Wake Forest University leaders are standing by the North Carolina institution's imam amid an alumnus-led campaign calling for a donor boycott over claims the clergyman has extremist ties, reports The Washington Post.
Don Woodsmall, who earned undergraduate and law degrees at Wake Forest, has written to tens of thousands of fellow alumni in recent years claiming Imam Khalid Griggs is a radical jihadist who supports imposing Shariah law. Many recipients have contacted the university with concerns over the imam, who was appointed in 2010 as an associate chaplain serving Wake Forest's Islamic community.
Mr. Griggs said critics have distorted his views and, in a letter released Tuesday by a leader of the school's alumni association, he decried extremist violence as well as "a tendency to blame all Muslims for the extremist actions of a few." Wake Forest President Nathan Hatch issued a statement of "full support" for the imam Wednesday, saying the school has "found the allegations of [Mr. Woodsmall] unmerited and his methods inappropriate."