According to reports, the training was meant to help teachers understand and accommodate Muslim students in the Lebanon School District. Leaders from the district, including the superintendent, attended also.
The day-long training occurred on Monday and was the second year that the workshop was offered to teachers. According to the Lebanon Daily News, the session began at Lebanon Senior High School where Mohamed Omar, a former teacher’s aide who also served for a year as the president of a local mosque, talked about Arabic culture and how it differs from the United States.
Teachers and administrators were then bussed to a local mosque where they observed an Islamic prayer service—removing their shoes as is the tradition. Omar continued his speech to those gathered, further providing instruction on the tenets of the Islamic religion.
“The more good deeds we do, God will forgive us in the end,” he declared. “You must work. Faith without work will not be accepted.”
Teachers asked questions of Omar, such as how educators can accommodate Muslim students’ belief that they must pray five times a day. He advised that if students are busy with studies and unable to break away at the prayer time, it would be permissible for them to catch the next time as long as they had to the intent to pray.
“You can pray anywhere,” he said. “You don’t have to go to the mosque. [Allah] is forgiving and he understands intent.”
Teachers and administrators then partook of a luncheon at the mosque, and mosque founder Hamid Housni lauded the district for arranging the event.
“I think this is the first time ever in the United States that a school district goes to a mosque,” he stated. “Usually a representative of a mosque goes somewhere. We don’t have words to explain to you how we appreciate that.”
But not everyone thinks that the training was a good idea.
“Had this been a trip to a church, the ACLU and other ‘secularist’ groups wold be going ballistic and whine about ‘separation of church and state,'” one online commenter stated.
“87 Muslim students in the district, and 50 staff members take the day off to learn about Muslim culture? … And they attended a prayer service?” another asked. “Since religion has been pretty much expunged from public schools, shouldn’t the staff have learned about Muslim culture at a non-religious venue?”
“How sad that our schools are willingly rejecting God’s truth in the schools and turning around and submitting to a false god, leading the children away from the true God who loves them and gave His life for them,” a third commenter stated.