Tennessee Plans to Limit the Teaching of Islam in Schools

Parents fight “Islamic indoctrination” in Tennessee schools.

Tennessee residents have recently requested local education authorities restrict the syllabus on Islam from ten standards to five. The proposed change does not apply to other religions and comes as a measure to restrict children from learning about Islam.

Parents have expressed concerns that the information given on Islam is more than what their children should be learning. Terming it as “Islamic indoctrination,” residents of the mostly-white Christian county of Williamson have asked for a drastic reduction, if not complete elimination, of the syllabus dealing with Islam.

Residents of Williamson County believe lessons on Islam are too friendly of the religion because it is cast as a “peaceful religion.” The residents, who believe radicalism and violence are actually taught in the Quran, believe the lessons are faulty and do not depict the religion the way they think is true. As such, parents have requested authorities change the syllabus and restrict lessons on Islam to just its most basic teachings. They want all information and facts that present the peaceful side of Islam to be eliminated. The parents expressed concerns their children would grow up learning incorrect things about the religion and not be prepared to understand what they feel are the “dangers of Islam.”

Executive Director of the American Center for Outreach, Paul Galloway, observed that if the proposal gets through, the new syllabus will not have much Muslim theology at all. Needless to say, this can create more misunderstanding about Islam in the minds of the students. Last year, a 12-year-old Williamson County student said “I am being taught in class that Islam is a peaceful religion, yet there are many historical and modern-day examples of violent killings and persecution in the name of Allah and Islam.” As it is, he believes that in today’s world people need to know the Quran more closely if they must understand the real picture. Removal of even the basic Islamic theology from the syllabus will lead to a wider rift between Muslims and non-Muslims. He also observed that the modifications include removal of Muslim achievements in various fields, and also the mentions of times when Muslims and non-Muslims lived together peacefully.

Critics have condemned this move for its biased intent and argue that Muslims are as much the victims of terrorists as are the non-Muslims. They also pointed out that Muslims in general are neither terrorists, nor do they support terrorism in any form.

The proposal is still under review and nothing has been made official yet. For now, comments are being invited from the citizens so that more perspectives can go into the revisions. The revised syllabus will be finalized for the 2019-2020 school year.

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