Last I heard, most schools are phasing out handwriting and never taught calligraphy. There’s also the whole “church-state” bugbear, which prevents students from writing, saying or reading the name Jesus in many schools.
So you have to wonder what’s going through the heads of officials in a Virginia school district where students were given an assignment to copy Arabic calligraphy that translates as “There is no god but Allah. Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”
The assignment was distributed in a world geography class at Riverheads High School in Staunton, Virginia. The students weren’t given a translation of the phrase, just told to copy the calligraphy, but somebody figured it out and word got to parents, many of whom are angry that kids were assigned to write the Shahada, known as the First Pillar of Islam. Reciting the Shahada is a step in converting to Islam.
The district issued a statement saying, “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.”
Parent Kimberly Herndon addressed a meeting of about 100 parents who met to discuss the issue. She said, “That’s why we need to join together. If my truth cannot be spoken in schools, I don’t want false doctrine spoken in schools. That’s what keeps it even across the board. (The teacher) gave up the Lord’s time. She gave it up and gave it to Muhammad.”
Girls in the class were also invited to try on headscarves during a discussion about Muslim garb, according to commentator Todd Starnes. In addition, students were shown copies of the Koran, the News Leader reported.
You can’t help but wonder if the school ever assigns students to copy other forms of calligraphy, such as Hebrew or Latin. Or heck, what about Aramaic? It’s doubtful, and it’s certain they wouldn’t give an assignment requiring writing out the Ten Commandments or copying in Latin a phrase such as “Jesus is Lord.”
A class like world geography should be a chance for students to study other cultures and beliefs, but it’s discouraging to hear — repeatedly — about schools that seem to view the “multicultural” label as an excuse to push a pro-Muslim agenda at the expense of genuine study.
Obviously, Islam is and should be a topic in world history and geography classes, but forcing children to write out the Shahada is clearly crossing a line.