The administration of Hamline University in Minnesota fired a professor after she showed what some considered offensive paintings of the prophet Muhammad, the Independent reports.
Erika López Prater told the NY Times she warned her class prior to showing it that anyone would be welcome to leave if they might be offended. She also issued a warning in the syllabus of the class.
Many Muslims consider depictions of the prophet as being against Muslim.
“I am showing you this image for a reason,” the professor said in a video filmed during the class, according to the student newspaper The Oracle. “And that is that there is this common thinking that Islam completely forbids, outright, any figurative depictions or any depictions of holy personages. While many Islamic cultures do strongly frown on this practice, I would like to remind you there is no one, monothetic Islamic culture.”
In an email to undergraduate students, the Dean described the action by Prater as “undeniably inconsiderate, disrespectful and Islamophobic.”
Prater said she herself had been shown the depiction during her years as a graduate student during class.
“I do not want to present the art of Islam as something that is monolithic,” Ms López Prater was quoted as saying to the outlet.
A student and member of the University’s Muslim Student Association raised objections to the administration.
According to Art News, the Academic Freedom Alliance called the dismissal an “an egregious violation” of academic freedom.
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