01/19/2023 07:15 (act. 01/19/2023 09:34)
An art professor has filed a lawsuit against his dismissal for showing a depiction of the Prophet Mohammed. ©Canva, AP
An art professor at a small US private university has filed a lawsuit against her dismissal for showing a depiction of the Prophet Mohammed.
According to the lawsuit filed by Erika Lopez Prater, whose contract as an adjunct professor was not extended by the university’s management.
University administration described Lopez Prater’s classes as “undeniably Islamophobic,” according to the lawsuit. “Comments like this one, now published in news around the world, will haunt Dr. Lopez Prater throughout his career and may result in his being unable to secure tenure at an institution of higher education,” his lawyers wrote.
14th century image
The case made headlines around the world: in October, Lopez Prater showed a 14th-century photo depicting the prophet Mohammed at an Islamic art course. Depictions of the Prophet violate Muslim beliefs, which Lopez Prater took into account in his course program, offering Muslim students an alternative. During class, she again expressly pointed out that she would now show a picture representing the prophet.
u003cpu003eMinnesota Professor Islamic Artu003c/pu003en ©AP
In her lawsuit, she accuses university leadership of taking a student view that no one should ever see pictures of Prophet Muhammad, rather than acknowledging that she showed the depiction for a valid academic purpose.
On Tuesday, the university’s board dropped the charge that Lopez Prater had acted as an “Islamophobe”. “Like all organizations, we sometimes make mistakes,” wrote President Fayneese Miller and Board Chair Ellen Waters. “In the interest of listening to and supporting our Muslim students, language was used that does not reflect our position on academic freedom. Based on what we learned, we decided that the use of the term ‘Islamophobic’ was misleading.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a civil rights organization for Muslims in the United States, said on Friday that when teachers look at depictions of the prophet Muhammad, it is not the same as when “Islamophobes show these images to offend.” .