UNION GROVE, Wisc. — A school district in Wisconsin has received dozens of complaints after high school world history students were recently asked to “pretend” to be a Muslim in an essay that was to include an outline of the hardships an Islamist might face in the United States.
“Pretend you are: 1. Muslim male/female in U.S. 2. Give three examples of what you do daily for your religion and any struggles you face,” the assignment read.
The essay was assigned by Beth Urban, a 10th grade teacher at Union Grove High School. The writing assignment was to be based on documentaries that the class had been watching about the matter.
“Keep in mind [that] we’ve been doing work and watching documentaries that have the facts needed to write the essay,” Urban wrote.
One parent whose child is in Urban’s class told EAG News that she believes that assignment was meant to teach children about Islamophobia. She remained anonymous in her comments.
“I feel that the purpose of the assignment is to show prejudices towards Muslims in America or to invent them or exaggerate them,” the parent stated.
While she took steps to expose and express concern about the assignment, the parent said that she doesn’t blame Urban as she believes that she was just following the curriculum.
“I believe this is a curriculum issue. The teachers are not using their own curriculum, the school boards/superintendents do generally,” she stated. “I brought attention to it because I felt that it was inaccurate for World History. I would have no problem with this assignment if they were to pretend they were in the Middle East and practicing their religion.”
Others have expressed concern about the matter as well.
“When will Union Grove High School have students pretend that they’re Nigerian Christians, and the struggles they face when Muslims of Boko Haram come to their village, burn down their church, and take their female children captive as sex slaves?” asked Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch.
WND reached out to Superintendent Al Mollerskov about the issue. He said that—to his knowledge—a similar essay has been assigned in regard to Hindu Americans, but not Christians. However, Mollerskov explained that the assignment was part of a study on the five major world religions, which included Christianity.
While he didn’t see the assignment as Islamic indoctrination, he opined that the essay may have been badly timed and needed to be adjusted for the next school year.
“I remember back in the Cold War if you called a teacher a communist that was the worst thing you could get called. But they never had us writing about it—about what it’s like to be a communist in America. You didn’t go there,” Mollerskov explained. “Islam is such a hot button, I don’t think I’d have the students do a writing assignment like that at all. Maybe I would do that with a different [religion].”
He said that he has received dozens of calls over the Islamic assignment, but none about the Hindu essay, which he noted was almost verbatim.
“I got over 45 calls yesterday from all over the country,” Mollerskov stated. “And most were irate because it (Islam) is such a hot button right now with ISIS and everything that’s going on.”