Are Metro-Atlanta Schools Promoting Islam?

At least one parent of a Metro-Atlanta middle school student is concerned that his child’s homework promotes Islam in the classroom. Is he right? Watch the video below and decide.

As stated in the video, the curriculum was given to the school by the State of Georgia as part of a Middle Eastern studies program. It is possible that more schools across Georgia are using this curriculum though this Georgia resident has not heard any reports of such wide-spread use.

The Marietta Daily Journal, a Metro-Atlanta paper, reported on the story and shared a portion of the school curriculum in question.

Here are excerpts from some of the material Medlin objected to, titled “My Name is Ahlima” and copyright by InspirEd Educators Inc. It is printed here with permission:

“My name is Ahlima and I live in Saudi Arabia. … Perhaps two differences Westerners would notice are that women here do not drive cars and they wear abuyah. An abuyah is a loose-fitting black cloth that covers a woman from head to toe. I like wearing the abuyah since it is very comfortable, and I am protected from blowing sand. … I have seen pictures of women in the West and find their dress to be horribly immodest. … Women in the West do not have the protection of the Sharia as we do here. If our marriage has problems, my husband can take another wife rather than divorce me, and I would still be cared for. … I feel very fortunate that we have the Sharia.”1

The curriculum is produced by InspirEd Educators which was founded by Sharon Coletti. Coletti also wrote the curriculum in question. As The Marietta Daily states, Coletti did not understand the objection. She is reported to have said:

“This particular sequence is a two-day social studies lesson. They read this letter and then examine stereotyping. The next lesson is a compare and contrast on the role of women in the middle East. Yes, the Muslim girl stereotypes Western women, but are there ways we stereotype Muslims? I have no idea what the objection is,” she said.2

This is an interesting response from an educator who is trying to bring critical thinking into the public school system. The reported response boils down to – well, Americans stereotype Muslim women so allowing American women to be stereotyped is fine for a children’s lesson.

On their website InspirEd Educators advertizes a teaching curriculum, with an accessible table of contents,  called 105 Everything You Need To Teach Middle East. It is not clear if this particular curriculum is the same one in the above stories though it would be interesting to know. It would also be interesting to know if this “105” curriculum is being used in Georgia public schools at all and what the content entails.

The main concern is whether or not Georgia public schools are promoting Islam. Can this question be clearly answered in the affirmative by the above stories? I’m not entirely sure, but the concerns are certainly worth further investigation.
__________________________

  1. Field, Lindsay.  The Marietta Daily JournalSchool’s curriculum on Mideast adjusted after parent protests
  2. Ibid.
Tags: , ,
The above article was posted on September 26, 2011 by Mark Lamprecht.
© 2004-2015. All rights reserved.


{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kyle Owenby September 26, 2011 at 3:34 pm

I find it hard to believe the schools are promoting Islam without evidence that students are being coerced to leave their beliefs for Islam, or are being told that they should convert to Islam because it is better for them. That to me would be “promoting” Islam. As a historian who uses primary sources in lecture all the time, I find it is very useful for my students, admittedly in college, to read primary sources from the cultures and time periods we study. I would say reading primary sources is a good way to learn more about an unfamiliar culture.

My bigger concern is the quality of the source material this lesson uses. Having students read this “letter” and then discuss cultural differences seems like a good idea. However this letter plays to common stereotypes about the middle east, i.e. all women must cover up, all men take multiple wives, etc, rather than discussing the variety of views that exist within Islamic and Middle Eastern culture regarding these, and other, issues.

2 Mark September 26, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Kyle,

I suppose it comes down to how “promote” is defined. We probably need to know more about what is in the material than was has been shared so far.

3 Mark September 26, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Oh, and I’d like to point out (as someone did on the Marietta Journal article) that this letter is not exactly accurate. It should state that women aren’t allowed to drive and that they must wear an abuyah.

4 Kyle Owenby September 26, 2011 at 6:34 pm

Mark, great point, we really don’t know right now what the curriculumn looked like.

5 Soli Deo Gloria September 27, 2011 at 10:37 pm

This may appear as something small but its not. Slowly the perversion of the non-Christian worldview creeps in. Just like it did to take prayer from the school, under the guise of protecting a child’s right. Then they began to take God out of our court rooms. and now that they have shut the mouths of Christians, they are working to put Islam and Scientology, and Universialism and every perversion that the wickedness of man’s mind can conceive into the hearts of our children.

Truly if we desire to save our children we must learn to train up a child in how we should go http://according2god.blogspot.com/2010/03/train-up-child.html

6 Stephanie September 28, 2011 at 11:09 pm

One can teach about a culture and their beliefs without ridiculing another’s culture and beliefs. I worry about what our government, who controls our schools, is trying to teach our children. The government always has a political agenda. This year I have taken my children out of the public school and am homeschooling because of many incorrect teachings. (global warming, emissions, ozone, etc.) For me it is refreshing to be able to teach ancient civilizations with the bible’s story. Do they teach about Moses, Jesus, and those people of the day? They existed. They are part of a culture. The answer is no.

7 Mark September 28, 2011 at 11:17 pm

SDG, I agree with you that teaching this type of teaching on Islam could be used to slowly promote Islam little by little.

Stephanie, it seems always a good idea to be aware and involved in what is being taught in the public schools that are teaching our kids. I hope your homeschooling goes well.

8 Kevin September 29, 2011 at 6:29 am

I would remind everyone that just because you don’t see these materials in your childrens homework that they aren’t hearing them in school. Be certain to talk to your kids about what they learned today so that they’re confident in your interest and they’ll be open with you about what they hear in school. And please, don’t embarrass your kids!

.

Previous post:

Next post: