A public school in Massachusetts is under fire for teaching the Muslim religion as part of its curriculum. A father is leading the charge against Revere officials for teaching students a part of the course that says God does not exist, “only Allah,” and on the life and religious philosophies of the Prophet Muhammad, according to WHDH 7 News report.
What is Islam? If you ask students at Revere Public Schools, there’s a good chance they will know because if they don’t, their grade will reflect it. This has some parents up in arms over the school district’s requirement that its student body be taught the principles of the Muslim religion.
One parent took issue with mixing religion in schools with the learning environment. Anthony Giannino petitioned administrators to take another look at that part of the curriculum and not force it on students, especially those who don’t embrace or believe in Islamic practices. The man immediately removed his son from the class.
“No religion should be taught at school. In their paper it says Allah is their only God. That’s insulting to me as a Christian who believes in just Jesus only.”
Giannino points to a specific part of a text that defines the meaning of Islam and the life its famous and revered leader. It specifically says this about the Beliefs in Muslims:
“I bear witness that there is no God but Allah.”
On the life and principles Muhammad (born 570 AD), the school’s textbook reads:
“Muhammad later tended sheep on the dry hills like many young Arabians. Later he became a successful merchant and married a wealthy widow. However, he felt as though something was missing in his life, so he went on a retreat.”
In its coverage of the controversial story at the Revere public school, Daily Caller provided a balanced view of the school’s point. It echoed the school’s sentiment’s in why it included Islam in the course.
“The founder of Islam was ‘upset about the cruelty of his people,’ the text also optimistically explains. They ‘killed baby girls.’ They ‘treated their slaves unkindly.’ And “Muhammad had a strong sense of right and wrong.”
Giannino was not at all appeased by the Revere school’s motives. Instead, he said the inclusion of the Muslim religion is an assault on his own religion.
“We don’t believe in Allah. I don’t believe in my son learning about this here. If my son was from another country and came here, he would have been catered to. But where he’s not being catered to, they give him an F.”
Officials attempted to calm the concerns from parents and the public. Revere Schools Superintendent said the teaching of Islam, just like other forms of religious practices, are taught as a part of history, not as an influence or part of an agenda. The administrator wrote a letter explaining its inclusion as a benign part of history.
“I want to be very clear that no religion is taught with the purpose of converting students to that religion…”
Although the man’s complaint ignited a dialogue about religion’s place in a safe learning environment, not all parents share his sentiments. Some took a neutral approach and see it as a non-issue.
“What is Muslim about, what is Christianity about. That’s what I teach at home. Everybody should respect everybody else’s religion,” said Idalia Garcia.
“When you’re talking about a specific region in the world, there’s going to be traditions and there’s gonna be religions that children should learn about,” said Ovidio Raffa.
As one reader pointed out, given the nature of terrorism, radical extremism, and the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, many misunderstand the true meaning of Islam. Conventional practitioners of the Muslim religion know that it is based on peace and not radicalized ideology. Still, some parents believe the Massachusetts public school should reconsider on the optics. Do you think religion should be barred from schools?