Islamic Shariah law is largely incompatible with Western society and democratic forms of government that respect the rights of all individuals, but there are nevertheless those in the U.S. who attempt to portray the Muslim practices in a positive light, a trend increasingly appearing in public schools across the country.
The Courier-Journal recently reported on a number of parents who became greatly concerned after seeing a worksheet that had been handed out to seventh grade students at the Highland Hills Middle School in New Albany, Indiana, that seemed to glorify Shariah law.
Numerous parents expressed their opinion on the matter at a recent New Albany-Floyd County School Board meeting, and they were not happy about it.
"The way that the worksheet is left would be like describing how effective Hitler was at nationalizing Germany and creating patriotism but leaving out that he slaughtered six million Jews," said Dean Hohl, whose daughter received the worksheet. "I'm just not OK with my daughter — or any child that age — leaving class with the understanding that anything about Shariah law is OK."
The worksheet focused on a fictional 20-year-old Saudi Arabian woman who considered herself "very fortunate" to live under Shariah law. Her tale revolved around her preparations to become the second wife of a Saudi man, how she enjoyed dressing modestly and how she viewed Western women's clothing as "horribly immodest."
Calling the paper borderline propaganda, WXIN reported that parent Jon Baker said, "If you read that, you would think everything's wonderful in that world."
A spokesman for the school district, Bill Briscoe, informed the media that the curriculum in question would undergo a review, citing parental complaints and district policies.
According to EAGnews, this actually wasn't the first time the same pro-Shariah worksheet had sparked controversy, as parents at a school in Smyrna, Georgia, became enraged when the sheet was handed out to their students in 2011.
The worksheet was created by Sharon Coletti, president of InspirEd Educations, who said she planned to remove the worksheet from her company's curriculum, though she did try to defend the worksheet by claiming it was intended to spark discussion about stereotypes and oppression, not to indoctrinate students or glorify a way of life overwhelmingly rejected by the vast majority of Americans.
But the parents have held firm in their opposition to the very premise of the worksheet and insisted that if schools teach children about Islam and Shariah law, it should provide all pertinent information, both positive and negative, so as to better inform students about the differences between moderate Muslims and extremists.
"Let's tell the whole truth," said Hohl. "Let's help people understand what's really happening and what the rest of the world is like, so when they are interacting with the rest of their global peer group we can reduce the likelihood of conflict and misunderstanding."
We couldn't agree more.