LOS ANGELES — The parents of a middle school student in California are expressing concern after learning that their son was sent home with homework that required the student to outline key teachings of the Islamic religion.
The parents, who maintained their anonymity in a recent local television broadcast, showed reporters a copy of the papers their son had to complete for his homework assignment from Manhattan Beach Middle School. “What are the teachings of the Koran?” “What is the sunna?” and “What are the five pillars?”
“What I saw written in these bubbles was, ‘The one true god, Allah,'” the father explained, noting what his son had written in the section asking about the teachings of the Koran. “In one of the other bubbles was ‘All people must submit to Allah’ … Then, I turned the page over and I see the five pillars of Islam.”
The parents state that while they don’t mind students being taught the history behind world religions, they believe it goes to far to ask to students to study the faiths in detail.
“Can you imagine the outcry all over this country if children were bringing home paperwork that asked them to write down John 3:16, or asked them to write down the 10 Commandments?” the father asked.
“And if it ended with the Declaration of the Faith, Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior,” the mother stated, pointing out that students were asked to write down the Muslim Declaration of the Faith. “That’s what, the equivalent [of what they’re doing].”
The parents told local television station KTLA that they met with the principal about the matter, but because no changes were made in the curriculum, they will be pulling their son out of class.
“The audacity of this school to think that they can set these children down and teach them whatever religion they please,” the father said. “You can’t teach religion in schools anymore, but apparently in this particular school at least, it’s not the case.”
The story comes just days after a father in Massachusetts likewise pulled his son from elementary school after he learned that students were being taught about Islam in a positive light.
“Muhammad never expected to change the world,” the textbook lesson read. “He was kind, and his nickname was ‘the truthful one.’”
“It says Allah is their only God. That’s insulting to me as a Christian who believes in just Jesus only,” parent Anthony Giannino told local television station WHDH. “We don’t believe in Allah. I don’t believe in my son learning about this here.”
The district has written a letter in response to the outrage, stating that the lesson was simply a part of the history curriculum.
“The current confusion stems from some members of the community thinking that we were teaching religion in relation to what students should believe,” Superintendent Paul Dakin wrote. “This is not the case at all. Islam, like all of the other major world religions, is studied in relation to the specific culture, time period or historical events are focusing on in a social studies or history class.”