Due to a wave of hostile criticism, the Augusta County School District in Virginia has cancelled classes today.
The Huffington Post is reporting today,
A Virginia school district closed all of its schools and offices after an outcry over a high school geography lesson that included an example of Arabic religious calligraphy.
The lesson, which was part of a world geography class at Riverheads High School, asked the students to copy the Arabic letters that translate to: “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”
The school said the lesson wasn’t to promote Islam but to study “the artistic complexity of the calligraphy,” superintendent Eric Bond said in a news release cited by the News Leader newspaper.
In addition, the Virginia Department of Education confirmed to the Daily Progress that the lesson met state geography standards, which require learning the language and religion of each region under study.
But some parents were outraged.
“I will not have my children sit under a woman who indoctrinates them with the Islam religion when I am a Christian, and I’m going to stand behind Christ,” Kimberly Herndon, an Augusta County parent, told CBS 6.
Meanwhile, Salon is reporting,
An Evangelical Christian college suspended a tenured professor for insisting that Christians and Muslims “worship the same God,” echoing the pope.
Dr. Larycia Alaine Hawkins is an associate professor of political science at Wheaton College, an Evangelical private liberal arts school in Wheaton, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. She has taught at the school for seven years.
Last week, in the midst of a wave of anti-Muslim attacks and hate crimes, Hawkins announced that she would publicly wear a hijab, a traditional Islamic headscarf, in solidarity with Muslims during the Christian season of Advent.
Hawkins said she asked the leading Muslim civil rights organization the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) “whether a non-Muslim wearing the hijab was haram (forbidden), patronizing, or otherwise offensive to Muslims,” and noted she “was assured by my friends at CAIR-Chicago that they welcomed the gesture.”
“I don’t love my Muslim neighbor because s/he is American. I love my Muslim neighbor because s/he deserves love by virtue of her/his human dignity,” Hawkins wrote in a Dec. 10 Facebook post explaining her decision.
“I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book,” she added. “And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God.”
“As I tell my students, theoretical solidarity is not solidarity at all,” Hawkins explained. “Thus, beginning tonight, my solidarity has become embodied solidarity.”
Hawkins’ act of inter-religious solidarity went viral, and was covered in a variety of news outlets.
Her school, on the other hand, was not enthused by Hawkins’ finding common cause with Muslims.
I am speechless.
What do you think?