The interview that Josh and Sean McDowell did with Abdu Murray, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM), needs to be taken down. That is the view of Carson Weitnauer, who resigned from RZIM in January of this year in protest over the ministry’s handling of the Ravi Zacharias abuse scandal.
“Abdu has been charged with serious abuse against Ruth [Malhotra] that’s been public record for months now,” Weitnauer told investigative journalist Julie Roys on the most recent episode of Roys’ podcast. “It’s extremely detailed. And there’s other stories I can get into. But I think that while there’s an investigation going on into the toxic culture of RZIM, it was premature and inappropriate for Josh and Sean to repeatedly praise Abdu and honor him and endorse him when there’s some pretty credible allegations of Abdu’s wrongdoing.”
Carson Weitnauer is the founder of the ministry, Reasons for God, and was on staff with RZIM from 2013 to 2020, during which time he served as U.S. Director and Innovation and Ministry Partner Specialist. During their discussion, Roys and Weitnauer covered a variety of evidence that RZIM is still displaying the patterns of unhealth and secrecy that led them to cover up Ravi Zacharias’s abuse in the first place. Roys released exclusive audio of a town hall meeting held by RZIM on February 15, four days after Miller & Martin released its investigative report. The last half of her conversation with Weitnauer focused primarily on Abdu Murray’s recent interview.
“I want to treat Sean and Josh and Abdu with respect,” said Weitnauer, “and I don’t mean to be hurtful or mean in anything I say today…But there’s a variety of reasons that the interview was not appropriate and that I’m really concerned about it.”
You can read more about the interview the McDowells did with Murray, as well as watch it, here.
Carson Weitnauer on Abdu Murray’s Complicity
The McDowells’ interview, said Carson Weitnauer, revealed in “a variety of places the loyalty that Sean and Josh both have for Abdu.” Weitnauer also said that Murray minimized his level of responsibility in perpetuating Zacharias’s abuse, as there is credible evidence that Murray perpetrated toxic and bullying behavior that he has not yet acknowledged or apologized for. “Abdu says in the interview,” said Weitnauer, “he just repeated Ravi’s explanations. And what’s challenging about that statement is it really downplays what he did.”
For example, one of Ravi Zacharias’s arguments for his innocence in his email exchanges with Lori Anne Thompson was that he was from India and had valid cultural reasons for his communications with her, reasons that Western people would not understand. For more info on what happened between Zacharias and Thompson, see the following article: The Story Behind the Ravi Zacharias Allegations (Part 1): Lawsuits, NDAs, and Email Threads.
“Julie, that was really hard to believe,” said Weitnauer. “But then Abdu would join in and affirm that what Ravi was saying made complete sense to him. And that made it really hard for us to challenge Ravi because both he and Abdu are claiming that we just lacked the cultural ability to understand these emails.”
Murray did not merely repeat Zacharias’s version of events with Thompson, said Weitnauer. Murray is a trained attorney and had knowledge of the RICO [Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations] lawsuit that Zacharias filed against the Thompsons. Yet Murray still proclaimed Zacharias’s innocence. “That carries a lot of weight, right?” asked Weitnauer. “But now, it’s clear that the RICO lawsuit was an egregious response to the Thompsons…the RICO lawsuit was a red flag that Ravi was guilty. And, you know, a big problem here, because Abdu’s whole apologetic is that he’s a lawyer. He had a podcast at RZIM called The Defense Rests. And as an apologist Abdu likes the RZIM hashtag #noquestionofflimits. But when team members were asking questions about Ravi, we know that Abdu got hostile.”