Why Schools Need to Teach Islam and Other Religions

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Parents in schools around the country are outraged that their children are being taught the religion of Islam. These parents are saying public schools are trying to indoctrinate their kids. The amount of ignorance surrounding education and world religions is unbelievable.  Students need to learn about Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism in order to understand other cultures and other people.  If lessons like this are not taught, we will have a generation of uneducated, ignorant, and biased citizens.

 

The biggest complaint is that other religions, mainly Christianity, are not being given equal time.  According to the standards in all states that is not true.  In Georgia, where this has become a major issue in middle schools, the standards say: “Teachers should “compare and contrast the prominent religions in the Middle East: Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. The teachers resource guide advises ‘This element is not an evaluation of any religion, nor is it a course in the belief system of any religion.” The teachers are giving the facts and basic ideals of major religions.

A parents said that what was being taught went against her beliefs. That mother needs to use this as a teachable moment. Kids, guess what, you won’t agree with everything you learn about in school. Mom, your kids may have to read a novel you didn’t like or study a period of history that is difficult to deal with (Slavery in the US for instance).  We cannot limit our children’s knowledge to only the easy things or the things we agree with.  Do these parents really belief that students will be converted based on a lesson or two on religion? What does this say about how the parents are teaching their own faith to their children?

According to one teacher these lessons are usually the first, unbiased study many students have of various religions.  They learn about the commonalities between Islam, Christianity, and Judaism and are surprised how alike they are.  It is important that teachers remain neutral and not insert their opinions on the various religions.  Learning about the facts of a religion is far different than sitting in a church service. Education is not indoctrination.

A father wrote on Facebook that he thought the school was teaching half truths. “It seemed like half the truth to me, they didn’t talk about the extreme Islamics.” They aren’t called Islamics, but Muslims.  Extremists are a part of all religions, remember learning about the Crusades? Those were extreme Christians who murdered thousands of women, children, and men who were other religions.  Most teachers cover extremists when they talk about 9/11 and terrorism.

The bottom line is that parents need to stop protesting outside of schools over what is being taught, but talk with their kids about what they are learning. A person with no knowledge of the facts is ignorant.  What happens when a student shows up to college and cannot support and defend their beliefs? As long as teachers give equal and fair time to each religion, there should be no problem with religion being taught in schools.  If you are a family with strong beliefs, talk with your children about what they are learning. Use these lessons as teachable moments.  These parents seem to be spending a lot of time complaining about what their children are learning and very little time leading their children in the direction of their own faith.

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