Paranoia vs. Board of Education


Down in Georgia, the big red state I lived in for the past seven and a half years, there arose some tension. A conservative Christian organization called the American Center for Law and Justice is concerned that school children are being indoctrinated into the Muslim faith through the curriculum.


Kids in the Atlanta area (typically in middle school) learn about the three Abrahamic religions and how they compare and contrast, as well as their influence on societies across the globe. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports have to learn about the cultures of the Middle East for those purposes. They just do. It’s part of the curriculum. I remember it from when I was in seventh grade.

What initially sparked the conflict was a homework assignment in Walton County that points out that the “Allah” (Arabic translation) is the same deity worshiped by Christians and Jews. This is correct. The three faiths are called the “Abrahamic” religions because they all have those same roots.

“Allah is the _____ worshiped by Jews and Christians,” was what the assignment read, and “same god” was the correct response.

Naturally, the ACLJ, with all their American Conservative Christian outrage, was like


American Center for Law and Justice:

“State education standards require education on Islam, not indoctrination into the religion. Rather than explain the history of world religions, schools are reportedly forcing students to learn the Five Pillars of Islam–the creed one must learn to convert–and teaching students that Allah is the same God worshiped by Jews and Christians.”

Michelle Kind, parent of student:

“My daughter had to learn the [Shahada] and the Five Pillars of Islam, which is what you learn to convert…But they never once learned anything about the Ten Commandments or anything about God.”

Finally, on the ACLJ’s website, I found this nugget:

“the core tenets of Islam are being taught in public schools in a way that could violate the U.S. Constitution. Other religions, such as Christianity, are barely covered.”

Hold up.

These people don’t want their kids learning the facts about world religions because they think it equates to “forcing” them to be “indoctrinated.” But they’re also angry that the kids aren’t learning the Ten Commandments? Essentially what I’m hearing is, “My twelve-year-old can learn about religion, but only our religion.”

I could be wrong about that. But having lived in Georgia, it would not surprise me that people are so grounded in their Christianity that they would not have any problem with “indoctrination” into it. These are likely the same people that blame all the educational problems on the fact that “we took prayer out of schools.”

The part of the story that caught Walton County (and the newspapers) off-guard was that NOTHING IN THE CURRICULUM HAS CHANGED. Middle Eastern culture, along with the influence and origins of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, have been a thing for the last nine years. District spokeswoman Kim Embry told the Journal Constitution, “If you’re learning about the Middle East, it’s very difficult not tot teach about Islam.” The district started receiving calls from people who don’t even have children in the schools. It’s already stressful enough to work for a school system.

It makes everything more stressful when these special interest groups push their way in to give you a hard time. I was taught these lessons, and I am not a Muslim today. That applies to probably everyone who ever sat in those classrooms who was not already a Muslim. I’m looking at this for what it is: blatant fear of Islam.


The ACLJ claims that they will “not stop [until students’] constitutionally protected rights have been restored.” They referred readers to their booklet about “Shari’ah’s law’s threat to our constitutional freedoms.”

Basically, learning the facts about the Muslim faith goes against the constitution. It’s un-American I guess. Question: why was no one angry about the lessons on Judaism or Christianity? Here’s why: those aren’t the terroist-y ones. And I know I should be remaining impartial, but it’s about time people just started being honest about why they don’t like things.

Maybe it’s the adults who need these lessons. The truth is that while the three Abrahamic faiths are not exactly the same, they are one hundred percent comparable. It is important to be educated on them and where they come from, as they still have an influence on the world today.

One may have to learn the Five Pillars if he or she wishes to convert, but if I looked them up right now and learned them, would that make me a newly indoctrinated Muslim?

No. And if you think it does, there’s probably a name for that logical fallacy.

Our schools and the children in them don’t need to be protected from basic facts about religions, just the same as they don’t need to be protected from this kid:


Let’s get some things straight.

Public schools have a long list of things to do. And converting students to the Muslim faith, I guarantee you, is not one of those things. Public schools are not making Muslims, or Christians, or Jews. They’re making scholars. Or trying to, at least.

I don’t know if people just want something to fight, or if they’re actually this paranoid about things. Either way, it is a pathetic use of time and energy. You want your kid to know the Ten Commandments, teach your kid the Ten Commandments. But if you do, remember that you’re doing the very thing you don’t want the schools to be doing.

The world is complicated enough without us turning non-problematic things into problems.


Before we storm the board of education, and before we yank our children out of certain classrooms, we should remember that school is still school. Let the kids learn.

And hey,

we’re all human.


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