MINOT, N.D. — It is instructive, before we delve into the censorious agenda some state lawmakers have brought to the Legislature in Bismarck this year, to review some recent folderol on the other side of the Red River over a professor showing her students some images of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.
It happened at Hamline University, in St. Paul, Minnesota. Professor Erika López Prater, while teaching an art history class, displayed 14th-century Persian painting of the religious figure. Understanding that some, but not all, Muslims consider images of Muhammad to be offensive, the professor gave her students multiple warnings in advance that the painting would be displayed. She also gave students a way to avoid viewing the painting without it affecting their grades.