MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Another school district is facing parental outrage over lessons on Islam, the latest in what’s becoming an all-out offensive against what many characterize as blatant “indoctrination.”
“How can you assure us that our children won’t have to study Islamic religion?” parent Pam Keene recently asked members of the Rutherford County School Board.
She was among six community members to address the board about lessons on Islam they believe go beyond simply studying Muslim culture to attempting to convert students to Islam. The same complaints are surfacing in numerous other school districts in Tennessee and other states, in part because of Common Core national education standards that require the lessons, the Murfreesboro Post reports.
The Common Core-aligned social science assignments require students to write or recite “There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet,” the Five Pillars of Islam, and other things that conflict with family beliefs.
State officials pointed out that Tennessee education standards require students to learn about all major world religions, but claim local districts develop the curriculum. Many parents, in Murfreesboro and other districts, contend that students spend a disproportionate amount of time studying Islam, while Christianity is largely ignored.
“Scott Cosima (told Rutherford board members) that if Islamic religion were taught in public schools, then each other major religion – including Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism, for example – would need to be given equal time,” according to the Post.
Another local resident, Jackie Archer, pointed out that “other counties are also protesting and want to replace textbooks” because of the issue.
St. Juliet pastor Greg Locke is among the most outspoken.
Locke recently recorded a video outside of a local middle school to highlight the Islamic curriculum, as well as the decision to hold one of the tests on the topic on Sept. 11, EAGnews reports.
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The video quickly went viral, and school officials attempted to discredit his concerns, but he made is point crystal clear.
“Let me tell you something, when they are in sixth grade they get a half a page of watered down Christianity that has about as much Bible as a thimble, if you will, and now there’s 28 pages they have to learn about Islam, and Mohammad, and how it all came about, and about the holy Koran, and the Five Pillars of Islam, and how they pray, and when they pray, and where they pray, and how they pray, and why they pray, and about pilgrimages and all this and then they say that Allah is the only God,” Locke said in the video.
“Of course they get around that by saying, ‘Well, Allah is just the Arabic word for God, and both Christianity and Islam and Jews all serve the same God.’ Let me tell you something, that’s a bunch of bunk. We do not serve the same God and there has been an absolute Islamic invasion and indoctrination of our kids and now tomorrow, of all days, on Sept. 11, they get to take a test about the Nation of Islam.
“Do not think … that is any coincidence, whatsoever, that on Sept. 11 they will be taking a test on it,” he said.
In Murfreesboro, there’s a history of strife between local residents and the Muslim community that dates back several years.
“In 2010, the Muslim community in Murfreesboro, Tennessee began building a mosque and community center. Little did they know, their innocuous plans would incite a maelstrom of violence, bigotry and an ugly legal battle,” according to The Becket Fund, a law firm that defended the mosque.
“The Muslim community soon faced vocal protests from local residents who claimed among other things that Islam is not a religion, and that the First Amendment doesn’t protect Muslims. Unfortunately, these hateful words were backed by even more hateful violence. There were numerous instances of vandalism and arson, and even a bomb threat that ended in a federal indictment.”
The mosque was eventually constructed after locals lost a lawsuit that sought to block it.
Now, locals are focused on rooting out Islam from the school curriculum, but it’s a decision Rutherford Director of Schools Don Odom said is out of the district’s hands.
At the recent board meeting, Odom “told the group that he and the board understand their concerns, but pointed out that textbooks are no longer chosen by the board or a local textbook committee.
He recommended that concerned parents contact the State Department of Education through its website to complain.
“We have concerns, too, but religion has such an impact on history,” he said, according to the Post. “But it should be presented in a way that doesn’t proselytize.”