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Egyptian academic accused of 'glorifying Satan' after teaching 17th century poem

Dr Mona Prince was previously disciplined for belly dancing in an online video [Facebook]

Date of publication: 24 August, 2017

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Egypt's Suez University suspended a lecturer for allegedly 'glorifying Satan', after receiving complaints that a 17th century poem was taught in her literary class.
An Egyptian university professor was suspended for allegedly “glorifying Satan” after teaching her English literature class a 17th century poem describing how the Devil tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. 

Dr Mona Prince was suspended for discussing John Milton's Paradise Lost in February, pending investigation.

Six months later, Suez University found the lecturer guilty of spreading “destructive ideas” to her students. 

The lecturer was accused of "attributing oppression to the person of God, the Just King; for calling for the glorifying of Satan; calling for destroying and rejecting that which is sacred in favour of the authority of the human mind in determining its own fate/destiny," a university statement said.

Dr Prince also challenged the “Egyptian public order, which is based on Islamic Sharia and on the law, in an anarchic call disguised as a comparative literature textual analysis”.

We weren’t talking about religion, I made this clear to the students, we don’t discuss religion in the classroom, we are talking about the representation of religious figures in literary works

But Dr Prince has denied the charges and insists the discussions revolved purely on the literary aspect of the text, not religious.

“It reminds me of the women accused of being witches in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. I feel like I should be burned now,” Dr Prince told The Telegraph.    

Paradise Lost is beautiful, it’s a masterpiece, and I tried to compare it with Arabic literature so it would feel closer to my students. I asked them to read about the image of God and the image of Satan as presented in literary work,” she said.     

“We weren’t talking about religion, I made this clear to the students, we don’t discuss religion in the classroom, we are talking about the representation of religious figures in literary works.”

The university said it would present its findings to a local prosecutor which may charge the lecturer for insulting Islam – a crime that can lead to imprisonment in Egypt.

Dr Prince claims she is the victim of a campaign designed to driver her out of the institution.

In April, the university cut the lecturer’s wage as a disciplinary measure after a video of Dr Print belly-dancing was posted online.

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