Falwell makes the same "an ulema" mistake we've seen elsewhere:
On Feb. 4, to the surprise of thousands of Liberty University students, I arose in a convocation service to announce that Dr. Ergun Caner, a converted Sunni Muslim and son of an ulema (Muslim scholar), was to be the first former Muslim to become the dean of an evangelical seminary in the United States. In fact, he will become dean of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary on the campus of Liberty University, the school I founded in 1971.Falwell also seemed to think that Caner had already had numerous debates, although no one can seem to locate them now:
Dr. Caner has also become a voice for evangelical Christianity in the national media, debating Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and Bahai leaders on more than 50 college and university campuses.Falwell seems familiar with 1982 alleged conversion date and the claim that Caner's "family" disowned him, despite the evidence that his mother and grandmother raised him:
A Turkish immigrant who converted to Christianity in 1982, Dr. Caner immigrated with his family to America to build mosques in the Midwest. It was while he was in high school in Ohio that a young friend invited him to church and led him to Christ. He was subsequently disowned by his family.Falwell seems to think that Caner received his doctorate from the University of South Africa in 2000, although the evidence suggests a later date (see also here):
"I still see myself as that little church orphan boy, sitting in the pew in a country church outside of Columbus, Ohio," Dr. Caner stated. "I cannot imagine how such a thing could come about."
In 2000, Dr. Caner received his Doctor of Theology from the University of South Africa in residence in Johannesburg.I don't have any reason to doubt Falwell's sincerity, but it is troubling to think that his selection of Dr. Caner seems to have been premised on a number of things that are open to doubt: debates we cannot find and other claims that don't seem to match the facts.
UPDATE: See also this video of Falwell discussing Caner at Liberty University Superconference 2005, note the "they'd come from Turkey" idea that Falwell had.