Paul Derengowski resigned from his teaching position at Tarrant County College after two Muslim students objected to his characterization of Islam in his Great Religions of the World class, Diane Smith reported in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Derengowski maintains an extensive personal website “devoted to a defense of the biblical Christian worldview” where he lists Islam as a cult, along with Scientology, Mormonism, and Atheism. Images of a young Muslim boy holding a gun and the Twin Towers in flames accompany his account of the history of Islam.
Two Muslim students interrupted Derengowski’s class on November 8 when he was lecturing on the Prophet Muhammed. The students questioned his “source material and objectivity” for a period before walking out of class and complaining to college administrators about the professor, Smith reported.
Derengowski resigned on November 15 after administrators both refused to to suspend the students and asked him to teach his class neutrally. He also filed a report with campus police against the students, fearing one might “do something stupid,” he wrote on his website.
Derengowski listed his website as a source on his syllabus, Ginger Ruiz, his student, told Inside Higher Ed“. However, Ruiz said that the professor’s personal views did not come across in his class. “I feel that the professor has strong opinions, but he was not teaching from his opinions,” Ruiz said. Derengowski was an adjunct professor at TCC for three years and also taught a philosophy class and courses on biblical history.
In an interview with Fox 4 News‘ Brandon Todd, Derengowski admitted he was biased against Islam. “I’m defending the Christian faith,” he said, but denied being a bigot, as, in his defintion “a bigot is somebody who doesn’t look at the information. They’ve got their mind made up.”
Derengowski, a Baptist who holds degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Biola University, posted a 11,000-word resignation letter on his website in which he recounts his version of the events in excruciating detail and accuses the students of committing a “terroristic act of jihad.” In his letter, he says he had also criticized other religions in his class, including Buddhism for its association with the “occult practice of yoga.” To the students who questioned his objectivity, he wrote:
Your actions betray your true characters. Not only did you act shamefully, despicably, recklessly, and carelessly, you provided the perfect illustration of what happens to those who really and truly follow Islamic principles. Lying, cheating, and stealing all for the sake of Allah. Surely you must be proud. My heart breaks for you.