The mother of a Michigan high school student was shocked to learn that her daughter was assigned a class project that was clearly deigned to promote Islam. Worse, it was a project meant to promote Islam to 3rd graders.
The Michigan parent found that her 10th-grade daughter was assigned the task of designing a brochure that could explain the wonders of Islam in terms that a 3rd grader could understand. The woman’s daughter was told that the purpose of the brochure would be to “introduce Islam to 3rd graders.”
This parent jumped to Facebook to tell her friends and family how shocked she was over the assignment. (Not long afterward she deleted her posts at the request of the school’s principal.)
“This assignment upset me because they are presenting Allah as the same God of the Christians and Jews. This paper, in my opinion, is promoting Islam by describing Allah’s names as ‘beautiful’. To me this is not simply factual like it should be,” Mother Jennette Hall said.
The school’s principal, Brandon Graham, brushed off the criticism saying that the assignment was only part of comparative religion and that they teach all of the five major religions. He also noted that the brochure assignment was not intended to actually be shown to any 3rd graders and was solely for use in the high school class.
“The assignment was to cover the five major world religions: The religions included Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam,” principal Graham said. “In our social studies classes, we certainly study all those religions to learn how a people, group and culture function. It helps us understand culture.”
The explanations did not satisfy the mother, though.
“I was SHOCKED when my daughter showed me the pamphlet that she was required to make promoting Islam in a way 3rd graders could comprehend,” wrote Hall. “As a mother who teaches her children that the One True Creator God is the GOD of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, it made me sick to my stomach to see my daughter promoting another god (Allah) as the One True Creator on a pamphlet!”
Ultimately, Mrs. Hall had a meeting with the principal and felt that some equitable compromises were had between them.
In one case she noted that the principal promised that from now on the course would make clear that the beliefs of Islam were not necessarily a “truth” and will be presented as “what Muslims believe.”
“In the meeting, Dr. Brandon Graham and others in attendance carefully listened to my concerns and are considering making some changes,” Mrs. Hall wrote on Tuesday. “One change discussed was adding a disclaimer on the Introducing Islam packet stating: “this is what the Islam religion believes”, and also the ‘PAMPHLET’ assignment will be discussed when they do their annual re-evaluation of assignments for next year.”
Hall also clarified why she deleted the older posts complaining about the assignment.
“Dr. Brandon Graham has asked me to remove my initial Facebook post and I have honored his request by removing the post from my Facebook page. My intention was not to cause negative publicity to the school district, but only to speak up, ask questions, and stand firm for what I believe.”