Florida Dad Protests Islam Lessons in Son's H.S. History Class
The father of a Florida high schooler says students were required to recite an Islamic prayer in a 10th grade history class.
"Students were instructed to recite this prayer as the first Pillar of Islam, off of the board at the teacher's instruction," Ron Wagner said.
He said that his son's world history book at Lyman High School has a chapter dedicated to the "Rise of Islam," which includes prayers and scriptures from the Koran.
"For it to be mandatory and part of the curriculum and in the textbooks, didn't seem right," Wagner said, adding that the book doesn't contain similar sections about Judaism and Christianity.
Wagner said he became concerned when he noticed a text message reminder from the teacher to his son about completing a prayer rug assignment and studying an Islam packet.
Inside of the book is a chapter dedicated to the "Rise of Islam," including prayers and scriptures from the Quran. What's more disturbing for Wagner is that the first 100 pages discussing Judaism and Christianity are missing. The district blames a manufacturer defect in 68 books that are only a year old.
According to Wagner, Dr. Michael Blasewitz, who oversees the high school curriculum, said, "The Pillars of Islam are benchmarks in the state curriculum."
Wagner's concerns prompted a district investigation that found the teacher never tried to indoctrinate or convert students.
Some other students interviewed by administrators said they were not required to recite the prayer aloud. They did discuss a video played during class about the religion, but Blasewitz got frustrated and stormed out when 9 Investigates asked whether the district is considering changes to the curriculum.
"You're just going to walk away from our interview when we're trying to get information," said investigative reporter Daralene Jones.
Before Blasewitz walked out, he further justified the curriculum, saying students learn specific Judaism doctrine, the Bible and its scriptures, in earlier school years.
"If anything, it's a little imbalanced toward Christianity and Judaism," Blasewitz said.
Harris Zafar, vice-president at Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA, told Elisabeth Hasselbeck on "Fox and Friends" this morning that he applauds the school teaching Islam.
"We actually applaud any teachers that are providing a well-rounded education to our children," he said. "I mean, it's not just learning about one thing, but a comprehensive knowledge on such a matter."
Radio talk show host Tammy Bruce countered by saying "there's a difference with teaching about a religion, and teaching a religion."
Watch the "Fox and Friends" clip above.
The "Outnumbered" panel also weighed in on this story today.
"I don't think there's anything on its face that's wrong with saying, 'Look, these are all the different types of religion,' Arthur Aidala said.
Kennedy agreed and said that she believes 10th graders - 16 or 17-year-olds - are old enough and mature enough to learn about other faiths, especially in a historical context.
Andrea Tantaros pointed out that the textbooks the students are learning from are "defective," since they're missing 100 pages that cover Judaism and Christianity, but she agreed with Kennedy and Aidala that many people in America don't know enough about Islam.
"Who are we fighting over there? How did this religion get perverted? What do they believe?" Tantaros remarked, reiterating that the course should cover other major religions equally, not just Islam.
Elizabeth McDonald noted that there's a difference between teaching about a religion and actually going deeply into the tenets of a faith.
What do you think about teaching Islam in high school classrooms? Let us know in the comments.