I received this email this morning from Paul Kamolnick, a professor at East Tennessee State University who was instrumental in bringing me to the campus. He kindly gave me permission to publish it.
I want to sincerely thank you for your presentation. I also very much enjoyed the time we were able to spend before the talk talking about these questions more generally. My thoughts on the evening’s events.
1. I felt that your presentation was excellent, eloquent, and your argument, very well substantiated. I was very impressed with your public speaking skills and found you a delight to be with.
2. The Muslim leadership of the mosque obviously took this opportunity to organize a forceful Da’wa event for themselves; treat you with hateful disrespect; and as you have pointed out in your writings and in our earlier conversation, did not challenge the facts upon which your case rests. I consider it a personal insult that Taneem Aziz misrepresented the Muslim presence to me. His last communication to me suggested that some members of the Muslim community might attend, but it is obvious that this was a leadership-organized affair.
3. I was asked by several persons how the event went, and my response has been: It was extremely unpleasant, and not at all what I had hoped for. When I went home I began pondering the evening’s events and thinking seriously about what you had said about the limits of engaging the ‘modernist’ apologetic, and why it is not enough.
4. I apologize to you Robert, for the rudeness and hate you experienced. I am deeply impressed with you as a human being, and student, and speaker.
5. The lessons learned by me were enormously productive, and I think at least a few persons in attendance got to witness something that will lead them to research for themselves, the ‘peaceableness’ of this faith, when confronted with the prospect of its own imperialist past.
I wish you the best Robert, and hope that sometime our paths cross again.