A California school district announced last week a ban on the drawing of religious figures after a parent complained about a class assignment in which students were directed to draw the Islamic prophet Muhammad.
The task was part of a 7th-grade history worksheet, “Vocabulary Pictures: The Rise of Islam,” at High Desert School in Acton, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. Muslims are forbidden from drawing Muhammad, and threats from Islamic terrorist groups have largely ended the practice among non-Muslims as well.
“I have directed all staff to permanently suspend the practice of drawing or depiction of any religious leader,” Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District Superintendent Brent Woodard told the Daily News in a text message on Wednesday. “I am certain this teacher did not intend to offend anyone and,in fact, was simply teaching respect and tolerance for all cultures.”
“It’s not appropriate to have our children go to school and learn how to insult a religious group"
- Melinda Van Stone
Melinda Van Stone said she complained to the school when her 12-year-old son brought the assignment home in October. Van Stone would not tell the Daily News what religion she or her son practiced.
“It’s not appropriate to have our children go to school and learn how to insult a religious group,” Van Stone said.
High Desert School Principal Lynn David said the worksheet was not part of a textbook, but came from supplemental material. David said Van Stone was the only parent to complain about the assignment.
Drawing Muhammad has become a deadly gambit. Islamic terrorists killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the satirical French newspaper Charlie Hebdo in January. Those responsible perpetrated the bloodbath because of the paper’s numerous illustrations of Muhammad. Four months later, two Islamic gunmen were shot and killed outside of a Muhammad cartoon contest in Texas. The duo had planned a massacre of the contest’s participants.