University of Connecticut Professor Forced Students to Praise Allah, Remove Shoes in His Office

Muslim worshippers pray in front of a mosque in downtown Sofia on September 30, 2008, as they mark Eid al-Fitr at the end of the holy month of Ramadan. AFP PHOTO / DIMITAR DILKOFF (Photo credit should read DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images)

A recently retired professor of biology at the University of Connecticut has come under fire this week after it was reported that he forced students to remove their shoes and praise Allah before entering his office.

Audio leaked onto the internet pulled the curtain back on retired Professor Felix Coe’s practice of asking students to take their shoes off before entering his office. “I’m a Muslim. You don’t come in my office with dirty shoes. That’s a curse,” Coe says to a student in the video. After she expresses confusion over Coe’s demands he tells her to “get the hell out.

“I don’t want to see you,” he added.

Coe had also plastered a sign on his door that instructed students to “say: Bismillah,” which translates to “in the name of Allah.”

“I want to know why these [signs] are necessary,” one student in the video asks Coe, referring to the “bismillah” sign. “Why would a student have to take their shoes off? Why would a  student have to say [Bismillah]?”

Coe, who has since retired from the university, seemingly did not face repercussions for decision to compel students to praise Allah. A spokesperson for the university explained that the sign on Coe’s door was immediately removed after it was brought to the administration’s attention. The statement that was released also mentioned that the problem was resolved in a manner that “affirm(ed)” the university’s value of “inclusivity.”

“Regarding this instance, the sign that had directed guests to precede their conversations with a specific Arabic phrase was immediately removed at the university’s direction,” a University of Connecticut spokesperson said in a statement. “UConn promptly resolved the issue in a manner that respects the rights of all involved, and affirms the university’s values of civility and inclusivity.”



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