Minnesota professor reportedly fired for showing historic painting of the Prophet Muhammad

When it comes to denigrating Christianity in America there are few guardrails, but there continues to be a whole other standard when it comes to the Muslim faith.

The latest example of this can be seen in Minnesota, where a liberal arts professor at Hamline University in St. Paul was reportedly fired after Muslim students complained that he showed historic depictions of Muhammad on a Powerpoint display while discussing Islamic art.

The unidentified professor “shared two depictions of the Prophet Muhammad in class, the Hamline Oracle reported — one being a 14th century depiction of the Prophet and the other was a 16th century depiction of the Prophet with veil and halo.

Depictions of the prophet are considered to be blasphemous for many Muslims — twelve people were killed in Paris in January 2015 by two Muslim extremists after the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad .

The Dean of Students sent an email to undergraduate students on Nov. 7 condemning the October incident as “undeniably inconsiderate, disrespectful and Islamophobic,” the school newspaper reported. It was signed by Dr. David Everett, Associate Vice President of Inclusive Excellence at Hamline.

The victim mentality was strong with Aram Wedatalla, a Hamline senior and the president of the Muslim Student Association (MSA), who was reportedly in the class at the time the photos were shared.

“I’m like, ‘this can’t be real,’” Wedatalla told the Oracle. “As a Muslim, and a Black person, I don’t feel like I belong, and I don’t think I’ll ever belong in a community where they don’t value me as a member, and they don’t show the same respect that I show them.”

The now-fired professor apologized to Wedatalla in an email dated Oct. 8.

“I would like to apologize that the image I showed in class on [Oct. 6] made you uncomfortable and caused you emotional agitation. It is never my intention to upset or disrespect students in my classroom,” the professor wrote.

The instructor explained in the email steps taken to ensure those who might take offense had time to react, telling Wedatalla that he “[let] the class know ahead of time” what would be shown and to give students time to turn off their video, the Oracle noted.

“I did not try to surprise students with this image, and I did my best to provide students with an ‘out,’” the professor wrote. “I also described every subsequent slide I showed with language to indicate when I was no longer showing an image of the Prophet Muhammad. I am sorry that despite my attempt to prevent a negative reaction, you still viewed and were troubled by this image.”

In denouncing the professor’s firing, George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Hurley tweeted, “Hamline President Fayneese Mill and Vice President David Everett show utter disregard for countervailing values, particularly due process, free speech and academic freedom…”


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