Friday, December 18, 2015

Islam Lesson Closes School: Virginia Parents Fume

The mostly rural Augusta County School District in the Shenandoah Valley has been shut down due to citizen outrage over Cheryl LaPorte, a geography teacher at Riverheads High School near Staunton, Virginia, assigning ninth-graders to copy an Arabic script as an exercise in calligraphy.  After students aired concerns, the teacher admitted the translated text is the Shahada — the Islamic profession of faith.  In addition, the teacher insisted that girls in the class don a Muslim hijab (head scarf).
"There is no god but Allah; Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah."
-- The Shahada (the most sacred pillar of Islam)
For background, click headlines below to read previous articles:

Tennessee Students Taught Muslim Prayer of Conversion

Massachusetts Students Forced To Learn Muslim Conversion

Students Required to Pretend Being Muslim in Wisconsin

U.S. Schools Force Islamic Terror Singing, Posters

Teaching Christians Muslim Dress in Illinois School

Teaching Girls to Wear Muslim Hijab in California School

Georgia School: Learn Islam or Take Lower Grade

Pennsylvania School Staff to Mosque for Islamic Training

Florida School Teaches Islam Including Prayer Rugs

-- From "Prayer in Islamic calligraphy closes Virginia schools" by Ed Adamczyk, UPI 12/18/15

At issue is an assignment demonstrating the artistic complexities of Arabic calligraphy, which included the Shahada, an Islamic proclamation of faith and a common phrase among Muslims during prayer.

The assignment has drawn complaints from parents that the school is promoting Islamic indoctrination. A community meeting was organized as well.

A statement from the school system, posted Thursday evening, said the "tone and content of those communications" caused the closures, and that "a different, non-religious sample of Arabic calligraphy will be used in the future."

Superintendent Eric Bond issued a statement Friday saying . . . there was "no specific threat of harm to students."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Lesson on Islam Shuts Down Virginia School District" by Liam Stack and Richard Pérez-Peña, New York Times 12/18/15

The district said that the number of phone calls and emails “significantly increased in volume” on Thursday as media coverage of the controversy increased. After consulting with Sheriff Fisher, the school board decided to cancel class across the entire district “based on concerns regarding the tone and content of those communications,” it said.

. . . Kimberly Herndon, a parent who has been an outspoken critic of the geography assignment, claimed on Facebook that the students “were instructed to denounce our Lord by copying this creed of Islam.”

“This evil has been cloaked in the form of multiculturalism,” she wrote, adding in a separate post that the students had been asked to write words that were “an abomination to their faith.”

“This creed is connected to jihad in that it is the chant that is shouted while beheading those of Christian faith,” Ms. Herndon wrote.

Despite the outcry, the district said it would continue to educate students about the world’s religious diversity as required by state education guidelines . . .

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Furor over Arabic assignment leads Virginia school district to close Friday" by Emma Brown and Moriah Balingit, Washington Post 12/18/15

. . . parents were outraged at what they saw as an attempt to proselytize Islam in a public school, a concern that has been echoed by parents in districts across the country over lessons about Islam. . . .

[Ms. Butterfield, a] parent in Fairfax County, Va., the state’s largest district, said her son received a similar assignment last year, when he was in fifth grade at Ravensworth Elementary; a Fairfax County schools spokesman did immediately respond to a request for comment Friday morning.

The social studies assignment asked him to read aloud the Islamic profession of faith, along with other verses from the Koran. To Butterfield, that crossed the line between teaching about religion and teaching religion.

If a similar lesson were taught within the context of any other major religion, she said – if you asked students to say that “Jesus is my one Lord,” for example – “someone is going to go bonkers over it.”

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "All schools shut down in Augusta County, Virginia, over Islam homework" by Ben Brumfield, CNN 12/18/15

Calls and emails flooded the school. Some of them demanded the teacher [Cheryl LaPorte] be fired for assigning it.

"I will not have my children sit under a woman who indoctrinates them with the Islam religion when I am a Christian," [parent Kimberly Herndon] said.

By Tuesday, like-minded parents and residents of the town of nearly 24,000 gathered in the sanctuary of Good Will Ministries to voice their grievances, including against the teacher.

As passions overflow, for fear of their potential effects, Augusta County Schools will remain shuttered over the weekend for all activities.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Augusta County school board responds to homework controversy" posted at WDBJ-TV7 (Roanoke, VA) 12/18/15

Eric Bond, division superintendent, is sending a message to parents on Friday afternoon on behalf of the school board. [excerpts:]
As a part of a high school world geography course and consistent with the Standards of Learning . . . an assignment on religion and culture in the unit on the Middle East involved an Islamic statement of faith, written in Arabic. . . .

In one class during their study of the Middle East, students were taught about the 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. . . .

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. Each of the lessons attempts objectively to present world religions in a way that is interesting and interactive for students.
To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Also read what happens if there's any hint of Christian prayer in public schools and read about the latest battles in the war against Christmas in public schools.