India: Catholic college fires professor who was victim of Muslim extremists
September 06, 2010
Newman College, a Catholic school in India’s southern Kerala state, has dismissed a professor who was accused of offending Muslims. The professor had already been the victim of a blood assault in which Islamic radical cut off his hands. The management of the Catholic college in the Kothamangalam diocese fired T.J. Joseph on September 4, saying the professor had “hurt the religious feelings of a community” by administering a test in which one question referred to a fictional character named Mohammed. That hypothetical question, the administration said, was responsible for causing “loss of goodwill for the Church and even leading to law-and-order problems.”
Joseph was suspended after Muslim students charged that he had deliberately framed the test question in a way that was insulting to their faith. As the campus protests mounted, local police filed criminal charges against the professor. Later he apologized and was released on bail, but as he traveled home from Mass on July 4 he was attacked by a gang of Muslim extremists who hacked off his hands.
After that attack, Newman College joined with local Church leaders to raise funds for the medical treatment Joseph required for his wounds—which including lacerations of his legs as well as his arms. He was released from the hospital in a wheelchair shortly before the university dismissed him.