Biology professor Felix Coe, a Muslim professor at the University of Connecticut (UConn) in Hartford, insisted that students had to say ‘Bismillah’ – meaning ‘in the name of Allah’ – and remove their shoes before entering his office.
According to this report, Coe even had signs on his door and window saying “Knock first, then request entry, say Bilsmillah” and “Remove shoes before entering”.
A video, shot last December, recently came light to which contains audio of Coe ordering a female student out of his office for wearing “dirty” shoes.
Get the hell out of here. I don’t want to see you. I’m a Muslim. You don’t come in my office with dirty shoes. That’s a curse.
The video also features a man who confronted Coe and asked why he had such signs were posted outside his office.
If a Christian put in here ‘in Jesus name’, would this happen? You cannot do this to the kids.
What do you mean?
The man replied:
You cannot say they have to take their shoes [off]. You cannot say what you wrote in here (pointing to the ‘Bismillah’ sign).
Stephanie Reitz, a spokesperson for the University of Connecticut, told reporters in a statement that the sign that included the instruction to say “Bismillah” was removed after the university spoke to him about the matter. She advised that Coe has also since retired.
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. 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.
It is not clear whether Coe retired in light of the issue, or for other reasons.