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Squidboy December 18th, 2015 3:52pm

A public school teacher in VA gave her students an assignment that had them write 'there is no god but Allah, and Mohammed is the messenger of Allah' in calligraphy. Was this an appropriate assignment?

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FacePalm That Trick Never Works
12/19/15 4:05 pm

Let's start with the reality that the translation of the shahada was not included in the lesson.
Then move on to the history of Arabic Calligraphy, from the sources I have found: it was developed to write the text of the Koran. It is entirely logical that they would select a common phrase from Islam as an example.
Could they have found a different text? Probably. Are people overreacting? Absolutely!

Hooah Fmr. Zia
12/19/15 2:53 pm

It's fine. The teacher was doing a religion unit, and I was just one component of it. There was no indoctrination of the students. I literally thought the same thing in 8th grade. I even wrote a comparative essay on the monotheistic faith in freshman year of high school. Islamophobia in this country is beyond ridiculous.

12/19/15 11:43 am

The way that you phrased the question exhibits an extreme bias toward your preferred conclusion. You should be a member of the media, but really, a bit of objectivity in the language of your question would produce more accurate results.

Squidboy Snarkapottamus
12/19/15 12:18 pm

Interesting perception. Tell you write up what you think is a 'less biased' question on this topic and use the same CNN link and post it. Let me know when it's up and I will share your question to my >1,000 followers and we can see if there is a difference in the outcome.

jenkp223 Being a mommy
12/18/15 7:00 pm

I think it depends upon the assignment. If they are writing a report about the tenets of Islam, and will be doing so about other world religions, then I don't think it's a problem. Context.

jenkp223 Being a mommy
12/18/15 7:02 pm

After reading the article, I guess they might have chosen something different to write, but I still think it's been blown out of proportion.

Starkey Nashville,TN
12/18/15 5:01 pm

Being a Christian, I'd be upset knowing that I wrote that. However, I know it wouldn't be held against me by God if I didn't know. Doesn't belong in schools though, the students should've been informed.

12/18/15 4:53 pm

No religion in public school (except a fair worlds religion class.

badgerben Las Vegas
12/18/15 6:25 pm

That's what this religions.

Rosebud Ohio
12/19/15 12:32 am

They were studying the world's major religions.

Krystina Let Freedom Reign
12/18/15 3:43 pm

While I think this is being blown out of proportion, making this declaration is a Muslim ritual. It is not insignificant. It's so significant, in fact, that it's actually the first of the Five Pillars of Islam. That said, I wouldn't expect the writing or utterance of the Muslim declaration of faith to be acceptable in a school setting, just as wouldn't expect the Catholic ritual of communion to be acceptable in a public school setting. There are a plethora of words and phrases that can be used to teach calligraphy. This one is inappropriate.

mfjd1948 rural johnson co iowa
12/18/15 2:10 pm

It"s a writing assignment for heaven sake, not a religious indoctrination.

boblon Roseville, CA
12/19/15 12:06 am

Would you say the same thing if they were asked to write "Jesus Christ is Lord and there is no salvation without him." If the ACLU wants religion out of schools, then keep it all out. As stated by others, a non-religious statement could easily have been used if calligraphy was really the intent.

boblon Roseville, CA
12/19/15 12:23 am

P.S.: it was a high school geography class not a religion class.

Squidboy Snarkapottamus
12/19/15 7:28 am

@boblon this was my thought when I saw the story.

Zod Above Pugetropolis
12/18/15 1:55 pm

Does it even matter what they wrote if they don't know what they wrote? Learning calligraphy is not the same as being taught a particular religion. I'd have chosen a different line, but I don't see it as a big deal.

bs75758 Michigan
12/18/15 1:55 pm

Nothing wrong with the assignment. It's a freakin' world religion class, people.

Rosebud Ohio
12/18/15 12:46 pm

Not if they have no idea what it actually means...

Rosebud Ohio
12/18/15 12:49 pm

Ok wait. That's for a RELIGION class? Ffs what a bunch of idiotic parents. God forbid the kids hear, read or write anything religious in a class about religion!!

Khonjin Minnesota
12/18/15 2:17 pm

It's illegal for a teacher to force a religion on children, this goes against the law. If it was a different sentence in a religious class then that would be different

Rosebud Ohio
12/18/15 7:42 pm

It's a religious phrase because it's an example of writing religious text in the native language. That's not forcing religion on anyone. Don't want to be exposed to Islam? Don't take a world religion class.

boblon Roseville, CA
12/19/15 12:25 am

It was a geography class not a religion class.

Rosebud Ohio
12/19/15 12:32 am

"When the world geography class at Riverheads High School in Staunton rolled around to the subject of major world religions..."

In which they were studying world religions.

Shazam Scaramouche, OH
12/18/15 12:36 pm

Is it safe to say that copying anything from the Quran is not politically correct, and these parents are just standing up for being PC?

sojourner present
12/18/15 2:09 pm

But I'd wager a guess that it's these same people that vehemently object to being told they should be politically correct.

12/18/15 12:25 pm

In an ideal world, this assignment shouldn't have been a big deal.
Unfortunately, we have set up an unrealistic standard of prohibiting any religious expression in public schools, and as such, any assignment that requires students to make a religious proclamation breaks that rule and shouldn't have been assigned.
That being said, these parents are assholes and completely overreacted.

12/18/15 12:26 pm

And stop making this a partisan issue.
If the assignment had been to memorize the Latin translation of the Lord's Prayer, or write out the Shema in Hebrew, liberals would be picketing right now.

Everybody, liberal and conservative, needs to stop freaking out about being exposed to other religions.

12/19/15 6:19 am

110% agree

12/18/15 12:22 pm

I think the assignment was poorly chosen but the parents' reaction can not be justified.

slickspin Heart of Texas
12/18/15 12:06 pm

This was taken directly from the lesson plan. It was about the art/technic of the calligraphy. It was acceptable and its fine that they changed it.

12/18/15 2:22 pm

You can learn the art of calligraphy without copying a statement of faith.

missmorganmarie ...
12/18/15 11:46 am

she could have chosen another phrase

Abolitionist Voice of the people
12/18/15 11:25 am

When did America become such pussies? OMG MUSLIMS, I need t grab my gun and hide!!!!

Maj Worth Economist
12/18/15 10:25 am

I've taught a class on Arabic calligraphy, and that teacher really missed the boat. She should have made them copy something like this:

I don't have a problem with what she did. The kids didn't know what they were writing. It just was supposed to be a lesson in how complex Arabic calligraphy is. But of all the things out there to show them and have them copy, she did a lousy job. Arabic calligraphy is COOL. Horses, boats, pears, fish, and the above Statue of Liberty... That's all made of writing. It's a unique art form that's utterly amazing. It got lost.

user321 Indiana
12/18/15 10:13 am

I changed my vote to yes after reading the article. Those squeaky wheel parents just made everybody's kids miss school over ridiculous anti-muslim hysteria. Crazy!

12/18/15 10:17 am

When will the hysteria start over using numbers? The Arabs invented those too. Better not tell the parents!

WorstGooEver Nuke the Hurricanes
12/18/15 1:04 pm

so THATS why I almost failed that one math class. I was protecting myself from indoctrination!

fluxcap Philadelphia
12/19/15 3:48 am

Not numbers as a whole, just the Arabic ones. And algebra. And zero. But these were pre-Islam Arabic, maybe that makes them better in some people's minds (although most of what we consider algebra was formalized around the time of the beginning of Islam as a religion)

WorstGooEver Nuke the Hurricanes
12/18/15 10:06 am

1) I would not force students to copy religious text from any religion... So yes I would change the assignment.

2) those parents are idiots. This is not a big deal.

JJJSchmidt San Marcos
12/18/15 9:35 am

If they had actually been required to transcribe "there is not god but Allah, and Mohammed is the messenger of Allah" that might be a problem.
But what they were actually required to transcribe was "ﷺ". Good luck indoctrinating people with text they can't understand.

Maj Worth Economist
12/18/15 10:13 am

This. The kids didn't know.

12/18/15 9:15 am

These same parents forced the district closed. Let's ask how many of them regularly attend their religious services. Let's just go back to burning books and limiting information to keep people stupid and living under the thumb of the "pious." Notice religions aren't the problem. People are.

12/18/15 9:18 am

And I agree with them changing the shihada to a basic, non descript Arabic writing sample.

TheMobius Siberian Gulag
12/18/15 10:03 am

The kids were being indoctrinated and you still blame religious conservatives? Whats wrong with you?

12/18/15 10:15 am

They weren't being indoctrinated and I've already commented that they were prudent in correcting the assignment so they weren't writing the shihada in future lessons.

12/18/15 10:15 am

And where did I indicate religious conservatives? These could have been Jewish people for all I know.

Odysseus We All Need A Fantasy
12/18/15 9:12 am

Of course it was an appropriate assignment for that class but, considering the current environment in this country concerning religious bigotry, the teacher should have seen this reaction coming from a mile away.

corino Utah
12/18/15 9:05 am

After reading the article and getting some context.

What's wrong with those parents!?

suppressedID suck it Kyle
12/18/15 8:58 am

Walk a mile in another man's shoes...

PamGH SW Washington
12/18/15 8:57 am

No and hell no

Maj Worth Economist
12/18/15 10:14 am

So copying squiggles actually means something important to kids?

PamGH SW Washington
12/19/15 9:47 am

So when they ask what's this means what you gonna tell em?

Maj Worth Economist
12/19/15 10:05 am

"I don't know."

It's not like the teacher speaks Arabic.