Middle East studies in the News
Professor Who Claimed Jesus' Crucifixion Didn't Happen Quits College [on Areej Zufari]
A Muslim activist who taught at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida and was accused by a student of claiming Jesus' crucifixion never happened has resigned.
Areej Zufari made headlines over the suspension of student Marshal Polston, a 20-year-old Christian who challenged her claims about the historical events surrounding Jesus' life.
The College Fix reported a statement from Rollins College President Grant Cornwell said Zufari "resigned this semester because of the hateful threats and emails and phones (sic) messages she was getting. I think it's a terrible injustice but I do respect her decision."
At Zufari's instigation, the college suspended Polston with the warning that his "actions" were "a threat of disruption within the operations of the college and jeopardize the safety and well-being of members of the college community and yourself."
However, he was reinstated only a week later when his case was reviewed.
His lawyer said then that Rollins officials should investigate whether Zufari should be allowed to remain in her position, because of her "malicious assassination" of his client's character, the Fix reported.
The Chronicle of High Education reported "the college now says" that Polston was suspended for comments "on social media to another student," not over his challenge to Zufari's religious activism.
"Mr. Polston was suspended in connection with 'vulgar' and 'mean-spirited' comments he had written to another student," the report said Cornwell explained.
"A lawyer for Mr. Polston said the social-media comments were no more than a joke and that the classroom dispute was the real reason for the suspension," the report said.
WND reported at the time that Polston was suspended after he challenged the Muslim professor for using her class time to declare the biblical and historical accounts of Jesus' crucifixion were a hoax.
The suspension came March 24 after Zufari claimed harassment.
Polston said he had repeatedly challenged the Muslim's claims that the Bible was false. School officials claimed they never would suspend a student for such challenges but nevertheless took action against Polston.
Polston's email to the professor revealed many more details, including: "On the one hand you report me to the dean for correcting you while you were indoctrinating students with false information. On the other hand a Muslim student in class cracks a joke about chopping someone's body parts off and you do nothing."
He charged that the professor was incompetent, and the professor, who admitted in a statement to Winter Park police that Polston "has not threatened to harm her in any physical manner," said she was unable to function after receiving Polston's email and canceled a subsequent class.
The College Fix obtained a copy of the email from the student, which was written a month after the professor said the "crucifixion of Jesus Christ was a hoax and that his disciples did not believe he was divine."
The email followed shortly after the professor's slam on his first assignment for the class, a 52 percent grade.
The full email:
We need to talk as soon as possible over phone or in your office because you have been extremely unfair to me and pursuit a ruthless program of hostility in your recent grading simply due to the fact that I disagree with you on your inherent bias and clandestine theological apologies. I'm actually a nice person but not when I'm viciously attacked. I'd be just as happy to go to the dean about this issue.
I'm emailing you about the first essay in your Rollins class. You recently failed me with a 52% despite the fact that I followed all the guidelines listed, covered all the topics and asked you directly about the problem areas. I specifically asked you about sources in person as a result of your request that the paper be an analysis and not research. Everything I wrote came from personal memory and research or first hand experience in my travels with the government, personal visits with friends, teaching experiences or philanthropic efforts in the Middle East.
Quite frankly the grade you assigned to me exposes your a true agenda which is to silence me in class. As I told you before I'm not interested in speaking anymore. But since you've decided to carry a blitzkrieg out against me, I may have to speak up in regards to your extreme bias and not necessarily to the class but to the dean. You're one of the most incompetent professors I have ever seen in my entire life.
It's very clear you have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. You may have a college degree but you belong in a reform school.
First you conflate the immaculate conception and virgin birth which are totally different. Then you state that middle eastern Jews were Sephardic when in fact they are mostly Mizrahi Sephardic Jews only emigrated from Spain to North Africa and Istanbul and we're NEVER native.
I could go on and on and on. Everybody knows that you're a failure as a Professor — Rest assured I'm not the only one!!! I have dozens of examples to pull from that I've noticed during the class.
I think it's great to be a theological apologist but not in a secular setting — I don't know whether this was just a mistake or not so I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. In order to stop a textual embarrassment in the Quran from coming to light in class you proceeded to ignore the facts when I asked a pertinent question about Mohammed. He had an adopted son which divorced his wife so he could marry him and although you finally admitted it was twisted, it took until I looked up the verse that you believed me.
Your bias is blatantly evident in your misinformation about the historical Jesus and moreover manifested in the lack of discussion about Wellhausen's documentary hypothesis (with you taking the theological position that Moses wrote the first five books of the Torah). No one takes either position that you gave in the archaeological or secular biblical fields.
Also your brainwashing session about sharia law at the United States of Rollins ignores what the vast majority of people in countries like Egypt and Iraq really believe in regards to misogyny, homophobia or religious freedom.
I agree that sharia law can be reformed but in the context of the seventh century, let's not jump to utopian conclusions about sharia law's original implementation in society. I understand that you are much more liberal Muslim which is great but quite frankly it astonishes me your hypocrisy. On the one hand you report me to the dean for correcting you while you were indoctrinating students with false information. On the other hand a Muslim student in class cracks a joke about chopping someone's body parts off and you do nothing. Yes I have witnesses – I'm not the only one who has a concern about your agenda and overt bias.
It's really cowardly of you to shut me down in the middle of class or lie to the dean but I should be careful when saying that because that would be insulting to cowards. There's something seriously wrong and depraved about you when you think my intellectual conversation is more threatening than the despicable comments about decapitation made by the student in question! SICK!
I hope we don't have to escalate this issue and you'll stop this crusade against me. I would really hate to get in contact with some national media personalities that I'm good friends with but I'm going to have to take it there or pursue legal options if you don't stop your harassment toward me.
"Zufari stated Polston has not threatened to harm her in any physical manner, but wrote her a lengthy email which concluded that he 'would hate to get in contact with some national media personalities that I'm good friends with. I'm going to have to take it there or pursue legal options if you don't stop your harassment towards me,'" said a police report after the Muslim complained to them.
A blog post from Rich Swier notes that Joe Kaufman of FrontPage Magazine and the Americans Against Hate civil rights organization has revealed a court affidavit that described Zufari as "a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, a violent political movement whose members are sworn to 'defend Islam' with their 'blood.'"
That was in a 2007 court fight between Rosine Collin Ghawji against her then-husband Maher Ghawji and Areej Zufari for allegedly conspiring "to in effect terrorize" her and her two sons.
Zufari was identified in the court filing as "the spokesperson for the Islamic Society of Central Florida, on information and belief a terrorist front operation which at a minimum has aided and abetted terrorists and/or terrorist organizations, and is, on information and belief, Dr. Ghawji's mistress, and/or now secretly his wife under Islamic law."
The case accused Zufari of acting "willfully, maliciously, outrageously, deliberately, and purposely with the intention to inflict emotional distress upon plaintiffs, coerce Mrs. Ghawji to relinquish custody of her children and coerce the children to Dr. Ghawaji's and Ms. Zufari's will that they become radical Muslim extremists."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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