Professor axed for showing ancient paintings of Muhammad: Report

Mohammed sketch 14th century.jpeg
This painting by the medieval Islamic scholar Rashid al-Din depicts Mohammed receiving his first revelation from the angel Gabriel. The painting is now in the collection of the Edinburgh University Library in Scotland. The depiction is reportedly one of the two images shown by the Hamline University professor. Credit: Rashid al-Din 1307 AD. Edinburgh University Library, Scotland.

Professor axed for showing ancient paintings of Muhammad: Report

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A Minnesota-based liberal arts university reportedly fired a professor who showed students two paintings of the Prophet Muhammad after a group of Muslim students complained.

The incident occurred at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota, where members of the Muslim Student Association expressed shock and outrage after an unnamed professor showed two paintings of the Prophet Muhammad, one from the 1300s, and another from the 1500s, during a class on Oct. 6.

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The students were outraged because it is expressly forbidden in Islam to depict the Prophet Muhammad in art. According to the Hamline Oracle, Aram Wedatalla, the president of the Muslim Student Association, informed university administrators of the incident the day after it occurred.

“I’m like, ‘this can’t be real,’” Wedatalla told the campus newspaper. “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.”

University Dean of Students Patti Kersten reportedly apologized to Wedatalla, as did the unnamed professor, who said it was “never my intention to upset or disrespect students in my classroom.”

On Nov. 7, the university’s associate vice president of inclusive excellence, David Everett, sent out an email to the student body that decried the incident as “undeniably inconsiderate, disrespectful and Islamophobic.” Everett also shared that the unknown professor had been fired.

“In lieu of this incident, it was decided it was best that this faculty member was no longer part of the Hamline community,” Everett wrote. The Oracle reported that his email also said that the university had to determine whether or not the professor’s conduct was a “hate crime” before ultimately determining it was an “act of intolerance.”

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In an email to the student newspaper, the professor reportedly said that “My perspective and actions have been lamentably mischaracterized, my opportunities for due process have been thwarted” before adding that Everett’s email accusation of intolerance was “misapplied.”

The Washington Examiner has reached out to Hamline University for comment.

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