Middle East studies in the News
Minnesota High Schoolers Sing 'Allahu Akbar' at Holiday Concert, Angering Parents
by Stoyan Zaimov
Some parents from Blaine, Minnesota, are angry after a local high school holiday concert last week had teenagers singing the Islamic "Allahu Akbar" phrase, among Christian and Jewish songs.
WCCO-TV reported that the controversy unfolded last week, with parents taking to social media to voice their complaints about students at Blaine High School singing a Ramadan song which included the "Allahu Akbar," or "God is great" lyrics.
One parent, who did not want to be identified, claimed that singing a song praising Allah at Christmas time is "insensitive," while another said "no child should be forced to sing a song about the Muslims and the religion of hatred."
The Anoka-Hennepin School District noted that it has received over a dozen complaints about the Islamic song, but said in a statement that it only seeks to promote equality for its students of different backgrounds and beliefs.
"Songs are not performed in a worship setting or to promote religion," the district's statement said. "but rather in [an] educational setting where students are learning and performing music."
While Fox News' Todd Starnes noted that Christian songs such as "Away in the Manger" and "Silent Night" were also featured, he questioned the inclusion of the Muslim "Eid un Sa' Eid – Zain Bhika" as well.
"I'm sure a number of Lutherans along with other Protestant parents spewed their egg nog when they heard their offspring singing, 'Allah Akbar, Allah Akbar,'" he said.
"Why are they singing a Ramadan song at Christmas time?" Starnes continued.
"I know the lyrics say that Ramadan has come and gone. But in this case, Ramadan was last summer."
The Fox commentator also asked whether the school would allow Christian songs to be sang during Ramadan, following the spirit of "equal opportunities."
There has been a growing complaint from conservatives in America over the past few months over what some see as "indoctrination" going on at public schools.
A Virginia school district canceled classes on Friday following significant controversy over a geography assignment where students were told to write in Arabic "There is no god but Allah."
The school district said that it had received a number of "threatening phone calls and emails" regarding the controversial assignment, but shot down any suggestions that it was trying to indoctrinate students into Islam by having them write Islamic conversion creed.
And back in November, the chairman of the State Board of Education for Tennessee agreed to review the social studies curriculum two years earlier than scheduled, again due to indoctrination concerns from parents.
Tennessee students had apparently been required to learn the Five Pillars of Islam as part of a school assignment, and also to write that "Allah is the only God," which the American Center for Law and Justice said amounted to indoctrination.
"When public middle school students are required to recite Muslim prayers and statements of belief, to write those statements as though they are fact, and to memorize historically inaccurate information about the background of the Islamic religion, someone must cry foul," the ACLJ said a statement back then.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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