Parents protesting Islam school assignment may be subject to investigation

Published by carolyn on Sat, 2015-12-19 11:00

A screen-grab of an image from a student's workbook of the controversial assignment. Click to enlarge.

 From Business Insider:

Administrators shut down 24 schools in Augusta County, Virginia, on Friday after a homework assignment on Islam drew fury from parents, CNN reported.

Cheryl LaPorte, a world geography teacher at Riverheads High School, assigned her students homework using a standard workbook on world religions that asked students to copy religious calligraphy.

The assignment read: "Here is the shahada, the Islamic statement of faith, written in Arabic. In the space below, try copying it by hand. This should give you an idea of the artistic complexity of calligraphy."

The calligraphy translated to, "There is no god but Allah, and Mohammed is the messenger of Allah".

The assignment immediately drew ire from some parents who called for LaPorte's firing for "violating children's religious beliefs," reported The News Leader, a local newspaper. The Virginia Department of Education reviewed the the assignment and found that it did not violate student rights. 

The cancellation of school on Friday essentially started the district's winter break early.

School administrators released a statement to parents saying that while there was no specific threat to students, schools were closed on Friday.

They cited a risk of harm to officials as the reason for the closure. "Some communications posed a risk of harm to school officials," the school's statement read, according to WHSV-TV, a local news station. "Others threatened significant protests on or near school property. Those communications are in the hands of the sheriff."

I think it was wrong to use the Islam "statement of faith" for the calligraphy exercise. Something else could have been used. This is an example of what can go wrong when using "standard workbooks" which most teachers use because they are not adept in all the subject matter in their course. I salute the parents who were brave enough to complain about it. It's good that it's being discussed.

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Muslim prayer rooms in public schools may become a reality in Lower Saxony under an Islam Treaty
Epoch Times, Friday, December 4, 2015 10:40

The reaction of CDU parliamentary leader Björn Thümler (Berne) is: "Can not do" and "schools must be neutral." He says a single room of silence for all religious communities is acceptable.

The establishment of prayer rooms in public schools is provided for in a planned “Islamic Treaty” of [the state of] Lower Saxony with the Muslim organizations DITIB and Shura. Parliament must first adopt the treaty. Thümler says at this time he thinks the CDU could “just say no.”

It is not only prayer rooms in schools they are asking for, but also the right to take unpaid leave for the Muslim holidays - Feast of Sacrifice, Eid and Ashura. [This is how the Jews do it - cy]

The Islamic associations are also pursuing Muslim cemeteries, including burial in a cloth, and to have the right to provide “religious assistance” in schools, hospitals, nursing homes and hospices. An allowance must be paid to those persons giving assistance.

The draft treaty is to be adopted in December by the Lower Saxony state government. It could enter into force in 2016.

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