Middle East studies in the News
Christian Student Suspended By Muslim Teacher Over Religious Dispute Reinstated [on Areej Zufari]
by Tara Dodrill
Rollins College student Marshall Polston, a Christian, was suspended by his Muslim professor after a debate over Sharia law and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Marshall Polston was reported to the dean of safety at Rollins College by his Muslim professor, Areeje Zufari, after the debate where the Christian student challenged the dictates of Sharia law, the Central Florida Postreports. Zufari canceled class after the religious debate with her student because she claimed his remarks made her feel unsafe.
"Whether religious or not, I believe even those with limited knowledge of Christianity can agree that according to the text, Jesus was crucified and his followers did believe he was divine ... that he was 'God.' Regardless, to assert the contrary as academic fact is not supported by the evidence," Polston said during an interview with the College Fix.
During an interview with the Orlando Sentinel, Marshall Polston's attorney, Kenneth Lewis, revealed the disciplinary committee at Rollins College met and decided to lift the suspension levied against the 20-year-old Christian student by his Muslim professor. Polston will be returning to classes on the Florida campus next week.
"A student's freedom of speech and expression are the cornerstones of liberty in a free society," Lewis said.
The Rollins College student's attorney is also demanding a "full inquiry" into Professor Areeje Zufari's actions, be launched.
After the student was suspended, Zufari reportedly attempted to have criminal charges filed against him as well. Areeje Zufari teaches a Muslim humanities course at Rollins College. Polston is an international affairs major at the Florida college.
The Christian student also took offense at remarks a Muslim student in the class allegedly made about the LGBT community. According to Polston, the student heralded the cutting off of specific body parts as punishment for being gay. Polston also maintained the Muslim professor only gave a mocking rebuke in response to the student's anti-gay comments after laughing about what was allegedly said in front of the class.
"It was very off-putting and flat out odd," the Christian student said when referencing the Muslim professor's alleged reaction to the neutering of gay men by a fellow student. "I've traveled the Middle East, lectured at the Salahaddin University, and immersed myself in Muslim culture for many years. Honestly, it reminded me of some of the more radical groups I researched when abroad."
The Muslim humanities professor reportedly gave Marshall Polston a failing grade on a major essay project. Polston said the professor refused to explain why his work had earned only a 52 percent mark.
"I was upset, understandably. I've never gotten anything less than straight A's, so I was really interested in figuring out how to possibly improve or at least understand the grade," the Christian student said.
Professor Zufari claimed she feared Polston's reaction to the poor grade. She shared an email allegedly from the Christian student after the grade was issued and before she moved for his suspension.
The email allegedly sent by Michael Polston to the professor appears to have been considered as a threatening response to the grade during deliberations over his suspension from Rollins College.
Marshall Polston also stated in the email he might feel compelled to contact the national media or take legal action concerning the bias he felt as going on in the class run by the Muslim professor, the Daily Mail reports.
In an email Professor Areeje Zufari sent to administrators at Rollins College, she deemed the Christian student's behavior in class to be "contemptuous." Zufari also claimed Polston was prone to "antagonizing interjections" and maintained he contradicted her, as well as "monopolizing class time."Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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