Imagine calling the terrorists responsible for the deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans on Sept. 11, 2011 freedom fighters?
That's the interpretation of a geography teacher in the Lumberton, Texas who instructed her students to use that name when referring to Muslim terrorists. A number of Christian parents feel the teacher took her lesson on Islam too far by making that claim and also having female students dress in burqas and other Muslim clothing.
After a photograph showing students in the world geography class wearing Islamic garb was posted on Facebook, one parent of the daughter who posted the photo felt the teacher crossed the line with her lesson. The teacher reportedly taught that a freedom fighter is one who gives his life for the Holy War, and that they're going to go to heaven.
Another parent found it remarkable that a Christian student who wants to pray must do it outside of school hours while Islam is being taught to the children during class time. The parent charged the district with saturating her daughter, "an American Christian child," with Islam.
In a statement, the district said: "The lesson that was offered focused on exposing students to world cultures, religions, customs, and belief systems - clothing expresses the individual culture. The lesson is not teaching a specific religion, and the students volunteered to wear the clothing."
The principal's claim that the lesson was required by the state prompted Texas Sen. Dan Patrick to launch an investigation which showed that it wasn't a requirement. The program was reportedly required under CSCOPE, a controversial electronic curriculum system that provides online lesson plans for teachers.
The school lesson shocked Patrick, who posed the question, "Imagine if a Muslim student was told to dress up like a priest?"
The 15-year-old student in the photograph said she wasn't upset with the burqa used as a visual reference for the lesson but that it was used as the key to opening up and examining the Islamic faith.
The girl's parent found it "scary" that the superintendent could let such a controversial subject slip through the cracks.
The superintendent defended the teacher, saying he was not aware of the specific comments made about the 9/11 hijackers but that the attack had other sides of interpretation and that the whole idea behind the lesson was to open a discussion on whether the Islamic terrorists were actually freedom fighters carrying out a revolutionary campaign.
The superintendent said he agreed that 9/11 was a terrorist attack, but while Americans see it as an act of terrorism, other cultures see it as a revolutionary event. He cited the Boston Tea Party, whereby the Americans were considered revolutionaries but in British eyes they were seen as terrorists attacking the English crown.
But one parent raised an important point from a Christian perspective. If a teacher is allowed to tell students about how important Mecca is, why can't he or she then talk about how important Christianity was in the founding of our nation? He described Lumberton as a small town where there is a Christian church on every corner, but was shocked that "right in our small school this is going on."
He's not alone. There are many other concerned parents who feel that our schools are being infiltrated by liberal thought which carries a definite anti-Christian world view.
By Jim Zbick