AHA Sends Letter to SFSU President Regarding “Investigation” of History Professor (April 2023)

The AHA has sent a letter to San Francisco State University president Lynn Mahoney expressing “deep concern” regarding the university’s “investigation” of Professor Maziar Behrooz for showing a drawing of the prophet Muhammad in his course on the history of the Islamic world between 500 and 1700. “Sanctioning Professor Behrooz for showing an image relevant to the course on grounds that it offended a student would constitute a serious breach of the professor’s academic freedom,” the AHA wrote. “Any attempts to ban the teaching of primary sources on the grounds that they offend religious sensibilities would mean that SFSU would be taking a position on a theological matter—one that is well beyond the purview of institutions of higher education.”