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Islam Homework Assignment in Virginia Leads to Closure of 24 Schools

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By    |   Friday, 18 Dec 2015 11:58 AM

Outrage over "Islamic indoctrination" of students by a homework assignment led to the closing of 24 schools in Virginia on Friday, but Augusta County district officials said no specific threat was made.

The controversy erupted after a Riverheads High School teacher last week told students they would be practicing calligraphy as part of a world geography class about religions, said the Augusta Free Press.

Turns out, the sentence in Arabic that students were supposed to practice writing was part of a Muslin statement of faith that translated to: "There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah," said the Staunton News Leader. The students also were shown copies of the Quran.

The students were not asked to translate or recite the statement, but some reportedly became upset when they learned what it translated to.

Some also were required to dress in a related way and have their picture taken.

"A lot of people got really upset and I refused to do the paper," said Laurel Truxell, a ninth grader at the high school, according to WVIR-TV. "When they asked me to dress up, I said no and the aide said okay, well the teacher pushed and pushed and pushed so I did it, and when she took a picture, I asked for it not to be in the yearbook and she said it was, so that's when my parents called the school."

About 100 people attended a forum on Tuesday to complain about the assignment at which some parents claimed "Islamic indoctrination" of their children, said the News Leader.

Kimberly Herndon, a parent who organized Tuesday's meeting, charged that the students were "deceived" by teacher Cheryl LaPorte into participating in the assignment.

"That's why we need to join together," said Herndon. "If my truth cannot be spoken in schools, I don't want false doctrine spoken in schools. That's what keeps it even across the board."

The school board said the furor over the lesson and its response led officials to cancel after school activities on Thursday and to close schools all together on Friday. A statement by the school district said there had been no specific threats. 

"Following parental objections to the world geography curriculum and ensuing related media coverage, the school division began receiving voluminous phone calls and electronic mail locally and from outside the area," said the school district.

"The communications have significantly increased in volume (Thursday) and based on concerns regarding the tone and content of those communications, Sheriff (Randy) Fisher and (superintendent Eric) Bond mutually decided schools and school offices will be closed on Friday …"


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Outrage over "Islamic indoctrination" of students by a homework assignment led to the closing of 24 schools in Virginia on Friday, but Augusta County district officials said no specific threat was made.
islam, homework, assignment, virginia, indoctrination, threats
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2015-58-18
Friday, 18 Dec 2015 11:58 AM
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