Islamophobia has reached levels comparable to the period in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, and it seems that this fear of the religion has manifested itself in an absolute unwillingness of many parents to have their children learn about Islam in school.
Some have compared lessons about Islam to “indoctrination,” while others argue that schools are pushing some sort of “agenda.”
Schools with a varied curriculum will, of course, teach about Islam. And that makes sense, given that it is a faith followed by over a billion people. But some—mainly conservative Christians—do not agree.
Here are three cases which gained considerable media attention.
Tennessee seventh graders “forced to declare” the Islamic creed
A Tennessee mother in Maury County was infuriated when one of her child’s lessons on Islam included writing, “There is no God but Allah” while learning about the Five Pillars of Islam.
She told Fox News’ Todd Starnes:
“I was very angry that my child, my Christian child, was made to profess that Allah was the only God.”
Reports suggest that in seventh grade, children also learn about the Crusades and spread of Christianity as well as Buddhism and Japanese Shinto. But for this mother, somehow learning about Islam’s Five Pillars is akin to proselytization.
California mother refuses to let her son complete Islam homework
Tara Cali, a mother in Bakersfield, California, sent an angry message back to her son’s teachers after she saw that her son had a homework assignment about Islam. He too was learning about the Five Pillars, but what really seemed to bother her was the scannable barcode on the page which led to a website where a Muslim prayer could be listened to.
Not only did she refuse to allow her son to be “part of this in any sort of way,” she scribbled references to a number of Bible verses on the assignment to be sent back to the school.
A calligraphy assignment in Virginia leads to accusations of indoctrination
In a world geography class in Augusta County, Virginia, students practiced their calligraphy skills by copying a segment of Arabic writing. Seems innocent enough, but parents were infuriated when they found out that the writing was the Islamic proclamation of faith.
They were especially upset that the words were not translated to English, which led to whacky theories about whether this was a sly attempt at indoctrination. The school even had to release a statement ensuring parents that this was not the case.
“Neither these lessons, nor any other lesson in the world geography course, are an attempt at indoctrination to Islam or any other religion, or a request for students to renounce their own faith or profess any belief.”
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