Huntington Beach school district apologizes for use of song about Islam.
A high school teacher in Orange County, California has landed herself in the midst of a controversy over Islam. The teacher, an employee of the Ocean View School District, was doing a lesson on world religions for her seventh grade class.
During one of their classes, the teacher was trying to educate her children regarding the religion of Islam using a song she created. The song, titled “This Is Our Fight Song” included lyrics as follows:
“Like a sandstorm in the desert, sending camels into motion,
like how a single faith can make a heart open,
they might only have one god,
but they can make an explosion.”
After writing up the entire song, she presented it to the students and instructed them to learn it and then sing it in class. So when children wrote it in their notebooks and took it home, parents and grandparents were not happy.
One parent, Nichole Negron, used Facebook to post pictures of the lyrics of the song, expressing her disapproval. While she has no issue against Islam in general, she felt it was wrong of the teacher to impose her beliefs upon the students. She told the Ocean View School District Board at a meeting Tuesday night that she was quite upset with the song. In her words, “I believe that by singing this song, the children feel comfortable believing that Allah might be the only god and maybe that they should start following Him. And that I’m not okay with.”
This exercise was part of their social studies class in which all the major religions of the world are taught and discussed. This includes Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, and Christianity. The lesson on Islam could not have come at a more unfortunate time when Islamophobia is at its highest peak. After a meeting which took place between the school board, the parents, and the teacher, the school and education officials have issued a statement of apology. Superintendent Carol Hansen said, “I apologize on behalf of the district if the song used in the World History lesson may have offended anyone. It was not the intention of the teacher to incite, anger or offend.”
Ojaala Ahmad, who is the communication coordinator of the Los Angeles office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations has also given her view on this issue. While she believes that the teacher’s intention of teaching her students about Islam was a good idea, it was not a smart move to use the term “explosion” in the song lyrics. In this way, the students would also start believing that Muslims in fact actually believe in violence and terrorism.