Muslim Student Files Complaint Against Teacher ... for Talking About Ham

Earlier this year, La Meca, a popular nightclub in southern Spain, decided to change its name after Spain's intelligence agency notified the owners of threats from Islamic extremists. While moderate Muslims in Spain weren't calling for beheadings, they did echo the call for the club's name to be changed. Mohamed Ali, head of the Spanish Federation of Islamic Religious Entities, explained: “Muslims pray towards Mecca and it is there that the prophet received the holy Koran. Calling a place for dancing and drinking by that name shows disregard to the feelings of Muslims.”

It's hard to keep track these days of what ¨shows disregard to the feelings of Muslims.” Consider the case of the student at the Menéndez Tolosa school in Cadiz who recently asked his geography teacher to stop discussing ham in class because it was disrespectful to him as a Muslim. It should be noted that the teacher, José Reyes Fernández, was not mocking the Koran's prohibition against eating ham. What was so offensive to the student was Fernández's use of the Granada town of Trevélez as an example of a cold mountain climate conducive to the curings of hams.

Fernández's explanation to the student that he did not consider his pupils' religious beliefs when creating his lesson plans apparently did not pass muster. The student's parents immediately filed a complaint against the teacher with the National Police for psychological ill-treatment due to xenophobia and racism.

Fernández is a well-respected teacher with 20 years of experience and no history of problems with students. In a note to the media, he wrote that the incident has damaged “his honor [and] image.” Fortunately, it appears that the complaint will not also hurt his professional career:  a local prosectuor on Tuesday announced plans to archive the case.