Parents and Christian pastors in the Houston area are angry after a local junior high school forced students to attend what they describe as an indoctrination to Islam.
Pastor Dave Welch, executive director of the Houston Area Pastor Council, is just one of those angry over a presentation by two female representatives of the Council on American-Islamic Relations that students at the Friendswood Junior High School were forced to attend two weeks ago.
"The specific details, as we were given by the students, included teachings that Adam, Noah, and Jesus were all prophets like Mohammed; the basic tenets of Islam; the process of how to pray five times a day; again, the pillars of Islam. These were specific, religious instructions," Welch explains.
Welch says Principal Robin Lowe explained to parents, who initially complained, that the assembly was held to deal with comments some students had made that were insensitive to Arab students. "This was not just cultural issues of the manners and ways of Arab culture. This was Islamic teaching," says the Houston pastor. "That was the issue that, obviously, raised great concern. This was forced religious instruction and [what we call] Islamic ... 'indoctrination.'"
Even more egregious, Welch says, is the fact that the principal was allegedly ordered by the superintendent of the school district not to allow the pro-Islam assembly, but did so anyway.
"Because ... we have now verified that the principal did, in fact, act in direct contradiction and violation of the expressed direction of the superintendent, in addition to violating the policies, we're supporting the call for her removal. She just has lost the trust and violated the trust of the parents and the students to operate in this capacity," the pastor adds.
He also notes the double standard that would have existed in this situation had Islam been replaced with Christianity. Welch says he has no doubt there would be an "uprising" -- not to mention reprimands or firings of school personnel -- if Christian pastors were in a classroom setting, teaching on Christian doctrine and theology.
"Lawsuits would be engaged in by organizations from the left [if that happened]," he suggests. "So the double standard is obviously one issue we're deeply concerned about in this -- and we're just not going to let this go," Welch says.
According to Welch, several parents' groups are also demanding that the principal resign or be fired.