Muslim History Professor


I recently started school again and I have “Introduction to the Study of History” this semester. My professor is apparently a Muslim or at-least gives off that vibe. He mentioned the death of Muhammad and added “Peace be upon him.” He also refers to Christ as “Jesus of Nazareth.”

As a dedicated Catholic, how do I respond to his teaching, not just of history no matter how accurate it is, but also to his added implications of his belief? He uses BCE and CE in place of BC and AD. It only adds to the burning desire to say something, but not knowing where to start or how to say it.

I hope this makes sense?

Any suggestions? Thank you.


Unless he is making factual errors, promoting one religion or insulting another, I see no reason to object.


Based on the OP, I don’t see a problem yet.

If he says something contrary to fact, be prepared to answer him with well documented research. The fact that he is a Muslim doesn’t seem to be relevant, unless he plans to proselytize.


Thank you for your advice.

Suppose for the sake of argument, he does step out of line. Then what? Do I go to the department?


Well, if he makes a public statement in class, then talk to him about it afterwards. If it is a serious issue, then respond right then.

Only “go over his head” if he becomes uncooperative or recalcitrant.

However, at all times, remember to be polite and respectful. If you are angry, wait until you cool off. After all, isn’t that what you are asking of him?


Personally, I would take saying ‘peace be upon him’ after certain individuals, the promotion of a religious viewpoint. It is inappropriate from the professor in a secular classroom.


I’ll jump in here, since I myself am a history professor at a private college in the South. The statement you mentioned might be considered mildly offensive in a public university (and would be a stretch at that), but if he is teaching at a private college, specifically, a religious school of any kind, then the professor’s statement is not inappropriate. A religiously based college will allow the freedom of religious expression in the classroom, and usually even if that religion is contrary to the religion practiced BY that college (unless it is specifically forbidden in the college’s policies). Under that circumstance, if someone is speaking from a specific religious viewpoint, he must make his bias known, illustrate the opposing views, and allow for challenges from his students. Frankly, even at a public university, I wouldn’t be very concerned about this, since it is clearly not being used to influence someone’s opinion or promote a bias, but is simply an expression of the professor’s private faith, and can be distinguished as such. It’s no more offensive than saying “bless you” to a student that sneezes, in my opinion.


prepare to sue the second he promotes islam.


Only if he is at a public college or university. His speech could quite possibly be protected at a private college, depending on the school’s particular rules.



If my kids can’t call it Christmas Vacation then he shouldn’t be allowed to say “Peace be upon him”, either. Freedom OF religion NOT freedom FROM religion. Wasn’t that written somewhere in an important document that was signed and endorsed by CHRISTIAN Founding Fathers of this country?? Correct me if I am mistaken:shrug:


What’s wrong with “peace be upon him?” Isn’t that a moral obligation for Muslims? I hope you’re not opposed to him saying that. Because then you’re basically saying he shouldn’t be allowed to follow his beliefs just because they contradict yours.

As said above, it doesn’t sound like he’s done anything wrong and I’m questioning if anybody here is bigoted for assuming there will be an issue.


I am enrolled in a private university, but I do not know the school’s rules on religion. I will look it up and let everyone know.


Again, they CAN call it Christmas vacation if it’s a private college, but NOT at a public one…


I don’t see that he is doing anything wrong. I finished my undergraduate in 1992 and Common Era (CE) and Before the Common Era (BCE) were already in wide use then, even in some Biblical publications for consistency.

Just be who you are, if Religion ever comes up stand for what you believe in but I doubt he will broach the subject. At least not in a way to try to convert people because they could cost him his position.



Again…it’s freedom OF religion and not freedom FROM religion:shrug:


Yes, I was puzzled by this too.


The first amendment reads thusly -

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

It’s the ‘or prohibiting the free exercise thereof’ that you may be flirting with. I don’t see him saying “peace be upon him” any different than my saying “Thank God” as an affirmation of some positive occurrence.


I’m opposed to him saying it to a captive audience. It is a promotion of a religion and should not occur in a secular classroom.

It is not the same thing as wearing Muslim garb or jewelry, or Christian garb or jewelry, or Sikh garb or jewelry or any religions garb or jewelry because the purpose of attending class is to listen to the professor. All the attention of the student is focused on what is being said and written. If the professor is saying and writing “Peace be upon him” every time he mentions Muhammad in a secular classroom at a secular university, he is promoting Islam in a way that is inappropriate.

It would be equally inappropriate if I were to make a similarly dramatic statement in a secular classroom every time Jesus Christ was mentioned. What if I was teaching the history of the time when Christ lived and every time I mentioned his name I said “King of kings and Lord of lords forever”? Do you think that the non-Christian students would have reason to object?

I do. And I also do in this case.


“Thank God” is dramatically different. It is not associated with any specific religion. I can not tell from that statement if you are a Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Jew, Hindu, agnostic or none of the above. It is generic.

The repetition of “Peace be upon him” after the stating of the name Muhammad is a specific proselytizing statement. It is not a generic statement but rather a statement which invites the listener to agree and assent to it.


I would hope that the first courses of action would be:

  1. Address the professor with your concerns directly.

If a problem continues,

  1. Discuss the problem with the department chair.

If that doesn’t work

  1. Go to the dean of the college

and if that fails

  1. Go to the Vice-President of the appropriate division

I can almost guarantee you that this could be taken care of without having to sue, but keep in mind that a professor’s freedom of speech is also protected by tenure. He shouldn’t be having to worry about people suing him for a statement that someone happens to disagree with, or that would defeat the whole point of open discussion. There’s no such thing as a completely unbiased professor, but a good professor is open to presenting the alternative opinions fairly and encouraging classroom discussion.

I have to say, as a professor that’s dealt with college administrations at both private colleges and major public universities, that I think the “peace be upon him” statement isn’t going to be the kind of thing that a faculty or administration would force a professor to correct.

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