A Virginia school district is defending a classroom assignment that required students to practice calligraphy by writing the Muslim statement of faith, “There is no god but Allah. Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”
Female students at Riverheads High School in Augusta County, Virginia, were also invited to wear Muslim clothing -- a story first reported by The Schilling Show.
The school district convened a meeting on Dec. 11th to discuss the assignment with outraged parents.
“Neither these lessons, nor any other lesson in the world geography course, are an attempt at indoctrination to Islam or any other religion, or a request for students to renounce their own faith or profess any belief,” the district said in a statement provided to Fox News.
The Muslim-friendly calligraphy assignment took place in a world geography class. The teacher had the kids copy the Muslim statement of faith, also known as the shahada.
Parents told The Schilling Show that their children were not given the translation of what they were writing.
In other words, there were more than likely a few Christian teenagers in that room who had no idea they were writing, “There is no god but Allah.”
But the school district doesn’t seem to think that’s a problem.
“The statement presented as an example of the calligraphy was not translated for students, nor were students asked to translate it, recite it or otherwise adopt or pronounce it as a personal belief,” the district stated.
They said it was all about the art — not about the theology.
“They were simply asked to attempt to artistically render written Arabic in order to understand its artistic complexity,” they stated.
And out of sheer coincidence -- out of all the Arabic words and phrases the teacher could have selected, she picked the Islamic statement of faith?
The district said the assignment was consistent with the Virginia Department of Education Standards of Learning and the requirements for content instruction on world monotheistic religions.
And what about having the female students dressing up in Islamic garb — is that consistent with the state mandates, too?
The district said the students were taught about the “modest dress adopted by many in the Islamic faith and were invited to try on a scarf as a part of an interactive lesson about the Islamic concept of modest dress.”
“The scarf used in the activity was not an actual Islamic religious hijab,” the district stated.
The district said they also cover other religions -- including Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism and Hinduism.
However, one parent told The Schilling Show that while the Koran was presented to students, the Bible was not. The teacher reportedly declined to provide a Bible because all the students have either read or seen a Bible.
The district said there’s really not a controversy here. They just wanted students to participate in “hands-on activities intended to give them a better objective understanding of the region and its culture (including its religions and to allow for interactive learning.”
Perhaps the next time the kids at Riverheads High School practice their calligraphy skills they can learn a new word — “indoctrination.”
Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary, heard on hundreds of radio stations. His latest book is "God Less America: Real Stories From the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values." Follow Todd on Twitter@ToddStarnes and find him on Facebook.