Middle East studies in the News
Public School Students Told to Practice Calligraphy by Writing 'There is No God but Allah'
Students at Riverheads High School in Greenville, Virginia, were told to practice calligraphy by writing out the statement "There is no god but Allah. Muhammad is the messenger of Allah." The assignment was given by classroom teacher Cheri Laporte.
That statement is known as the Muslim statement of faith or the shahada. The school district defended the assignment last week when it met with outraged parents.
"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," the district said in a statementprovided to Fox News.
Parents told The Schilling Show that their children were not given the translation of what they were writing.
Riverheads High School Principal, Max Lowe, did not directly acknowledge an inquiry requesting confirmation of the incident, clarification of policy, and disciplinary measures, if any, taken against Ms. Laporte.
The school district defended the assignment.
"The statement presented as an example of the calligraphy was not translated for students, nor were students asked to translate it, recite it or otherwise adopt or pronounce it as a personal belief," the district stated. "They were simply asked to attempt to artistically render written Arabic in order to understand its artistic complexity."
Further, the district said the assignment was "consistent with the Virginia Department of Education Standards of Learning and the requirements for content instruction on world monotheistic religions."
But parents say that other religions were not represented. Parents told The Schilling Show that "the Koran was presented to students, the Bible was not. The teacher reportedly declined to provide a Bible because all the students have either read or seen a Bible."
Female students were also encouraged to wear a hijab, it was reported.
When asked about the hijab, the district explained the students were merely being taught about "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."
"The scarf used in the activity was not an actual Islamic religious hijab," the district stated.
This isn't the only instance of students learning about Islam in a way that would probably not be permitted for Christianity. At Vernon Hills High School in Chicago, the Muslim Student Association held an event that "gave students of other religions an opportunity to wear the hijab in tan attempt to challenge stereotyping of Muslims."
Charli Mosley, a junior at the school, said while wearing a red hijab: "With more people wearing a hijab around school, it could bring more acceptance to the religion and have more people become more aware."
Where does the ACLU stand on this?Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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