Daily Caller, Eric Owens, October 3, 2016:
Newly-revised world history and social studies standards for taxpayer-funded Tennessee middle schools will no longer include teaching students the Five Pillars of Islam while pointedly ignoring the basic tenets of Christianity.
A group of teacher created the draft of Tennessee’s new “Islamic World” standards, reports Nashville CBS affiliate WTVF.
Students will also no longer be required to learn about the teachings of Muhammad; the Quran, Islam’s primary text; or the Sunnah, a statement of Muslim religious practices.
Other rejected curriculum standards include material about the political rise of Islam, the geography of the Arabian Peninsula and differences between the Sunnis.
According to the Kingsport Times-News, the new draft standards will include excerpts from “The Hadith” — various sayings attributed to Muhammad — and from “The Book of Golden Meadows,” a collection of anecdotes by Arab historian and geographer Al-Masudi which charts the beginning of the world from Adam and Eve through the later period of the Abbasid Caliphate.
Also, Tennessee middle schoolers will have to be able to “explain the importance of the Malian king, Mansa Musa, and his pilgrimage to Mecca in 1324” and to “describe the diffusion of Islam, its culture and the Arabic language.”
State Board of Education policy director Laura Encalade described the revisions as but a small part of “a wide variety of changes to the standards” “across all grade levels and content areas,” according to WTVF.
Kasar Abdullah, a Muslim living in the Nashville area, expressed disappointment that all Tennessee children will no longer be required to learn about the teachings of Muhammad in public schools.
“How does it impact that Muslim child who never seems to hear anything about who they are?” Abdullah asked in an interview with the CBS affiliate, “It seems to me it tells that child you’re not important.”
“The question we should ask ourselves is what is the purpose of our schools our institutions,” Abdullah also said. “Are we to teach our students just a singular narrative?”
In a press release sent to The Daily Caller last week, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) described Tennessee’s proposed new curriculum standards as “Islamophobia.”
Last fall CAIR called on Tennessee residents to oppose state legislation that would have prevented public schools from teaching the principles of Islam and every other religion until students reach the 10th grade. (RELATED: CAIR Demands Tennessee 7th Graders Learn ‘Muhammad Is The Messenger Of God’)
The legislation authored by Republican Sheila Butt was largely in response to a grassroots campaign across the state by parents — primarily evangelical parents — against what they perceive as an inappropriate focus on Islam in history and social studies courses in taxpayer-funded middle schools.
Complaining parents from across Tennessee had expressed alarm because their children in public middle schools were learning about the Five Pillars of Islam in a world history and social studies classes. (The first and most important pillar is roughly translated as: “There is no god but God. Muhammad is the messenger of God.” (RELATED: Public School Parents Angry After Middle Schoolers Instructed To Write ‘ALLAH IS THE ONLY GOD’)
The angry parents observed that the state’s curriculum material pointedly ignores Christianity. At no point do Tennessee middle school students study Christianity per se, they said. There is not, for example, one class day dedicated to the basic Jesus story.
A local school district official, Jan Hanvey, told The Daily Herald that students in Maury County students would eventually come across a reference to Christianity when history teachers reach the “Age of Exploration” in eighth grade. Then, Hanvey said, students hear about Christians persecuting other Christians in some countries in Western Europe.
A committee appointed by Tennessee state lawmakers is expected to give final approval to the new standards after a public comment period ends on Oct. 28.
After final approval, local school districts will draft their own local curriculums, based on the new state standards, and choose textbooks.
Some 17,000 people have already viewed the draft standards online, notes WTVF. (All of the standards are available here.)
For reasons that are not entirely clear, Tennessee appears to be an epicenter for America’s continuing encounter with Islam.
In July 2015, lone Muslim gunman Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, a 24-year-old naturalized citizen from Kuwait, brutally murdered four Marines at a military recruiting center and a Naval reserve center in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Back in February, leaders of ISIS took to the group’s propaganda magazine to urge followers to assassinate Houston, Texas-born Yasir Qadhi, a professor who teaches at Rhodes College in Memphis. (RELATED: ISIS Is Now Threatening To Murder A COLLEGE PROFESSOR IN TENNESSEE)
In 2013, officials at Sunset Elementary School in the affluent Nashville suburb of Brentwood rescinded a ban on delicious pork just one day after it went into effect because parents complained. The parents and other locals believed that the prohibition on pork had been an attempt to defer to the sensibilities of unidentified Muslim students. (RELATED: Tennessee Elementary School Lifts Fatwa Against Pork After Parents Complain)
Over 80 percent of the residents of Tennessee identify as Christian, according to a 2014 Pew poll. About one percent of Volunteer State residents call themselves Muslim.
CAIR is most notable, of course, because the organization was listed by the U.S. government as an unindicted co-conspirator in a scheme that provided funding to the terror group Hamas.
In 2014, the United Arab Emirates officially designated 83 groups as terrorist organizations, including CAIR.