An adjunct to an adjunct professor’s disjunction


This letter was submitted in response to Hamline under fire for dismissing professor.

I read the article in The Rubicon about the Hamline University incident wherein a teacher showed her class a depiction of Muhammad, upsetting a Muslim student and causing the school to fire the teacher. It was very well written, but it took a noncombative stance. I disagree with that stance, and I think that Hamline was without a doubt wrong. To illustrate that accusations of Islamophobia are unfounded, I will invent a similar story.

Some Catholics follow a tradition of not having meat on Fridays. As a Catholic, I don’t, but I respect those who do, as I respect any (harmless) religious choice. But say I did, and say that I checked Veracross and saw that SPA was serving hamburgers on Friday. On this hypothetical Friday, I walk up to the lunch line knowing it will be hamburgers. The lunch lady has an informed conversation with me: “Do you want hamburgers?” “Yes I do,” I say, and take the hamburger. I sit down and eat the hamburger. Afterwards, I send the SPA administration an email, demanding they fire the lunch staff for disrespecting my culture and religion, and they agree and fire them.

Obviously ridiculous, yet that is what happened at Hamline. The Hamline teacher was incredibly careful and respectful to Muslim students: she said it would happen in the syllabus, said it again before she showed it, and told the students to reach out to her with any concerns. The student intentionally witnessed it anyway, and afterwards accused the teacher of Islamophobia. This can’t be Islamophobia, just as one can’t sensibly claim the chefs in my story were anti-Christian. (Furthermore: not all Muslims follow the practice of not viewing Muhammad, in fact, the depictions of Muhammad shown were created by Muslim artists and commissioned by Muslim rulers.)

Since Muslims, cannot force their religious practices onto others (neither can any other religion), and since the teacher contradicted that practice unmaliciously, for educational purposes and with reasonable warning, there are no grounds for claiming it was an Islamophobic action.

Thank God this sort of thing would never happen at SPA.