All the schools in Virginia’s Augusta County were closed Friday, December 18, after phone calls and emails were flooded in the office of school district expressing concern students are taught in calligraphy assignment that there is no god but Allah in Arabic.
The assignment in question was of a ninth-grade world geography that involved learning about Islam at Riverheads High School. Students were meant to learn about calligraphy and they used the Shahada, which is an Arabic statement of faith. The statement given to practice calligraphy read controversial when translated in English. It read, “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”
Social media too exploded with angers from parents over the school lesson. Discussions about religion and education have been ignited across the county.
Some of the parents saw the homework as an attempt by the school to convert the students to Islam. It was like a spark. People started demanding firing of the teacher who assigned the work.
According to local newspaper The News Leader, the teacher named Cheryl LaPorte didn’t designed the assignment but collected it from a standard workbook on world religions.
Seeing the mounting emails and phone calls the county school system removed shahada from world religion instruction and said a non-religious sample of Arabic calligraphy will be soon issued which will be completely non-religious.
The county school system also added the school is not trying to convert any student to either Islam or any other religion.
Augusta County Schools official Eric Bond said, “Neither of these lessons, nor any other lessons in the world geography course, is an attempt at indoctrination to Islam or any other religion or a request for students to renounce their own faith or profess any belief.”
Meanwhile, more than 20,000 like-minded parents and others gathered in the sanctuary of Good Will Ministries with Kimberly Herndon who kept her son home from schools to voice grievances against the school and also against the teacher.
Kimberly said the sheet given to her ninth-grade son was pure doctrine in its origin and she will never allow her children to sit under such teacher who introduces Islam religion.
At the school campus worries about security have started mounting. A letter was issued by Augusta County earlier this week on Monday to parents reassuring the schools in county were safe. However, it didn’t refer to the homework assignment.
The letter said, “All doors are locked with the exception of one front door. … Faculty and staff monitor all activities inside and out of the buildings.”
After the December 2 terror attacks in San Bernardino, California, school districts across United States are in a heightened state of alert.
All the Los Angeles public schools remained closed on December 15 after a hoax email threat.