Hamline Uni responds to teacher sacking for showing Mohammed painting (2023)

the president of aMinnesotaThe university, which fired an art history professor after showing her class a 14th-century painting of Mohammed, has defended the decision, insisting it acted to "protect" students.

The teacher Erika López Prater, 42, did not have her contract extendedafter the disputed class.

In October, he showed the painting to his students amid a discussion on Islamic art, after writing in advance to say the class would be showing images of Mohammed and Buddha, and to leave the room for any students who wanted. .

A Muslim student, Aram Wedatalla, complained and Prater lost his job.

Fayneese Miller, Chancellor of Hamline University, defended her decision not to renew the professor's contract after the controversy.

Nearly 8,000 people have signed this Change.org petition in support of the fired professor

Hamline University is a small liberal arts college in St. Paul, Minnesota.

On Wednesday, the president of Hamline University -- a small liberal arts college in St. Paul, Minnesota -- defended the decision, which was condemned by the ACLU, PEN America, the New York Times and Fox News.


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(Video) Hamline University professor let go from job after showing painting of Muhammad

In a letter to students, Hamline University President Fayneese Miller apologized for the incident and said it was extremely important not to offend Muslim students at the school.

Fayneese Miller said she, faculty members and a student received death threats and insisted that Hamline respect freedom of speech.

But, he wrote in a statement, his top priority is protecting students.

"The prioritization of the well-being of our students in no way denies or minimizes the rights and privileges that academic freedom affords," he wrote.

“Academic freedom doesn't work in a vacuum. He is subject to the dictates of society and the laws that regulate certain behaviors.'

Miller quoted the American Federation of Teachers as "correctly" saying that "academic freedom and the rights inherent in it do not mean that everything goes."

Miller added, "He states that "Faculties must act professionally in their academic research, teaching, and interactions with students and ... ensure this through policies and procedures that protect students and the academic integrity of institutions and subjects.

She asked, "Does your advocacy of academic freedom violate student rights and violate the very principles you advocate?"

Miller also issued a scathing rebuttal of his critics, calling them misguided and misinformed.

"It's far easier to criticize from the safety of our computer screens than having to make difficult decisions that serve the interests of the entire campus community," he wrote.

“What disappoints me the most is that little has been said about the needs and concerns of our students, on whom all members of our community rely. I hope that changes.

Muslim student Aram Wedatalla complained about the use of color despite a prior warning.

Miller concluded, "I also note that Hamline is an independent university but is closely associated with the United Methodist Church, and its founding principles are inscribed in the oft-repeated words of John Wesley on our campus: 'Do the best that you do you can, by any means you can, by any means you can, in any place, at any time, to any people you can, as long as you can.'

(Video) CAIR-MN on Hamline University professor showing paintings of Muhammad

“At Hamline we live by those words.

“Doing as much good as possible means, in part, minimizing harm.

“That has influenced our decisions to date and will continue to influence them in the future.

"We hope you understand and respect the values ​​that guide our efforts."

Earlier this week it was revealed that Hamline could lose his accreditation after a formal complaint was filed against him for being fired from Prater.

A lawyer sent the complaint to the Higher Education Commission, saying the liberal university "failed to protect academic freedom".

Meanwhile, the ACLU also criticized the university for "penalizing teachers for presenting controversial material."

The ACLU also criticized the university for "penalizing teachers for presenting controversial material."

Many devout Muslims do not believe in looking at images of Prophet Muhammad as they believe it can lead to worship of an image.

Now the American Civil Liberties Union -ACLU- has criticized the decision to get rid of the teacher.

They tweeted, "Universities can and should regulate professional standards, but punishing educators for submitting controversial material undermines academic freedom."

The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) also announced that it has filed a formal complaint with the Commission on Higher Education, Hamline's accreditor.

In a letter to the accreditor, FIRE director Alex Morey wrote that "the faculty renewal violates HLC and Hamline policies and clearly commits the university to free speech and the resulting academic freedom for all teachers".

Calling for the professor's reinstatement, they add, "We've given Hamline plenty of time to turn the tide, but it's clear they have no plans to deliver on their promises of academic freedom."

"If Hamline isn't listening to free speech advocates or teachers across the country, they need to be listening to their accreditor."

The Higher Education Commission's mandate requires accredited institutions to provide academic freedom, which they say the university has failed to do.

Wedatalla is a member of the Muslim Students Association and received support from Muslim students who were not in class but described the incident as an attack on their religion.

(Video) US art history teacher fired after showing a medieval painting of Muhammad | Free Speech Nation

They say the professor's firing violates Hamline's strict policy of academic freedom, which gives faculty the right to "consider any ideas, some of which will be potentially unpopular and disruptive."

Sabrina Conza, FIRE's program officer, added: "Hamline has no right to fire an art history teacher for teaching art history.

"Hamline obviously does not understand what academic freedom means, although he expressly promises this fundamental right to the faculty."

I am offended as a Muslim. In choosing to label this image of Muhammad as Islamophobic, supporting the view that figurative depictions of the Prophet are forbidden in Islam, Hamline favored a more extreme and conservative Muslim viewpoint.

Professor Amna Khalid supports the dismissed Professor Hamline

The complaint to the HLC stated: "Such non-renewal violates the policies of the HLC and Hamline, which unequivocally affirm the University's commitment to freedom of speech and the consequent academic freedom for all faculty, and Hamline alleges that they are committed to academic freedom has and freedom celebrates expression for all.

"The University views the examination of all ideas, some of which may be unpopular and disruptive, as an integral and robust part of intellectual inquiry."

“Accreditation agencies like HLC are often the last line of defense for the freedom of expression of faculty members, particularly faculty, who lack tenure protections and resources to challenge such decisions.

'HLC standard 2.D. is one of the strongest safeguards for the expression of students and faculty at private institutions in the United States, and FIRE urges the HLC to hold Hamline accountable for violating this commendable standard.'

Before Christmas, Miller apologized for the incident and said it was extremely important not to offend Muslim students at the school.

In a letter to the students he said: “It is not our intention to blame; Rather, it is our intention to point out that in the classroom incident where a forbidden image was projected onto a screen for Muslims to see and remained there for many minutes, the respect for the believing Muslim students in that classroom should have taken precedence over academic freedom. .'

They say the professor's firing violates Hamline's strict policy of academic freedom, which gives faculty the right to "consider any ideas, some of which will be potentially unpopular and disruptive."

Muslim professor Amna Khalid said Hamline "preferred the most extreme and conservative Muslim point of view".

(Video) Professor Fired For Daring to Show a 14th Century Painting of Muhammad, with the Fifth Columns Hosts

A Minnesota assistant professor who showed students a painting of the Prophet Mohammed lost her job after the incident.

In a statement given to DailyMail.com, a spokesman for Hamline University said: "As we have said, following the concerns raised by students, the University's initial response and action was to address our students' concerns.

“And contrary to what has been reported and made history, it is important that this aspect is reported.

"It is also important for us to clarify that the Assistant Instructor taught Hamline for the first time, received a letter of appointment for the fall semester and taught the course through the end of the semester."

López Prater reportedly alerted the students just before the painting was due to be exhibited and gave them another chance to leave the room if they weren't comfortable looking at the photo.

Students stay true to their faith in class

Hamelin University

Once again, not a single student raised concerns or left the classroom during the October conference.

Wedatalla told the school newspaper: "As a Muslim and a Black woman, I don't feel that I belong and I don't think I will ever belong to a community where I'm not valued as a member and I won't show them the same respect as I do." I.

After class, Wedatalla stayed to speak with López Prater.

The conversation prompted the professor to email her department head, Allison Baker, to update her on the situation.

Baker, the head of the studio and digital art department, responded by saying, "It sounds like you did everything right."

(Video) Art history instructor fired for ... teaching art history

Deangela Huddleston, a Hamline veteran and a member of the Muslim Student Association, said of the incident, "Hamline teaches us that it's not the intent that matters, it's the impact."

A spokesman for Hamline said Lopez Prate "received a letter of appointment for the fall semester and taught the course through the end of the semester."


Is Muhammad allowed to be shown on TV? ›

Most Sunni Muslims believe that visual depictions of all the prophets of Islam should be prohibited and are particularly averse to visual representations of Muhammad. The key concern is that the use of images can encourage idolatry.

Why are pictures of Mohammed not allowed? ›

Idolatry and depictions of the Prophet Mohammed and other prophets are prohibited in Islam as they are ''infallible' and revered figures, and 'according to the Islamic faith […] should not be presented in any manner that might cause disrespect for them.

Do Muslims worship the same God as Christians? ›

And yet, despite the manifest differences in how they practise their religions, Jews, Christians and Muslims all worship the same God. The founder of Islam, Muhammad, saw himself as the last in a line of prophets that reached back through Jesus to Moses, beyond him to Abraham and as far back as Noah.

What happens if you draw a picture of Muhammad? ›

[there is] nothing like a likeness of Him." This is taken by Muslims to mean that Allah cannot be captured in an image by human hand, such is his beauty and grandeur. To attempt such a thing is seen as an insult to Allah. The same is believed to apply to Muhammad.

Why is it disrespectful to draw Muhammad? ›

For most Muslims it's an absolute prohibition - Muhammad, or any of the other prophets of Islam, should not be pictured in any way. Pictures - as well as statues - are thought to encourage the worship of idols. This is uncontroversial in many parts of the Islamic world.

What images are forbidden in Islam? ›

Only pictures of paintings of trees and lifeless things should be allowed. Although pagans in Muhammad's times also worshiped trees and stones, Muhammad opposed only images of animated beings — humans and animals —, as reported by the hadith.

How did the Prophet Muhammad look? ›

He had black eyes that were large with long lashes. His joints were rather large. He had little hairs that stood up, extending from his chest down to his navel, but the rest of his body was almost hairless. “He had thick palms and thick fingers and toes.

Is Allah mentioned in the Bible? ›

Allah and the god of the Bible

Arabic-speaking Christians call God Allah, and Gideon bibles, quoting John 3:16 in different languages, assert that Allah sent his son into the world.

What religion was Jesus? ›

Of course, Jesus was a Jew. He was born of a Jewish mother, in Galilee, a Jewish part of the world. All of his friends, associates, colleagues, disciples, all of them were Jews. He regularly worshipped in Jewish communal worship, what we call synagogues.

What language did Jesus speak? ›

Most religious scholars and historians agree with Pope Francis that the historical Jesus principally spoke a Galilean dialect of Aramaic. Through trade, invasions and conquest, the Aramaic language had spread far afield by the 7th century B.C., and would become the lingua franca in much of the Middle East.


1. Professor FIRED for Showing "Offensive" Religious Image
(The Young Turks)
2. Minnesota professor dismissed after showing Prophet Muhammad in class
(NBC News)
3. St. Paul's Hamline University at center of academic freedom debate
(KARE 11)
4. "Christian" Univ. expels prof. due to an OLD picture of Muhammad?
5. American Academic Fired Over Islamic Painting Showing The Prophet Muhammad
(Atheist Republic)
6. Texas history professor fired for discussing ... history.
(Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression)
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