The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to take the case of a public school teacher who required her students to recite the Islamic "conversion prayer" or receive a failing grade.
The Thomas More Law Center is defending Caleigh Wood, a Christian student in 11th grade at La Plata High School in La Plata, Maryland.
Wood refused to deny her faith "by making a written profession of the Muslim conversion prayer known as the shahada – 'There is no god by allah and Muhammad is the messenger of allah,'" Thomas More said.
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the teacher did not violate the Establishment Clause.
Wood also had been forced to view a series of Islam-promoting PowerPoint slides, including one casting aspersions on Christians that said, "Most Muslims' faith is stronger than the average Christian."
The teacher's actions were condemned in court by the high school's content specialist, Jack Tuttle.
Richard Thompson, Thomas More's chief counsel, said he's "not aware of any public school which has forced a Muslim student to write the Lord's Prayer or John 3:16: 'For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.'"
"Yet, under the pretext of teaching history or social studies, public schools across America are promoting the religion of Islam in ways that would never be tolerated for Christianity or any other religion," he said. "It's disappointing that the Supreme Court did not take this opportunity to clarify the test which lower courts should use when ruling on establishment clause and free speech challenges to public school classes on religion."
Thomas More contends the school violated the First Amendment's Establishment and Free Speech clauses when it ordered Wood to do an assignment that she could not complete without violating her Christian beliefs.
The teacher then gave her a failing grade.
The center explained Wood "believes it is a sin to profess the existence of any other god but the Christian God. She stood firm in her Christian beliefs and was punished for it. School officials refused her father’s request that she be allowed to opt-out or be given an alternative assignment. She refused to complete her anti-Christian assignment and consequently received a failing grade."
The school's Islamic indoctrination also included: "Islam at heart is a peaceful religion," "Jihad is a 'personal struggle in devotion to Islam, especially involving spiritual discipline,'" "To Muslims, Allah is the same God that is worshiped in Christianity and Judaism," and "Men are the managers of the affairs of women."
"Many public schools have become hot beds of Islamic propaganda. Teaching Islam in schools has gone far beyond a basic history lesson. Prompted by zealous Islamic activism and emboldened by confusing court decisions, schools are now bending over backwards to promote Islam while at the same time denigrating Christianity," Thompson said. "Although the Supreme Court passed up an opportunity to provide clearer constitutional guidance on this important issue, there will be other chances as this issue isn’t going away anytime soon."
'The true faith, Islam'
The dispute over Islamic indoctrination in public schools isn't new.
In May 2017, in Groesbeck, Texas, a couple moved their sixth-grade daughter to a new school after they discovered her history homework assignment on Islam.
In late March 2017, as WND reported, a middle school in Chatham, New Jersey, was using a cartoon video to teach the Five Pillars of Islam to seventh-grade students, prompting two parents to obtain legal services to fight the school district, which has ignored their concerns.
WND also reported in March 2017 a high school in Frisco, Texas, set up an Islamic prayer room specifically for Muslim students to pray on campus during school hours. The same type of prayer rooms have been set up in high schools in St. Cloud, Minnesota, and other school districts.
In 2015, parents in Tennessee asked the governor, legislature and state education department to investigate pro-Islam bias in textbooks and other materials.
WND reported in 2012 ACT for America conducted an analysis of 38 textbooks used in the sixth through 12th grades in public schools and found that since the 1990s, discussions of Islam are taking up more and more pages, while the space devoted to Judaism and Christianity has simultaneously decreased.
In 2009, Gilbert T. Sewall, director of the American Textbook Council, a group that reviews history books, told Fox News the texts were "whitewashing" Islamic extremism and key subjects such as jihad, Islamic law and the status of women.
Also in 2009, WND reported the middle school textbook “History Alive! The Medieval World and Beyond,” published by Teachers’ Curriculum Institute, said an Islamic “jihad” is an effort by Muslims to convince “others to take up worthy causes, such as funding medical research."
In 2006, WND reported a school in Oregon taught Islam by having students study and learn Muslim prayers and dress as Muslims.
WND reported in 2003 a prominent Muslim leader who eventually was convicted on terror-related charges helped write the “Religious Expression in Public Schools” guidelines issued by President Bill Clinton.
In 2001, shortly after the 9/11 attacks, seventh graders in Byron, California, were taught a three-week course on Islam that required them to learn 25 Islamic terms, 20 proverbs, Islam’s Five Pillars of Faith, 10 key Islamic prophets and disciples, recite from the Quran, wear a robe during class, adopt a Muslim name and stage their own “holy war” in a dice game.
And in the past few months, WND has reported on a series of letters sent to Washington state school districts that were promoting Islam through a Ramadan policy of giving Muslim students special privileges.