Theological debates on college campuses may include yelling, shouting, and perhaps name-calling, but they seldom result in the disciplining of students. Well, that’s until now.
According to Marshall Polston, a second-year student at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, he was suspended earlier this month after challenging his Muslim professor on the divinity and death of Jesus Christ.
Polston, who’s a practicing Christian, told Red Alert Politics in an interview that the professor in question, Areej Zufari, called Jesus’s crucifixion a “hoax” and “the divinity of Jesus is not recognized by the disciples.”
“She silenced me and brought me to the Dean’s office,” Polston said, explaining that it wasn’t that she was just stating her beliefs, it was that she was stating it as fact with no room for debate.
He agreed not to say anything in class from that encounter. However, after a classmate made a comment that seemed to normalize capital punishment of “gays and adulterers” under Sharia Law, Polston had to speak up.
“I ended up getting suspended,” Polston continued.
In addition to that, a police report was filed against him while he was under suspension in which Prof. Zufari claimed Polston was “stalking” her class, which violates the school’s suspension policy. Polston said he had video evidence of him at a Chipotle restaurant over an hour away from campus at the time of the alleged trespassing. It’s now being reported that Prof. Zufari gave the police conflicting statements.
But one thing that Polston wants to make clear is that this isn’t about Christianity vs. Islam.
“My girlfriend is actually Muslim,” Polston said. “She’s a Sunni Muslim… she goes to mosque with her family, but she also celebrates Christmas. […] But, I love her to death, and I think it’s really crazy that [critics] would say anything I said was anti-Muslim because it simply wasn’t.”
Polston explained that if you only looked at this confrontation on its surface, one would say it’s “anti-Muslim.” However, he emphasized that line of understanding as “nothing further from the truth.”
Prof. Areej Zufari did not return a request for comment before the publication of this story.
Listen to the entire conversation below: