On Monday morning I emailed a set of questions to Kristi Rudelius-Palmer, the co-director of the Human Rights Center at the University of Minnesota Law School. I asked Ms. Rudelius-Palmer questions about last week’s big news at the HRC: the establishment of an Islamic Law and Human Rights Program. What is a program devoted to the study of Shariah doing within a center devoted to human rights? I think it’s a good question, and it’s not one the local press has thought to ask. I wrote Ms. Rudelius-Palmer:
I’m a 1979 graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School and a contributor to the Web site Power Line. I read last week about the new Islamic Law and Human Rights Program for the study of Shariah that will be operating under the auspices of the Human Rights Center and wondered if you would be willing to answer these questions:
1. From where is the funding to support the Program (and its new positions) derived? Is any of it derived from public funds? I see the Center’s list of supporters in its annual reports. Is that a comprehensive list of all sources of funds?
2. How does the study of Shariah relate to the mission of the Human Rights Center?
3. I have read the materials posted on the Human Rights Center site about the work of the new Program. Can you give me an example of how it will function as a think tank for issues related to Islamic law, human rights, etc.?
4. What local groups do you anticipate the Program will “partner” with?
5. I see you are quoted to the effect that you hope the Program can help open Minnesota culture and traditions to immigrant communities. Would you please explain how Minnesota culture and tradition are closed to immigrant communities?
I also asked a few questions that were geared to the director of the Islamic Law and Humran Rights Program Abdulwahid Qalinle, a graduate of what he describes in his short bio as “the prestigious” International Islamic University in Islamabad. The university appears to maintain separate campuses and faculty for men and women. I guess it’s a separate but equal kind of a deal.
I concluded with the request that Ms. Rudelius-Palmer promptly respond to the questions that were within her personal knowledge (questions 1-5) even if we have to wait on answers to the other questions and with a request that she direct me to the right person to field the questions if she was not the person.
So far, waiting for Kristi-Rudelius Palmer has been like waiting for Godot. But the Human Rights Center is nestled in a public institution that is subject to a variety of disclosure requirements. We’ll get an answer to the basic questions here. The only question is how long it will take and how tough they will make it.