Students at Riverheads High School in Virginia were asked to copy a bit of calligraphy in their world geometry class that translated to, “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”
Once the students got word out to their parents, all heck broke loose.
The teacher, Cheryl LaPorte claims that the students were learning about monotheistic religions and the Augusta County Superintendent sent out a press release stating that the teaching material was supposed to show the students how complex and artful Middle East language is.
"The students were presented with the statement to demonstrate the complex artistry of the written language used in the Middle East, and were asked to attempt to copy it in order to give the students an idea of the artistic complexity of the calligraphy," according to Bond's press release. The statement was not translated and students were not asked to "translate it, recite it or otherwise adopt or pronounce it as a personal belief."
The textbook revealed that the verse was the shahada; the Islamic statement of faith.
“Here is the shahada, the Islamic statement of faith, written in Arabic. In the space below, try copying it by hand. This should give you an idea of the artistic complexity of calligraphy.”
The News Leader pointed out that the phrase is recited as a “fundamental step in the conversion to Islam.”
So, if this was a lesson on calligraphy why not try “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog?” I’m quite sure the children would be able to recognize the difficulty of calligraphy trying to copy it. .
At a forum for discussion of the event Tuesday night, one parent made the observation that the teacher didn’t have a verse from the Bible, as Christianity is also a monotheistic religion and Christ was born in the Middle East.
“Kimberly Herndon, an Augusta County parent who organized the event, began the discussion and said that by having students write ‘indoctrination,’ LaPorte took away the students' right of religious freedom.
"‘That's why we need to join together,’ Herndon said. ‘If my truth can not be spoken in schools, I don't want false doctrine spoken in schools. That's what keeps it even across the board.’”
The school was shut down today in a cautious move by county officials because of the uproar following the lesson. Herndon and some other parents organized and made the school system change their approach.
“The school system later said it had removed the shahada from the curriculum. ‘Although students will continue to learn about world religions as required by the state Board of Education and the Commonwealth’s Standards of Learning, a different, non-religious sample of Arabic calligraphy will be used in the future,’ it said in a statement.”
This is such a refreshing story of how basically one person can make a change in her own community.
There are Atheists running around masquerading as social justice warriors, calling themselves the “Freedom From Religion Foundation” (FFRF) who are forcing locally-controlled schools to remove pictures of Jesus and other Christian influence through threatening lawsuits. They are co-opting the Bill of Rights and the founding of America, claiming that America was founded without Judeo-Christian values. They fundamentally misread the First Amendment, ignore the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, which mentions God and Nature’s God, and the fundamental values of this nation and all of Western Civilization would not be possible if not for the fundamental teachings of the Bible. But unfortunately there are enough judges out there that allow this type of injustice to occur. Yet, a look at the FFRF news page shows they couldn’t care less about this incident.
It takes the strength of all Christians, who are obligated to maintain local control over their school systems, to fight for what they believe in and for what they want taught to their children.
Congratulations to Mrs. Herndon and all the parents who made it known in no uncertain terms that this kind of subtle indoctrination will not be tolerated, because in the end, it is up to the local demography and democracy that has the say.
Jen Kuznicki is a wife and mother, seamstress by trade, and American patriot who says, "Now is the time to act."