TN: Islam lessons lead to school scrutiny

Political consultant Steve Gill says this is part of a PowerPoint presentation given by CAIR to the Franklin Special School District and other school districts in Tennessee.

The teaching of Islam has been a hot button topic lately in Tennessee — and nationally — and is involved in an expedited review of state school standards, the Times-Gazette reports.

The increased scrutiny has sped up the state’s review of Social Studies standards, with some critics calling the coursework “indoctrination.”

School standards are normally reviewed every six years. New Social Studies standards were implemented last school year, 2014-2015, and loud opposition erupted. Some parents complained that the curriculum devotes more study time to Islam than it does to Christianity, multiple news outlets report.

They say students are taught the Five Pillars of Islam but not the Ten Commandments. One parent told Spring Hill Home Page, a news website, that students were required to transcribe the phrase, “Allah is the only God,” when studying the Shahada, one of the Five Pillars.

Politicians and radio talk show hosts have joined the outcry. State Rep. Andy Holt, R-Dresden, said in a press release last month that “due to public outcry, the state has agreed to review the standards in January. “I am calling for those standards to be revised as soon as Session starts. I repeat, not reviewed, but revised.”

Tennessee political consultant/attorney/talk radio host Steve Gill of Gill Media said he expects the debate on standards to become a hot topic in the legislature in January.

FOR MORE OF THIS STORY: Shelbyville Times-Gazette: Local News: Islam lessons criticized (10/13/15)

Editor’s note: This topic does continue to be a hot button issue. CAIR, a Muslim advocacy group, and Rep. Sheila Butt have been trading barbs over her bill to revise the current standards and how religion is taught. CAIR denies it is proselytizing students and says Rep. Butt is an Islamaphobe. Here is her response:

COLUMBIA, Tenn., October 13, 2105– Last Friday, State Representative
Sheila Butt (R-Columbia) introduced a bill that seeks to revise the
current standards and format of how religion is taught in Tennessee’s
public school system.

“Tennessee HB1418 is neutral on its face as to the specific subject
matter it addresses,” said Butt. The bill is intended to prompt an open
and rational discussion about the appropriate timing and weight of
teaching religion in a student’s education. No one specific religion is
mentioned in the bill.”

On Monday, the nation’s largest Muslim advocacy organization, the
Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), called Butt an Islamaphobe
and said her bill was full of bigotry and fear.

“Predictably, groups whose only objective is to prevent full and open
discussion of these issues has begun its campaign of using the same old
tired canards and accusations. Quite frankly, name calling adds no
intelligence and has no relevance to this discussion. Furthermore, it
does nothing to ‘improve relations’,” said Butt. “I believe that
Tennessee citizens are smarter than that and welcome the opportunity to
participate in a reasoned and objective debate on these issues as we try
to determine what is in the best interest of Tennessee students.”

Editor’s note continued: Christians must always stay above name-calling. Jesus called us to be the salt and light of the world and to love our enemies. At the same time, we must winsomely declare the Gospel’s good news for the world. The Gospel is for all people, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, atheists and all, so that everyone has a chance to hear the Gospel and receive eternal life through Christ. John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

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