Fear Factor

Last week, I reported on Jay Sekulow and the ACLJ’s attempt to profit off of fear of imagined Islamic indoctrination in Tennessee schools.

Rather than provide concrete examples of such indoctrination or respond to facts about long-standing state standards, Sekulow and his bunch of so-called religious liberty defenders are continuing the fight — the fight to get donations by way of stirring up fear.

Here’s the latest from a recent post on the ACLJ’s website:

The blatantly unconstitutional promotion of Islam in schools has garnered substantial national attention forcing the Tennessee State Board of Education to review the standards earlier than planned.

In response to questions and concerns we’ve received  from parents in Tennessee, we have sent over 146 “open records” requests to school superintendents—one request to every school district in Tennessee.

The ACLJ is requesting the information under the Tennessee Open Records Act.

We are asking  for information on exactly what students are learning about Islam and other world religions, how students are being taught this information, and what resources teachers are using.

We want to get to the bottom of this indoctrination. Where is it coming from and why is it happening?

In our letters, we are asking  for comprehensive records from school officials concerning the teaching of Islam. Specifically, among other requests, we asked that school officials provide us with:

“Any and all records concerning assignments or activities in which students of [your school district] are asked and/or required to recite prayers and/or chants, speak in Arabic or other foreign language(s), or engage in any other speech and/or conduct associated with any world religion.”

Make no mistake, the ACLJ is seeking to intimidate school districts and the state in order to gain control over curriculum. By making broad requests that may require individual teachers to produce lesson plans, ACLJ likely suspects some districts and schools will change their practices regarding current social studies instruction. Note the fact that ACLJ isn’t concerned about other world religions, only, in their own words they are, “asking  for comprehensive records from school officials concerning the teaching of Islam.”

As I noted in my last post on this topic:

With all this supposed indoctrination going on, where’s the evidence that students have converted to Islam? And then, do they convert to Buddhism later on in the semester when that subject is taught?

And now, this question: Should students only learn about Western Civilization and not the cultures with which it intersected?

Finally, with all the evidence of indoctrination that ACLJ surely expects to find in their review of documents from local districts, one wonders where all these Islamic indoctrinating Tennessee teachers are coming from and why they chose our state for their conversion experiment?

For more on education politics and policy in Tennessee, follow @TNEdReport



2 thoughts on “Fear Factor


    However, the state has passed mandates on what they will be tested on for the new standards test that replaces TCAP and they are required to learn those things on that test.

    So, the teachers have to teach it. And, while I understand what the school boards mean about their purpose is not indoctrinating or converting students to Islam, and that they have to teach some of the religious aspects in order for the students to learn the history, I still don’t understand why it is being taught in a biased way.

    1) They teach the pillars in order to understand the history of Islam, but do not teach the equivalent of that in Christianity (the 10 commandments) in order for the students to know about the history of Christianity. This applies to the other religions as well (Buddhism, Hinduism, and Judaism).

    2) They spend barely a week on Christianity & Judaism (Chapter 4), but they spend 3 weeks on Islam alone (Chapter 5). They haven’t reached Hinduism/Buddhism yet (Chapter 9), so there’s no telling how long they will spend on that yet.

    3) They teach of the prophet of Mohammed and his teachings, however, the equivalent in Christianity is Jesus Christ, and he is not found anywhere in the text.

    4) They have tested questions on Islam for the new TN standard test this year and it is mandated and includes questions on the Pillars. I’m sure it will include other questions that are not historical also. However, from what I’ve read, there are no mandates or questions for the TN standard test equivalent to Christianity in this nature.

    5) My child will have a project on Islam and it’s teaching this year. There are no projects to my knowledge scheduled this year for other religions. I don’t know what this project is going to be on exactly at my child’s school. But in Spring Hill, TN, the world history project was based around the Five Pillars. The first and most important pillar — the Shahada in Arabic — is roughly translated as: “There is no god but God. Muhammad is the messenger of God.”

    This bothers me. There is clear biased in the text and what the students are being tested on.

    • What bothers me is the State Board legitimizing fear based on speculation — are the 5 Pillars are a part of Islam? Yes. Then, it’s history. Have Tennessee students been learning about the Islamic faith (and others) in the context of world history for years: YES. I’m not sure what all the concern is now about some supposed level of indoctrination when students in 6th and 7th grade have been covering world religions for years. These standards were developed by Tennessee educators and the textbooks are recommended to districts and local teachers at the district level choose them. Do those teachers seek out texts that present religion in a biased way? That seems to be your argument. Perhaps Islam is covered over a longer time period because of the many significant interactions between Muslims and Christians that shaped not only the Western world, but also the Middle East. I would encourage you to talk to teachers in your school district — have they been concerned in the past about the way religion is presented in texts? Do they think the approved texts (locally adopted) are biased in some way or do those texts accurately reflect the historical significance of various religions?

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