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Professor Forces Student to Stop Reading Bible Before Class, Calls Him 'Racist' for Criticizing Islam

( [email protected] ) May 02, 2017 11:30 AM EDT
A professor at Northern Arizona University told one of her Christian students to stop reading his Bible prior to the start of her class and accused him of being a "racist" when he criticized Islam.
The continued hostility the professor demonstrated toward her student over his Bible reading prompted him to drop the class Shutterstock

A professor at Northern Arizona University told one of her Christian students to stop reading his Bible prior to the start of her class and accused him of being a "racist" when he criticized Islam.

Campus Reform reports that after the history student, Mark Holden, refused to comply with the demands of Dr. Heather Martel, she summoned Derek Heng, chair of the university's history department.

"So Prof. Martel says that she doesn't want you sitting in front of her because you put, you know, a Bible out, right?" the department chair says to Holden, according to a recording of the conversation between the two.

Heng says he doesn't "know what the dynamics [are] going in the classroom," but it is "real key is to make sure that, you know, the class is able to go on and that you are in the classroom."

"So she doesn't want me in the front because I have my Bible out?" Holden asked.

"No, I think she ... I mean, well why do you have your Bible out anyway?" Heng said.

"I'm just reading before class," Holden responded. "I mean, class isn't even started yet. I'm reading my Bible."

Holden explained he did not read his Bible during the class, and he puts his Bible away five minutes before the start of the class.

Nevertheless, Heng asked the student once again, "So, will you, will you, will you, put your Bible away?"

"I always do every day. And I read the Bible before class and I put it away before class starts," Holden said.

Holden told Fox News contributor Todd Starnes he's been singled out by Martel before.

Martel, the author of "The Gender Amazon: Indigenous Female Masculinity in Early Modern European Representations of Contact" who teaches classes on Global Queer History and Feminist Theory, reportedly called Holden a "racist" during a class discussion because he referenced a report about two Muslim men in California who claimed the Koran justified violence against women.

"She told me I was a racist and she would not tolerate that kind of racism in the class," Holden told FoxNews.com. "I told her Islam was not a race and I was only talking about what the two Muslims men as individuals said. I was not making broad claims about Islam or my interpretation of the Koran."

After sparring with Holden over the issue for several minutes, she reportedly told the class: "Welcome to Trump's new America - where straight white males can say prejudicial things without being reprimanded for it."

Following the altercation, Holden said the professor sent him an email warning him about his "disruptive behavior."

"For the remainder of the class, I will ask you to move to one of the desks along the wall by the door," the email said. "The roll sheet will be passed to you. You will make sure that students who come in late sign in. I will also require that you respect me and the other students in the class by acting in a civil manner."

In a later email, she promised to "reinstate civility" in her classroom: "I want this to be clear: Hate speech does not meet the definition of respectful discussion and will not be tolerated," she wrote to her class.

Holden said the treatment he received from his professor forced him to withdraw from the class and said what he experienced is a "systemic problem, not just at this university, but across the United States in the restriction of free speech."

Tags : Dr. Heather Martel, Northern Arizona University, Todd Starnes, Mark Holden, Fox News, Bible, Islam, Muslim