A Texas school has come under fire for reportedly inviting female students to dress in abayas and refer to Islamist extremists as “freedom fighters.”
State Senator Dan Patrick told Fox news that he is disturbed by Facebook photos, posted by one of the students, which showed pupils dressed in Islamic garb in a geography class.
One student quoted a teacher’s reasoning for the directive as, “we are working to change your perception of Islam,” according to local news website WND.com.
The lesson plan was provided by CSCOPE, a company which controls the curriculum in around 80 percent of Texan classrooms.
CSCOPE has already been the subject of heated debate and state legislative hearings due to parental uproar over some of its curriculum content.
“I felt like the line had been crossed,” a parent told Fox. “Christian kids who want to pray have to do it outside of school hours — yet Islam is being taught to our kids during school hours.”
This parent questions why Islam is being taught in a geography class at all.
“She (the daughter) went from learning about Mexico to learning about Russia to learning about Islam,” he told Fox. “Islam is not a country. Islam is not a continent.”
CSCOPE has come under fire for the perceived pro-Islamic nature of their curriculum content, critics argue that it is agenda driven.
As per the curriculum, students were asked to write a paper on Egypt. According to one pupil they were instructed to discuss the merits of the Muslim Brotherhood and the pitfalls of democracy in the country.
“Parents are very sensitive to any issue that seems to be anti-American — that blames democracy for some sort of trouble in the world,” Patrick told Fox.
The school district released a defensive statement to Fox News: “The lesson that was offered focused on exposing students to world cultures, religions, customs and belief systems. The lesson is not teaching a specific religion, and the students volunteered to wear the clothing.”
According to a press statement, jointly released by the Senator, the State Board of Education and CSCOPE representatives, the online curriculum provider ultimately agreed to “significant changes.” However, it is unclear what these change will be.