An Iranian-born history professor at San Francisco State University is being investigated by the school’s ‘Equity Programs & Compliance’ office after a Muslim student complained that he showed a picture of Prophet Muhammad during a lecture.
Professor Maziar Behrooz was teaching his class about the history of the Islamic world between 500 and 1700 last fall when he showed the image of the Muslim prophet, aggravating a devout student.
In some sects of Islam images of Muhammad are strictly forbidden, a long-held practice intended to prevent people from worshiping the man as a god. The student told this to Behrooz, who insisted that what was and wasn’t shown in his class was his decision.
Behrooz says similar images are widely sold in Tehran, and displayed in the homes of Shi’ite Muslims, who have no qualms about sharing images of Muhammad.
The student then went to Behrooz’s department chair and to school administrators to complain, leading to the school’s Equity office to open an official investigation into the matter in March.
Behrooz is scheduled to have a meeting with the office in early April. He told the Chronicle of Higher Education that though he isn’t terribly worried about the investigation, he remains uncertain about what might happen. ‘How it goes from here is anybody’s guess,’ he said.