafter the University hired an Associate Chaplain for Jewish life. We, as alumni, were proud of our university for continuing to create and provide safe spaces for the diverse members of the Wake Forest community.

In 1986, the Baptist leadership of WFU separated from the State Baptist Convention of North Carolina because they were inspired by their faith to examine, study, and understand ideas, lifestyles, and principles different from our own. They understood that in order to achieve this, students must be able to build mutually enriching relationships across race, religion, and creed. Our aim is to build a campus that fosters such diversity.

Imam Griggs is a tremendous asset to WFU and the broader Winston-Salem community. Locally, he is the founder and Senior Imam of the Community Mosque (est. 1984) and is a founding member and primary leader of the highly awarded CHANGE organization, building bridges across the community. As father-in-law to Darryl Hunt, he was a powerful and positive voice in one of the most racially charged death row cases of the past 30 years. Imam Griggs is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Council for a Parliament of World Religions, the largest multi-faith organization in the world. He regularly speaks nationally and internationally about Islam, social justice, and inter-faith cooperation, and has received numerous awards for his work on behalf of Muslims, interfaith cooperation, and the disinherited everywhere. Imam Grigg’s faith inspires him to participate in developing communities that are pluralistic, where spaces are created for persons of all backgrounds to take initiative and build the beloved community.

Imam Grigg’s leadership and example serve as powerful reminders that building community requires creating spaces in which all can have dignity and thrive. WFU’s decision to hire Imam Griggs was a recognition of his achievements and dedication to building such a space. In turn, Imam Griggs has continued to honor and strengthen the pro humanitate principles of our Baptist leaders and help make cooperation amongst all segments of WFU’s community a social norm.

The WFU alumni recognize that a character assassination of Imam Grigg’s undermines the core values of Wake Forest and our liberal arts education. We wish that the University continue in its tradition of pro humanitate, continue to promote its efforts in diversity and inclusion, safeguard all staff and students from unfounded external accusations or threats, and provide the safety, security, and peace of mind that Imam Griggs needs to continue to flourish as Associate Chaplain of Muslim Life at WFU.

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    • Don Woodsmall CHARLOTTESVILLE, VI
      • almost 2 years ago

      I am sure Imam Grigg's has a sterling personality, but this is not about personality. It is about ideology. Of course he doesn't wear his underlying ideology on his sleeve, just as the Communists of the 50's, who were trying to undermine the U.S., did not. However, with research we discover disturbing facts, not opinion. Do you not understand what Imam Grigg's Islamic Movement motto of "Jihad, all out struggle, is our way" means?" Do you not understand who the Muslim Brotherhood operatives are that he extols? Do you not understand the Shariah law that Grigg' s wants implemented. Of course he doesn't mention these on the Wake campus, as he is there to recruit to his ideology. If he wore this ideology on his sleeve, he would be gone. Please use some critical thinking skills, that Wake is supposed to impart, and try to digest the facts (not opinion, not hatred, but facts)

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    • Katherine Dydak CARRBORO, NC
      • about 2 years ago

      As a Wake Forest graduate in 2010, I think it is very important to promote multi-cultural awareness on campus and discuss harmful stereotypes. Remaining silent will not resolve this issue. The University needs to actively educate students and alumni about the dangers of Islamaphobia and the importance of respecting other faiths.

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    • Jerry McLeese WINSTON-SALEM, NC
      • about 2 years ago

      Imam Griggs is a man of peace who serves as a model of full humanity and integrity. I'm happy to consider him a friend.

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    • Jessica Fegan WASHINGTON, DC
      • about 2 years ago

      As a WFU Alumna, I believe that our motto Pro Humanitate, or For Humanity, applies to all people, including those from a different faith or religion.

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    • Helen Losse WINSTON-SALEM, NC
      • about 2 years ago

      Griggs is an inclusive person, a fine man.

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