ACTON, Calif. — A school district in California has banned the depiction of all religious figures after a parent became offended at an assignment for students to draw the Muslim prophet Muhammad.
Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District Superintendent Brent Woodard announced his decision on Wednesday after consulting with an Islamic expert to determine whether or not the assignment was disrespectful to the Islamic religion.
“I have directed all staff to permanently suspend the practice of drawing or depiction of any religious leader,” Woodard told the Los Angeles Daily News. “I am certain this teacher did not intend to offend anyone and in fact was simply teaching respect and tolerance for all cultures.”
According to reports, students in the 7th grade history class of High Desert School were given a vocabulary worksheet called “Vocabulary Pictures: The Rise of Islam,” which included words like Quran, Mecca, Bedouins and Muhammad and included space for students to draw pictures related to the vocabulary words. The assignment was not part of any textbook or state curriculum, but was supplemental material.
However, one parent stated that they were concerned that the assignment was insulting to Muslims and therefore found it to be inappropriate. In the Islamic religion, it is impermissible to draw images of Muslim figures that are revered, such as Muhammad, as they consider it to be disrespectful.
“It’s not appropriate to have our children go to school and learn how to insult a religious group,” parent Melinda Van Stone told reporters. She declined to state her religion.
Principal Lynn David told reporters that Van Stone was the only one to complain about the assignment. The school now sends Van Stone’s son to the office to work on alternative assignments while the class learns about Islam.
But some disagree with the complaint.
“Why is it that liberals throw a tantrum anytime Christianity is mentioned near a school, but shuts their mouths in terror if it’s Islam?” one commenter asked.
As previously reported, the Islamic terror group ISIS claimed responsibility for an attack on a “Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest” in Texas this past May.
Elton Simpson and roommate Nadir Soofi of Arizona traveled to the state to carry out the armed assault, hoping that Allah would consider them as “mujahideen” or jihadists. The two began shooting at a security officer outside of the event, held at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, and police officers who were on duty for extra security then returned the gunfire, fatally wounding them.
“We say to the defenders of the cross, the U.S., that future attacks are going to be harsher and worse,” the statement from ISIS read following the attack. “The Islamic State soldiers will inflict harm on you with the grace of Allah. The future is just around the corner.”