Prof. sued over 'islamaphobic' test question
- CAIR writes that the professor’s “instruction that Islam is terrorism is no different than stating that Christianity and the Bible mandate Christians to follow the KKK.”
- The professor’s quiz forced the student to be subjected to a “radical interpretation of Islam.”
- UPDATE: A federal court dismissed the lawsuit against the professor and SCC.
UPDATE: A federal court dismissed the lawsuit filed against Scottsdale Community College and Professor Nicholas Damask.
Original story below:
The Council on American-Islamic Relations filed a lawsuit against Scottsdale Community College and Professor Nicholas Damask for his teachings that communicated a “disapproval of Islam as a legitimate and peaceful religion.”
Damask’s student, Mohamed Sabra, was “shocked and offended” when he was taught about the connection between Islam and terrorism. Damask gave a quiz that forced Sabra to “either disavow his religion or be punished by getting the answers wrong on the quiz," the lawsuit alleges.
As Campus Reform previously reported, one of the questions on the quiz was “where is terrorism encouraged in Islamic doctrine and law?” The answer was “the Medina verses,” and according to Sabra this showed “a clear hostility and disapproval of Islam.”
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The Interim President of SCC released a statement apologizing to anyone “who was offended by the material.” In the future, the college would permanently remove these questions which were “inaccurate, inappropriate, and not reflective to inclusive nature of college.” The message also stated that Sabra would be given back all points lost on those questions.
Damask shortly after made a statement that he would “never apologize for teaching the content” on the quiz. FIRE defended Damask, but the Maricopa County Community College District Interim Chancellor Steven Gonzales apologized for the SCC’s “apparent failure to follow policy and procedure.”
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Gonzales stated that students must confront "difficult and contentious topics, even when doing so may be uncomfortable.”
According to CAIR, Damask did not mention “domestic terrorism in the United States spurred by White Supremacy and racially motivated hate crimes.” The group responded that “in an attempt to remedy the damage,” CAIR had to “divert their resources to create a campaign correcting the Islamophobic information.”
Despite FIRE’s statements affirming Damask’s academic freedom, the SCC should be held accountable because it was “on notice that Damask was teaching the disapproval of Islam.” Since “Damask teaches a module concluding that Islam 'mandates' terrorism and the killing of Non-Muslims,” CAIR claims that this is a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @KestecherLacey