There is a storm brewing over the polygamy/Islam component of a Georgia social studies script that I wrote about earlier today. I have sent DOE an e-mail asking for a statement because the controversy, which began with one father’s concerns, is mounting as bloggers take up arms against the presentation of polygamy in a middle school lesson. No word yet from DOE.
Their complaint is that the lesson praising the quality of life for women under Shariah or Islamic law and behind the veil in the form of a cheery letter from a young Muslim woman fails to present any counterbalance. Blogger Pamela Geller posts the actual lesson here on her Atlas Shrugs blog.
Meanwhile, Marietta Daily Journal columnist Laura Armstrong addresses the issue in her piece on “‘Islamizing’ America’s public school curriculum.” Here is an excerpt, but you can read her full piece here.
The controversy began last week, when the MDJ broke the story of a Campbell Middle School parent going public, questioning a lesson linking Middle Eastern culture with the school’s dress code. The seventh grade teacher involved used a portion of a lesson that seemed to promote Islam. School officials responding to the parent’s complaint told education writer Lindsay Field that they had looked at the lesson and re-evaluated its appropriateness and context.
“The dad was correct,” Area Superintendent Dale Gaddis explained. “Since then, we’ve decided to select better materials. The issues that we had, we actually took care of. We worked with the teacher … and with our curriculum folks to verify the material and how it should be used.”
But instead of putting the issue to rest, the red flags did not stop unfurling around the blogosphere among people concerned about creeping shariah, stealth jihad and encroachment of Islamic tenets into America’s public schools. The supplemental materials in question, created by Roswell-based InspirEd Educators, Inc., were copyrighted, and the MDJ reprinted some short excerpts with permission. But it was the intrepid freedom fighter Pamela Geller who found more on the Henry County school district’s website and re-posted for her national audience.
Meanwhile, “My name is Ahlima” was the lesson our kids were assigned. Written in a narrative style reminiscent of the popular American Girl doll stories, Ahlima is a fictional, 20-year-old woman who loves life under the abuyah (black veil) and promotes a rosy and incomplete picture of life as an Islamic woman to our impressionable seventh-graders. Her words go far beyond fashion advice or culture. Ahlima feels safe under Shariah law and lectures well on its virtues — but forgets its evils.
To be sure, Ahlima’s disrespect for Western women is apparent to adults. The character brags about her upcoming marriage (she’ll be the second wife, as though seventh-graders really get that) and promotes Islamic polygamy “because the prophet was trying to raise women up. He was very loving to women when many other men in his day were not.”
There’s a lot more, and CCSD spokesman Jay Dillon did confirm that the lesson in question is being used in other districts around Georgia. He also reminded me that Cobb parents had the opportunity to review the supplemental materials, the same way we can review textbooks. Which leads me back to our lone parent whistle blower. What a service he’s done for us all.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog