A lawsuit has been filed against social-studies teacher Christine Jakowski and others in the Chatham School District in New Jersey for teaching public school students that Islam is "the true faith."
Jakowski's lesson included an explanation on how to become a Muslim and ended with a plea: "May god help us all find the true faith, Islam. Ameen."
The Thomas More Law Center said its complaint was filed on behalf of Libby Hilsenrath and her son, a minor, after seventh-grade students at the school "were forced to endure Islamic propaganda and an explicit call to convert to Islam."
It came during the World Cultures and Geography class.
Richard Thompson, president of Thomas More, explained: "What would people say if our public schools taught Christianity as the true faith? After watching this video, I can't imagine any reasonable person saying this is not Islamic indoctrination. Chatham Middle School made a mockery of the First Amendment's Establishment Clause."
He said that when Hilsenrath brought her concerns to the school board's attention, on Feb. 6, 2017, they were disregarded.
She then appeared on "The Tucker Carlson Show" on the Fox News Channel on Feb. 20, 2017, "to express her concerns to the nation" and "the school community pilloried her."
"Clueless school administrators across our nation are allowing this type of indoctrination to take place, and it's up to vigilant and courageous parents like Libby Hilsenrath to stop it," Thompson said.
The case charges violations of the First Amendment.
"Defendants assailed the First Amendment, despite the opposition of plaintiff, by forcing children to endure the promotion of Islam in the public schools, including an explicit and direct call to the children for conversion to the religion of Islam."
The case seeks a declaratory judgment that such actions are in violation of the students' constitutional rights and an injunction preventing it from happening again.
The class was assigned videos to watch online, and Hilsenrath found her child directed to "Intro to Islam," a video promoting the religion and claiming that it is superior to all others.
"This nearly five-minute long video seeks to convert viewers to Islam and is filled with the religious teachings of Islam presented, not as beliefs, but as facts," the complaint asserts.
Among the statements made:
- "Allah is the one God who created the heavens and the earth, who has no equal and is all powerful."
- "Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is the last & final Messenger of God. God gave him the Noble Quran."
- "Lo, We have sent thee (O Muhammad) with the truth, a bringer of glad tidings and a warner."
- "What is the Noble Quran? Divine Revelation sent to Muhammad (S) last Prophet of Allah. A Perfect guide for Humanity."
- The Noble Quran: Guidance, Mercy and Blessing for all Mankind."
- Islam: A shining beacon against the darkness of repression, segregation, intolerance and racism."
Hilsenrath had tried to get the propaganda removed from the class assignment, the complaint states, but she was subjected to personal attacks including those describing her as "hateful," "ignorant," "intolerant," "racist" and "close minded."
TMLC's affiliated New Jersey attorney, Michael Hrycak, filed the lawsuit.
TMLC staff attorney Kate Oliveri, the principle drafter of the federal complaint, observed: "The board of education and other defendants are waging a war against the religious protections afforded by the First Amendment. They attack religious liberty by enticing young school children with a direct call to convert to Islam and providing a step-by-step guide on how to effect that conversion."
One video lesson concludes with, "May God help us all find the true faith, Islam."
The background music includes the poem "Qaseedah Burdah" in Arabic, describing Christians and Jews as "infidels" and praising Muhammad in gruesome detail for slaughtering them.
It claims Muslims "created a tradition of unsurpassable splendor, scientific thought and timeless art" and "Muslims rediscovered the lost sciences of architecture, engineering, medicine, astronomy and agriculture becoming the greatest patrons of science and art in the middles ages while Europe languished in the dark."
The video claims the European Renaissance is based on the work of Muslims.
The Thomas More organization said: "Seventh-grade students were also instructed to view a subtle propaganda cartoon video, 5 Pillars, which included bright, multi-colored words quoting the Islamic conversion creed: 'There is no god except Allah and Prophet Muhammad is his messenger.' The video concludes with text containing contact information for the students of Chatham Middle School to set up their own mosque tour."
One assignment required students fill to fill in the words "Allah" and "Muhammad" in the following statement: "There is no god but [Allah] and [Muhammad] is his messenger."
And it explains that reciting that phrase three times in front of witnesses is "all that anyone need do to become a Muslim."
The lessons completely ignored other Middle East religions, including Christianity and Judaism.
"Any reasonable individual, especially someone with experience or training in how public students are to be educated, would be troubled by a video that includes direct calls for conversion to Islam, doctrinal religious instruction, or references to Christians and Jews as 'infidels' who should be killed," the complaint points out.
Citing multiple constitutional violations, the complaint states, "Defendants did not treat religions neutrally and, in fact, endorsed Islam in their curriculum, conveying the message that Islam is favored or preferred over any other religious belief."