Religious Texts Taken Down After Complaints

Southern Cal provost removes historical scriptures from student group's website.

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Muslim students are crying foul after the University of Southern California's provost took down historical documents that call for Muslims to kill Jewish people from a student group's site, the Daily Trojan reports. The documents come from a collection of scriptures known as hadiths, the words of Muhammad not included in the Quran. These hadiths, which include thousands of noninflammatory principles, were posted in their entirety on the school's server as part of the defunct Muslim Student Association's website.

The provost said that "the passage cited is truly despicable.... We did some investigations and have ordered the passage to be removed." But the Muslim Student Union, the dominant Muslim student group at USC, accused the university of censorship, calling the take-down "unprecedented and unconscionable."

"We are outraged at the censorship of a complete religious and classic text without consulting us or any religious authority first," the group said in the statement. "The 'compendium' is now incomplete. There are verses in many religious texts (be it the Torah or the New Testament) that when taken out of context can be taken as offensive."

Supporters of the move defend the provost's actions. "It may be part of the religious canon, but that doesn't make them less hateful," said David Horowitz, who has lobbied a number of schools to remove the "hadiths of hate," as he calls them, from their websites. Horowitz says this is the first he's heard of a university taking down documents after community members complained.