Outraged parents from Virginia met with school district officials to discuss their children’s assignments that included writing out the Muslim creed of faith and inviting girls to don a hijab, or Islamic headscarf.
As part of a world geography class in Riverheads High School in Augusta County, Virginia, students were asked to copy the Arabic “calligraphy” that stated that “There is no god but Allah. Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”
The phase is known as the shahada, the Islamic profession of faith. Conversion to Islam is accomplished by saying this statement three times in front of witnesses. At the time, the children were unaware of what they were writing, according to district officials.
One of the parents also asked why the students were given copies of the Quran, but not the Bible, to which the teacher explained that all of the students had already seen or read the Bible.
As for the hijab, district officials said, “Modest dress adopted by many in the Islamic faith and were invited to try on a scarf as a part of an interactive lesson about the Islamic concept of modest dress.”
Officials said the school’s curriculum also covers others other world religions.
Controversy over the way public schools are presenting Islam has been making headlines in many school districts around the U.S. and worldwide:
- In Tennessee, a bill was introduced to prevent schools from teaching classes on “religious doctrine” before the 10th grade. The bill is in reaction to objections by parents to a three-week curriculum under the topic of world religion for middle-school students that covers the “Five Pillars of Islam” that obligated children to write assignments about Islamic principles of faith, such as “Allah is the only God.” Parents particularly objected because no other religion was taught at the same time and the amount of time spent on Islam was considerably more than that spent on any other religion.
- In Maryland, parents objected to the way Islam was taught in the school’s “World History” class, presenting Islam in an historically untrue way and listing all the “benefits” of Islam.
- After being threatened with a lawsuit, an Ohio school district agreed to remove a video about Islam from a seventh grade world-history curriculum that was challenged as falling under the category of proselytizing and favoring one religion over another (a violation of the Constitution’s Establishment Clause). The video, titled 30 Days: Muslim and America, features a young Christian man who agrees to totally immerse himself in Islam for a month by living with a Muslim family in Dearborn, Michigan. It was shown to students as part of a course that requires students to “describe achievements by the Islamic civilization and how these achievements were introduced into Western Europe in the time period between 750 BC – 1600AD.”
- In Massachusetts, the Wellesley Middle School, another public school was caught in a controversy when a video (see below) of a student trip to the Roxbury megamosque was released. On the trip, students were taught propaganda – among other things, that Muslim women got the vote before women in the West – by the mosque staff. The boys can be seen prostrating themselves to Allah alongside Muslim men. The video was covered extensively on Boston TV and radio.
- In Massachusetts, the Newton public school system became enmeshed in a similar controversy about deceptive and anti-Semitic lessons concerning Muslim women being taught to their students. Even though the curriculum was removed, school administrators refused to tell the children the information was inaccurate (as was the case above with the Wellesley Middle School).
- In the UK, regulators placed five Muslim-dominated public schools in the city of Birmingham under "special measures" after inspectors found pupils were systematically exposed to radical Islamic propaganda. The move followed emergency inspections of 21 primary and secondary public schools after a document surfaced that outlined a plot—dubbed Operation Trojan Horse—by Muslim fundamentalists to Islamize public schools in England and Wales.
- In Germany, at least 25 primary and secondary schools across Hamburg are believed to have been infiltrated by Salafists and other fundamentalist who engaged in an organized strategy of intimidation and influence.
Update: Local and worldwide reaction to the assignment at the Virginia school has caused district officials to close all district schools Friday. Read more