Augusta County schools are closed Friday after a slew of calls and emails stemming from a controversial assignment involving Arabic, according to WVIR.
Some Augusta County parents raised concerns on Tuesday after calling a student assignment anti-American. Some called it an Islamic indoctrination, but the school superintendent says the assignments are cultural lessons, not a religious statement.
“When I saw the language, the Arabic language, immediately, I had a bad feeling come over me,” concerned parent Kimberly Herndon told WVIR.
The assignment involved ninth-grade students at Riverheads High School to copy the Shahada. “She told us the paper meant faith, so we didn’t think anything of it,” ninth-grader Laurel Truxell said. Students found out they translated a message that said, “There is no other God but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger.”
The assignment also involved students dressing up, wearing the Hijab, according to WVIR.
Parent Kimberly Herndon shared her feelings about the assignment on Facebook, which was shared more than 770 times:
I am preparing to confront the county on this issue of the Muslim indoctrination taking place here in an Augusta county school. This evil has been cloked in the form of multiculturism. My child was given the creed of the Islam faith to copy. This creed that is translated ; There is no god but Allah. Mohammed was Allah’s messenger. This is recited during their pledge to the Islamic faith. This creed is connected to Jihad in that it is the chant that is shouted while beheading those of Christian faith, or people of the cross as being called by ISIS. Christian girls in this class were called to volunteer to adorn the apparal of Muslim women. Unknowingly these children did so. Also unknowingly they were instructed to denounce our Lord by copying this creed of Islam.
Many times in my life I have asked the Lord why am I who I am? Why am I so often confronted with wrong and have the unquenchable desire to speak out. God makes us who we are for a reason. He perfects us through fire to do His work for His kingdom. I have failed many times in his assignments. I have apologized for who I am many times. Not today. I will not apologize for my anointment from the Lord. Am I qualified to handle something like this? I do have some qualifications in my skill set however, I never thought I would be in this position. God doesn’t call the qualified he qualifies the called. I am confident in Him because I know He goes before me. He will be there. The only thing I have ever done right in my life has been to obey. Blessed be the name of THE LORD. THE LORD OF LORDS AND THE KING OF KINGS. THERE IS POWER IN HIS NAME AND HE IS WORTHY OF ALL PRAISE.
Her post sparked a community meeting Tuesday night. “These children were deceived when they were told it was calligraphy. This is not calligraphy. This is a language.”
The Superintendent for Augusta County Schools issued a statement saying, “neither these lessons, nor any other lesson in the world geography course, are an attempt at indoctrination to Islam or any other religion, or a request for students to renounce their own faith or profess any belief.” The superintendent said students will have similar assignments when studying other cultures.