Liberty University reviewing claims that seminary president lied about his past

By Michelle Boorstein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 2, 2010; 4:13 PM

Liberty University is investigating allegations that the president of the school's theological seminary fabricated aspects of his biography to make his connection to Islam more dramatic.

The Baptist school founded by Jerry Falwell recently announced it would launch a formal inquiry into statements made by Ergun Caner, a successful public speaker and writer who presents himself as a Muslim convert to Southern Baptism who can translate a radical, violent faith to Christians.

Liberty spokesman Johnnie Moore said Wednesday that the Lynchburg, Va., school, the world's largest evangelical university, won't comment until the review is done, probably by June 30.

A cadre of Christian and Muslim bloggers pushed for the review, with Christians saying Caner's adopted faith requires any potential sin be acknowledged and Muslims saying he is a poor, false expert on Islam.

At issue is whether Caner was raised in Turkey and exposed as a youth to radical Islam, or instead in Ohio by a Lutheran mother. Caner told The Washington Post in a 2005 profile that he moved as a teenager to Ohio, but multiple blogs and some media reports have questioned those points as well as the validity of his academic résumé and whether he participated in debates he said he did.

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