Muslim UConn Professor Required Students to Say ‘Bismillah,’ Remove Shoes Before Entering Office

HARTFORD, Conn. — A Muslim professor at the University of Connecticut (UConn), who has since retired, was captured on camera with signs on his office door and window requiring any who enter to say “Bismillah,” meaning “in the name of Allah,” and to remove their shoes.

A video posted by Jihad Watch contains audio of biology professor Felix Coe instructing a female student to “take your shoes off,” and when she asked why, he replied, “Get the [expletive] out of here. I don’t want to see you.”

“Is there something wrong with my shoes?” the girl inquired, advising that she had simply stopped by his office, since his door was open, to ask if a certain professor was in the building.

After responding that he didn’t know the whereabouts of the professor, he stated, “I’m a Muslim. You don’t come in my office with dirty shoes. That’s a curse.”

“Oh. You should have told me that before, sir,” the student replied.

“The sign is right there. Pay attention,” Coe remarked.

Coe had a sign on his window reading “remove shoes before entering,” as well as a sign on his door that instructed “knock first, then request entry; say ‘Bismillah.'”

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The video also features a man who confronted Coe in December to ask him why he had such signs posted.

“If a Christian put in here ‘in Jesus name,’ would this happen?” the man asked. “You cannot do this to the kids.”

“What do you mean?” Coe asked.

“You cannot say they have to take their shoes [off]. You cannot say what you wrote in here (pointing to the ‘Bismillah’ sign). I will not say what this is,” the man stated.

View the video below.

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,” Reitz said. “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.


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