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LINK Art History professor fired for using ancient paintings of Muhammad in class

Hamline University administrators have taken the coward’s way out, caving in to the demands of zealots

An art history professor in Minnesota was fired after showing students an ancient depiction of the Prophet Muhammad in class. The dismissal came after a Muslim student complained to administrators that the act was offensive and disrespectful; those school officials eventually agreed. The whole controversy has raised important questions about whether potentially offensive content should be censored from students if there’s a risk of violating their religious sensibilities.

You may recall that, in 2010, there was a massive uproar after cartoonists, bloggers, and even South Park began depicting Muhammad in both innocuous and purposely blasphemous ways. Since depicting Muhammad is considered taboo by many Muslims, the issue was whether their religious beliefs should override everyone else’s freedom of expression. On the other hand, even if Muslims conceded that people had a right to draw whatever they wanted, was it worth drawing something just to get a rise out of an often maligned group?

Over the years, there have been extremists who retaliated in the worst ways, as we saw in France with the Charlie Hebdo shootings in 2015. In 2020, a teacher who showed some of those offensive cartoons as part of a class on free speech was brutally murdered in the same country. Each act of faith-based vengeance leads to another rush of people drawing the image in the same of freedom (or, sometimes, as a way to peacefully infuriate the kind of people who might be offended).

That’s why what happened at Hamline University in St. Paul this past October has been so unusual. It’s nothing like those stories we’re used to hearing.

As Religion News Service explains, a(n unnamed) art history professor was going to show students a “treasured 14th-century painting depicting the Prophet Muhammad’s call to prophesy” as well as a second image from the 16th century. He told students in advance he was going to do this. He told them the images of Muhammad would be in the paintings. He also explained that the first painting was created by a Muslim scholar in reverence of the Prophet because it was not taboo to depict Muhammad at the time. Finally, the professor told students they did not have to attend that class if they didn’t want to; they weren’t obligated to sit through that particular presentation.

snytiger6 9 Jan 6

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your religious beliefs need to stay the fuck out of my textbooks and class lectures. 🤷🏼♀️


My daughter graduated from that University 37 years ago. Back then it was run by sane and sensible people. She is now appalled at what it has become.


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The Muslims who are offended by this are radical and the professor should be immediately reinstated!


Not the point..displaying any HUMAN LIKENESS is anathema to Muslims and as a history (especially art history!) teacher he should have known this. I have known it since i was 10 or 11, ferpetesake.
So i say he got rightfully fired for displaying his incompetence and/or complete disregard for the rights & feelings of others! Or maybe overt racism...i say well done protestors and investigators!
Claiming anyone did not have to attend class that day is such BS, does anybody think the topics covered that day won't be on the Final? He had the Choice to tell the class OF the pix if anyone wanted to see them.....

Exactly right, and any image of a person should not be shown in any kind of art class as it's deeply offensive.

@David_Cooper don't sound stupid, please......i expect better from you.

@AnneWimsey If you've read the Qur'an you'll know that any image of a living thing is banned in Islam, so no one should be exposed to any. You're arguing for a rule to be followed and broken at the same time, and that's irrational.

@David_Cooper like i said, this professor could Easily have told the students where to view these images, not take up class time with it....too easy for him/her?

"Progressive" book and art burning at 11....

@AnneWimsey The students were told what was going to be shown and they didn't need to be there if they had objections. If you give in to that fascism, soon you'll be fired for telling people where to look up the images too, and then people will be fired just for mentioning that they exist. Bit by bit, you give in to fascism and will end up being consumed by it.

@David_Cooper oh horsefeathers
reducto ad absurdum

@AnneWimsey Those people are banned by their religion from making images of that kind, but the Qur'an itself doesn't ban them from looking at images of living things, the prophet or even God, but merely tells them not to make them - they shouldn't have any problem with other people making them and displaying them. However, the tone of the religion is vicious and trains many of them to become extremists who try to impose their rules on everyone else, while those fanatical individuals take over in politics due to their greater drive to apply the rules, which is why Iran just goes on murdering its people. The hate in the Qur'an drives all of that, causing the same viciousness in a host of other countries led by the same worship of the Creator of Hell and it's Chief of Torture. If people are stupid enough to keep pandering to that idiocy in the West, it will take over the West too and the whole world will fall to eternal viciousness. All the advances towards freedom achieved over the last couple of centuries will be undone and women will be suppressed universally without any hope of rescue. You are throwing away the freedom of future generations and they will not thank you for it.

@David_Cooper ...Bingo!!!

@David_Sooooo, you go right to the heart of Your thesis, getting to post your nasty, racist opinions of a huge group of very diverse people.
i was waiting for that, sadly, knowing you haters cannot keep it together for long, never could.

@AnneWimsey What the heck is racist about condemning a fascist ideology? You are the one being racist here by associating a vile religious ideology with people of specific races and then twisting any condemnation of that fascism into an expression of hate against its victims. There are people being murdered in massive genocides by witless followers of that fascism who are often of the same race as the people slaughtering them, and they are fleeing here to get away from it while we rightly welcome them in. I'm surrounded by wonderful people of a host of races who've escaped from that hell. You are the hater here, and you've just exposed yourself horribly. I condemn fascism in all its many forms, and I condemn all support of such fascisms too. I stand up for all decent people against all fascism. You likely imagine that you do the same thing, but you are horribly misguided: you've been brainwashed by the people you associate with who fill your head up with their fascist playbook where they call anyone who opposes religious fascism a fascist. There's another big difference between us though, because you actively hate people while I hate precisely none. All the fascists are victims of the ideologies that have taken them over and it is not their fault. They deserve pity and need to be helped to get away from it. Your approach of whitewashing their fascism isn't going to help anyone. You are defending a book full of death threats against decent people, and that is utterly vile. You will never become enlightened until you get rid of your hate. Stop hating people.

@David_Cooper soooooo, it appears you cannot understand common comments....pretty sad to get called on a vile post and then try to turn it on me, probably the most flaming liberal you will ever encounter (except i am in favor of the death penalty for certain crimes, but hat has not relevance here.) Just ASTONISHING.
and very trumpian........

@AnneWimsey You're the one posting vile things here by calling someone who is 100% moral racist when this whole business has nothing to do with race whatsoever. You're supporting genocidal fascism any you're apparently completely incapable of recognising it. I am right in the centre politically and it disgusts me that so many genocide deniers call themselves Liberals.


To me this sounds like an abuse of power. Give an inch and they'll take a mile. How can they claim to be offended when they have ample warning with the option to not attend. Unbelievable!!!

Betty Level 8 Jan 6, 2023

All in the name of supporting religious zealotry, bigotry, anti-intellectualism and intolerance. To call the university's administrators a bunch of fucking wankers is a grievous insult to fucking wankers!


I wonder what would have happened if the instructor had merely referenced the existence of the painting and told his students where they could find the image?


That is a real WTF, and from a college. It was good to read that an Islamic art historian is supporting him, but still, WTF.


So many people to offend so little time.

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