There’s really no place in the world quite like the United States of America, is there?
John Wood, a former marine, and his wife, Melissa Wood, have launched a lawsuit against their daughter’s public high school, claiming that the school district forced their daughter, identified only as C.W., to take classes that promoted Islam over Christianity and Judaism.
C.W.’s parents filed the civil rights complaint against La Plata High School because they alleged that their daughter spent only one day in a modern history class studying Christianity and two weeks studying Islam.
According to documents obtained by The Daily Mail, the 16-year-old “had to profess the Shahada by claiming ‘There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.'” Students were also required to memorize and recite the Five Pillars of Islam and were subjected to “disparaging” teachings about Christianity, according to the Woods.
Richard Thompson, the President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, said that reciting the statement, for non-Muslims, is the equivalent of converting to Islam. What Thompson fails to mention, however, is that there are many other beliefs and practices that are a part of Islam that must be adhered to before someone can convert to Islam. It’s not as easy as memorizing and reciting one phrase. “Reciting” the Five Pillars of Islam is a studying technique – not a conversion method. Perhaps he would have learned that had his high school given him adequate lessons on Islam, but I digress.
“The course also taught false statement such as Allah is the same God worshiped by Christians and Islam is a ‘religion of peace.'” said Thompson in the filings. “Parents must be ever vigilant to the Islamic indoctrination of their children under the guise of teaching history and multiculturalism.”
The lawsuit claims that John Wood, who served eight years in the Marine Corps and was deployed in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, was banned from school grounds after making complaints about the curriculum. The family is asking for declaratory and injunctive relief by barring the promotion of Islam over other religions on school grounds. They additionally want the no-trespass order against John Wood to be lifted by the school district.
Charles County Public Schools, the Charles County Board of Education, La Plata High School principle, Evelyn Arnold and vice-principal, Shannon Morris, are named as defendants in the suit. When contacted by The Bay Net this week, a Charles County Public Schools spokesman refused to comment on the lawsuit. The school, however, did send a statement to WTOP which clarified their world history curriculum. The statement said:
“The particular unit in question is on the formation of Middle Eastern empires in which students learned the basic concepts of the Islamic faith and how it, along with politics, culture, economics and geography, contributed to the to the development of the Middle East. Other religions are introduced when they influence or impact a particular historical era or geographic region.”
I really doubt that La Plata High School forced the Woods’ daughter to “convert to Islam.” From my experiences in the American school system, I spent my middle school years studying solely Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism. It wasn’t until I was in 10th grade that I formally began to study Islam. In short? You don’t need to spend two weeks studying Christianity or Judaism if you have spent years in the past covering solely those religions in history classes. Islam, like other major world religions, is a complex belief system that requires in-depth study to understand it if a person has never had any other formal introduction to it. If you need two weeks to cover it – so be it.
Instead of crying wolf over the “indoctrination power” of Islam and Islam alone (are we to assume that the daughter had freedom to choose to be a Christian?), we should be using the classroom to foster understanding between non-Muslims and the Islamic faith. Islam is a religion of peace – it is not evil.