A North Carolina town is in an uproar this week as parents fear that a high school vocabulary lesson referencing Islam was intended to push the religion on students. The assignment was attached to a World Literature course, in which lessons are connected to different cultures. Now, the local police are even being accused of being complicit.
The issue began when part of the following video was posted on Facebook. (The introduction and theme music were added by another user later, as were clips at the end referencing cases of Christianity in schools.) The video is long, but if you choose not to watch it, here’s the gist: A school gave their students a list of vocabulary words, with sample sentences referencing Islam.
The words were not about Islam (with the possible exception of ‘mosque’), but the sentences mentioned the life of the prophet Muhammad. They talk about Muslim architecture, and people sharing the Muslim faith. At no time does any part of the lesson appear to appear to push Muslim beliefs on students.
Here’s an example of one of the questions:
Mohammad has just finished speaking when I arrive, but I hope the opportunity to hear him will ______. I’d like another chance.
Images of the entire assignment from the lesson referencing Islam are at the end of this article.
According to WCTI12, the worksheets referencing Islam were part of the curriculum supplied with the World Literature course. They received the following statement from the school, explaining the lesson referencing Islam.
“This workbook includes a series of weekly vocabulary lessons, and the lessons are used to teach vocabulary in context. Lessons are divided into a trio of topics –including expression, civilization and the environment. This particular lesson was pulled from the civilization section of the workbook.
“Our school system understands all concerns related to proselytizing, and there is no place for in in our instruction. However, this particular lesson was one of many the students in this class have had and will have that exposes them to the various religions and how they shape cultures throughout the world.”
According to reports, the Farmville Police Department initially posted on Facebook a promise to look into the matter. Now, however, no such post exists, and in its place are numerous posts from Facebook users accusing the local police of trying to remove the video from Facebook, and of being complicit in the efforts to “indoctrinate kids into Islam.”
On the school’s Facebook page, not only locals, but commenters from far and wide are posting their outrage over a vocabulary lesson referencing Islam and Muslim culture.
“What is going on at this school? We are hearing some crazy things across the country. Is it true that there is a teacher teaching Islam there? Many of us would like to know.”
“This school should be ashamed to have such people as Mohammad as a role model and to even teach about Islam in your schools! I am appalled!”
“INDOCTRINATION to Islam courtesy of your English Dept. When did you change from a PUBLIC school to a GOVERNMENT school? WOW! The teacher needs to be fired and if this ‘lesson’ was approved by the school board and principle, they need to go, too. Disgusted in Texas!”
The lesson referencing Islam is causing an outrage, but is it truly an attempt to bring Islam to students, or merely one lesson in a series about a diverse variety of cultures and beliefs?