Trigger alert: I couldn't care less if there is an Islamic consensus on the question of whether it is halal or haram for Mohammed to be depicted in visual art. In this, I am confident that I am expressing the American consensus — although, admittedly, not the consensus of university administrators and managers, who now outnumber both academics and students.
The point is relevant thanks to one of these Commissars of Woke named David Everett, who serves as "Associate Vice President of Inclusive Excellence" at tiny Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn. In early November, Everett branded an art-history professor "Islamophobic" for displaying a 14th-century painting of Islam's prophet to her class in the course of quotidian instruction. In short order, the professor, Erika Lopez Prater, was on the receiving end of more bile from another Jacobin, dean of students Patti Kersten, who decried her "act of intolerance." Professor Lopez Prater was duly canceled, which in this case means terminated from her employment, because — as Everett and Hamline president Fayneese Miller put it in an email to staff — "respect for the observant Muslim students in that classroom should have superseded academic freedom."
This, we should note, was the Left's age-old hubristic error of saying out loud the part that, for its strategic purposes, should never be uttered. Executed without comment, the Hamline administration's project is the sort of thing that goes on all day, every day in the cultural-Marxist laboratories that many American universities have become. This one has gotten unwanted attention because, with Lopez Prater suing the school, it happens to have been reported. But while it may be newsworthy, it's not news — it's today's "dog bites man" story: Leftists and their Islamist allies need you to go back to sleep so they can go back to turning your little darlings into apparatchiks.
All that said, I am not certain what is worse: the manner in which Lopez Prater was defenestrated or the contortions by which that outrage is being walked back.
Needless to say, the ouster of Lopez Prater is atrocious. But, again, it's an old story.
"Islamophobia," of which the professor was accused, is not actually a legitimate diagnosis of irrational hatred. It is a demagogic label developed by the Muslim Brotherhood. As the world's most effective sharia-supremacist network, the Brotherhood studies American culture and collaborates seamlessly with the American Left. Grasping that the charge of racism, no matter how baseless, is the most ruinous defamation in our society, it conjured up "Islamophobia." The charge is applied to anyone who dares to notice that fundamentalist interpretations of sharia are both blatantly incompatible with American constitutional principles, and — in their jihadist iteration — forcibly offensive. That, indeed, is why so many infamous jihadists got their ideological start in the Brotherhood and then moved on to even more militant organizations.
Naturally, the young adults (at least chronologically speaking) in Lopez Prater's classroom suffered no actual harm from the depiction of the painting. This is America, where, university administrators notwithstanding, exposure to words and artistic expression is not equivalent to violent assault. In fact, such exposure can be better understood as the raison d'être of the university. More to the point, this was an art-history class, and Lopez Prater had made clear that Islamic art, which is a significant component of art in human history, was part of the syllabus.
The Muslim student agitators who posed as wounded victims are sharia-supremacist activists. One of them headed the school's Muslim Students Association chapter, and the complaint they manufactured was trumpeted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations. As I related at length in my 2010 book on the Brotherhood, The Grand Jihad, the MSA and CAIR are key hubs in the organization's American network: the MSA for purposes of indoctrination, and CAIR — conceived as a media-savvy Hamas apologist masquerading as a civil-rights organization — for purposes of victim-narrative PR.
This was not a good-faith complaint about a teacher who abused her station. It was a play that the Islamist team has been running in this country for over 30 years.
The supremacist agenda in the West is to implant and gradually spread sharia strictures — sharia (the path) being Islam's societal framework–cum–legal code, whose fundamentalist construction is anti-liberty, anti-free-expression, systematically discriminatory, and cruel to the point of barbaric in its hudud penalties. The headline in the kerfuffle du jour is that fundamentalist Muslims find artistic representations of Mohammed (and Allah, of course) to be blasphemous. But the subtext of most sharia-supremacist aggression in the United States is that any critical examination of Islam is to be suppressed. That includes even laudatory critiques, such as Professor Lopez Prater's lecture. After all, praise presumes the authority to judge, which in turn implies the power tocondemn. The advance of the contra-constitutional Islamist agenda depends on intimidating Americans into silence by threatening to meet any criticism of Islam with rebuke and ruin.