The issues related to Islam are becoming more and more controversial. On one hand, people are so afraid of Muslims that they are ready to jump out of the windows and flee away in panic, but on the other hand, they show cruel attitude towards the followers of Islam. Islam in the world and attitudes towards Muslims have become the most discussed topics of the past few months. The recent conflict in Syria has raised difficult moral problems, forcing every individual to make their own moral choice, at least in their minds.
A recent occurrence at the Riverheads High School reflected one of such controversial issues related to Islam. Cheryl LaPorte, a longtime teacher in Augusta County, Virginia, decided to give a calligraphy assignment in her World Geography class. The task was to copy the Islamic shahada (statement of faith). Because of this, the entire Augusta County school district was closed last Friday, a week after the assignment was given.
In English shahada means “There is no other God but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet.” The problem is that the recitation of shahada is a part of conversion to Islam. But, as reported, students were not asked to recite it, just to copy it. However, many Christian parents were outraged by such violation of their children’s religious beliefs. Virginia Department of Education examined the material and found it appropriate for the lesson; no evidence of violating the children’s religious rights was detected. Nonetheless, this analysis convinced no one.
One of the activists at the Good News Ministries church, Greenville, said the false doctrine should not be taught in schools, and she was not giving up on the situation. Due to numerous calls and e-mails, the authorities decided to cancel lessons last Friday. It is important to add that no specific threats were made to students, and parents seem to be more concerned about this occasion than the children themselves. While Islam in the world is connected to many controversies, such situations should be lessons for all people to be more tolerable towards religious beliefs and each other.