A Virginia school district is defending its recent calligraphy lesson for its high-school students: Write, “There is no god but Allah. Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”
Livid parents in Greenville, Virginia, attended a Dec. 11 school-district meeting to find out why children at Riverheads High School were encouraged to wear Islamic attire and write a statement of faith, also known as the shahada. The assignment was for a world geography class.
“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 statement to Fox News on Tuesday.
Parents told Rob Schilling of Virginia’s “The Schilling Show” that teacher Cheri Laporte did not give students a translation of the Arabic text, although she was aware of its meaning. Laporte also passed a Quran around the classroom, but not the Bible because “all of the students already have read or seen a Bible.”
School officials insisted the lesson was about “art” and not religion because students were examining the script’s “artistic complexity.”
The district’s statement added that students were also encouraged to wear a scarf to experience “an interactive lesson about the Islamic concept of modest dress,” the network reported.
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Virginia parents’ frustration with Riverheads High School is emblematic of the anger felt by their California counterparts in November. Students at Spring View Middle School in Huntington Beach were told to sing an Islamic fight song.
A seventh-grade teacher deviated from the school curriculum to have students sing, “This is My Fight Song.”
“Allah’s on the way. They will preach them loud tonight. Can you hear their voice this time? This is their fight song. Spread Islam now song. Prove that they’re right song,” students were instructed to sing, KCAL 9 Los Angeles reported Nov. 17.
“I believe that by singing the song, the children feel comfortable that maybe Allah is the only god and maybe that they should start following him,” parent Susan Negron told the network. “I’m not OK with that.”
The school issued an apology and said it would look into the incident.