Dispute Over Islam Homework Assignment Raises Questions About Public School Curriculum

A local dispute over a high school homework assignment made national headlines when parents in Virginia complained that a teacher was attempting to “indoctrinate” their children with the Muslim religion.

“The sheet she gave out was pure doctrine in its origin,” Kimberly Herndon, mother of a 9th grade boy at the high school, told ABC affiliate WHSV.

“I will not have my children sit under a woman who indoctrinates them with the Islam religion when I am a Christian.”

The controversy began at Riverside High School in Staunton, Va., when students in a world geography class were asked to copy the Islamic statement of faith as a way to give students “an idea of the artistic complexity of calligraphy.”

The statement of faith translates as follows, according to CNN: “There is no god but Allah, and Mohammed is the messenger of Allah.”

The school said that the homework assignment led to “voluminous phone calls and electronic mail” from parents in the district and beyond. Eventually, out of abundant caution, the local sheriff’s office and school administration decided to close Augusta County schools on Friday, Dec. 18.