AFP: A prominent Iranian professor has been sacked for offending a fully veiled woman during class amid mounting protests at a prestigious Iranian university over insults to Islam, the press reported Monday.
TEHRAN, May 7, 2007 (AFP) – A prominent Iranian professor has been sacked for offending a fully veiled woman during class amid mounting protests at a prestigious Iranian university over insults to Islam, the press reported Monday.
The reports said that Nureddin Zarrinkelk, a professor of fine art known as the father of Iranian animation, “insulted” the female student at Tehran University by questioning why she wore the full Islamic chador covering.
The incident then sparked more protests at another Tehran university — Amir Kabir — that has already been the scene of demonstrations related to the publication of caricatures deemed offensive to Islam.
“The father of Iranian animation was expelled from university and cannot teach in any university because of his insult towards the hijab of a university student,” the reformist Etemad daily reported.
It quoted Science Minister Mohammad-Mehdi Zahedi as saying that Zarrinkelk was expelled from Tehran University for “insulting the Islamic hijab” and has been banned from teaching in any university.
According to the Etemad reports, the incident was sparked during a classroom discussion over an image of a bald angel drawn by a student when the professor asked the woman if she wore the full veil because she herself was bald.
The ultra-conservative daily Hezbollah published a picture of a demonstration at Amir Kabir Sunday over the incident, fuming against “the shameless professor who has insulted the dignity of a covered woman.”
All Iranian women are obliged to cover their heads by law with at least a headscarf. Many choose to wear the all enveloping chador which covers the body from head to toe and just leaves the face on view.
The reformist Aftab Yazd said that students from several universities came to Amir Kabir for the protests, bearing banners that urged Zahedi to act against such actions or resign.
These protests appeared to take place alongside the latest demonstrations at Amir Kabir against the caricatures that were published in publications apparently belonging to the student reformist movement.
It was not clear exactly what the reportedly offensive material contained.
The hardline Kayhan daily said that hundreds of students from all over the country converged on Amir Kabir on Sunday to continue protests led by student members of the Basij militia against the images printed in the newspapers
The reformist students have said the images were planted in their publication without their knowledge as a “plot” but this has not prevented the arrest of two editors accused of insulting Islam.
Meqdad Khalilpour, the managing editor of Atyieh (Future) was arrested on Monday morning as he left the university, the student news agency ISNA reported.
The editor of Sahar (Dawn), Ahmad Ghassaban, was arrested on Thursday.
Amir Kabir University, which specialises in science and engineering, was involved in student demonstrations that rocked Iran in 2002 and has often been seen as a hotbed of student radicalism.
A speech by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the university last year was interrupted by heckling and jeers, with one student burning his picture and another hurling a shoe.