A private Florida college is stirring up controversy after a Christian student was suspended for challenging his Muslim professor’s views on Jesus Christ.
Marshall Polston, a sophomore at Rollins College, was reportedly asked to leave campus after his Middle Eastern Humanities professor filed a complaint claiming he made her feel “unsafe.”
Tension began when the professor, Areej Zufari, told her class that the crucifixion of Jesus never took place and that his disciples did not believe Jesus was God.
“It was very off-putting and flat out odd,” Polston told the Central Florida Post. “I’ve traveled the Middle East, lectured at the Salahaddin University, and immersed myself in Muslim culture for many years. Honestly, it reminded me of some of the more radical groups I researched when abroad.”
“Whether religious or not, I believe even those with limited knowledge of Christianity can agree that according to the text, Jesus was crucified and his followers did believe he was divine… that he was ‘God,’” Polston added. “Regardless, to assert the contrary as academic fact is not supported by the evidence.”
Shortly after challenging Zufari on her claims, Polston received a 52 percent on his next major essay for the class.
“I was upset, understandably. I’ve never gotten anything less than straight A’s, so I was really interested in figuring out how to possibly improve or at least understand the grade,” Polston told the Post.
Polston also discussed the incident with The College Fix on Saturday, saying he’s hired an attorney to dispute the suspension.
“Our university should be a place where free-speech flashes and ideas can be spoken of without punishment or fear of retribution,” Polston told The Fix. “In my case it was the total opposite. … I came forward with the story because I know so many other students like me suffer under today’s liberal academic elite.”
At one point, Zufari allegedly led a discussion on the application of Sharia Law during one of her classes. Polston said that a male Muslim student in the class spoke out in favor of beheading certain groups of people.
“He stated that a good punishment for gays, adulterers, and thieves was the removal of a certain body part, as determined by Sharia law. It took a few seconds for me to realize that he actually said that, especially after what this community has faced with the tragic loss of life at Pulse,” explained Polston, referring to the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Fla. last year.
After his suspension, Zufair filed a police report, which she claims Polston violated by showing outside of class on Thursday to harass her.
However, Polston stated he was nowhere near campus that day, and provided video proof that he was not in the area when the class was held.
“I will be releasing witness statements shortly proving I could not have been where Professor Zufari said I was Thursday night. It’s shameful that she lied to the police,” Polston told the Post.
Rollins College has a history of treating Christian groups unfavorably. In 2013, the school banned the religious student group InterVarsity from campus for requiring that its members promote Christian beliefs.
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