(Republicaninformer.com)- A former professor from Hamline University in Minnesota is suing her former employer after she was fired for showing images of Muhammad during one of her art classes.
The lawsuit was filed on Tuesday by Dr. Erika Lopez Prater. She was fired from her position as a professor of art recently after she showed images of Muhammad in a course she was teaching about Islamic art.
Prater’s attorneys spoke with FOX 9 Minneapolis-St. Paul this week, saying about the school:
“Hamline’s actions and statements may have constituted religious discrimination, defamation and other violations of law. Hamline’s actions have caused significant damage to Dr. Lopez Prater.
“In the near term, she has lost the income from her adjunct position. She alleges she also suffered significant emotional distress due to her mistreatment by Hamline.”
In her lawsuit, Prater is seeking compensation for both the wages she lost plus future wages she’s going to lose. In addition, she’s seeking punitive damages and damages as a result of the emotional distress she’s been going through.
David Redden, who’s Prater’s lawyer, gave an interview to FOX 9, explaining the reasoning behind the suit. He said:
“Now, whenever she applies to any of these colleges for a tenure track position, and they just happen to Google her name, it’s inextricably intertwined with this allegation of Islamaphobia. So, I think it’s going to have serious repercussions on her efforts to find a tenure track position and really get her career going.”
The university responded to the lawsuit by issuing a statement. It was sort of an odd statement, too, as it read:
“Hamline is a multi-cultural, multi-religious community that has been a leader in creating space for civil conversations. Like all organizations, sometimes we misstep.”
One of the interesting aspects of this case is that at the beginning of the course, Prater handed out a syllabus to all of her students in the fall semester. In it was a warning that she would be showing images of some religious figures during the class, and on that list was Muhammad, the founder of Islam.
She also reportedly warned her students right before she showed the images in question, just in case any student decided that they wanted to leave her classroom first before she did.
The issue is that many Sunni Muslims believe any visual depiction of Muhammad are to be prohibited, as they believe it could encourage idolatry.
The Daily Wire reported that Prater showed two different paintings of Muhammad — one from the 14th century and one from the 16th century.
School officials found out about it when a senior who was taking the course complained to them about it.
The school’s associate vice president for inclusive excellence, David Everett, commented on the school’s decision when he said:
“In lieu of this incident, it was decided it was best that this faculty member was no longer part of the Hamline community.”