Seventh graders from a public middle school in Gerrardstown, West Virginia are being taught a lesson about “Islam in the World Today” filled with an anti-Christian sentiment that requires them to read segments of the Koran, learn Muslim prayer poses, and interact with the five pillars of Islam. The 30-page lesson goes into great detail about the religion and suggests that students participate by fasting and copying the Islamic statement of faith in Arabic.
In an offense to the Christian faith, the final pages of the lesson plan introduce the students to calligraphy explaining that it is “sacred to Muslims” and giving students a space to copy the shahada, the Islamic statement of faith written in Arabic. When translated into English, the statement says “There is no god but Allah. Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”
The statement is so central to Islam that recitation of the shahada in front of witnesses is also the first and only formal step in conversion to Islam. The lesson illustrates the Shahada as the first pillar of Islam and says it “provides a spiritual foundation and function.”
The U.S. Constitution prevents the government from favoring one religion over another in public schools. While taxpayer-funded schools are allowed to teach and talk about religions, they are not supposed to promote or attempt to convert students to any religion, which is precisely what requiring students to write the Islamic statement of faith is doing.
In the chapter section “Origins of Islam: Abraham and the Ka’bah,” the world religions text defines Muslims as “followers of Islam” or “one who submits to Allah.” The book says “Islam means ‘submission to god.” It then goes on to explain that Muslims view Abraham as the father of their faith because he was the father of Ishmael, Hagars son. They believe that Hagar and Ismael were blessed by being sent into the desert where their god opened up the sand giving them water and the city of Mecca.
The Qur’an denies that Jesus Christ is the savior of humanity.
Qur’an 4:171 “O people of the book! Commit no excesses in your religion: nor say of God naught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) an apostle of God, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: So believe in God and His messengers…”
This directly contradicts the Bible, which tells us that Jesus Christ is the name above every name.
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name
Reading from the Koran
The lesson plan then leads the class to read excerpts from the Koran that praise Allah as “the creator” and “the merciful.” It also contains a threat toward those who don’t believe in Islam, “the unbelievers shall be sternly punished, but those that accept the true faith and perform good works shall be forgiven and richly rewarded.”
From the chapter, it would be easy to misinterpret that God is universal and Muslims worship the same God as the Jews since they call him the creator and claim to be the seed of Abraham, but Muslims deny Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith.
One summary question asks students to “Read the first section of Psalm 136 from the Old Testament. Compare it to the excerpt from Surah 55. Remember to use details in your comparison.” This question that could lead students to the false conclusion that God is universal across all religions as the wording has been used by pagans and the like to justify the belief that there is more than one God.
Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
2 Oh, give thanks to the God of gods!
For His mercy endures forever.
3 Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords!
For His mercy endures forever:
Surah 55 praises Allah who “taught the Koran” in place of the Lord. Psalm 136 says that God is the “God of gods,” and this could cause students to be confused and come to believe that Allah is God since the Bible has the plural ‘gods’ in verse 2 and ‘lords’ in verse 3. Scholars have concluded that the reason for plurality is drawn from Deuteronomy 10:17 which says “For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe.” Meaning He is higher than any of the supposed gods or lords of the nations, not equal like universalists would have you believe.
While Psalm 136 and the gospel are devoid of calls to be violent, the chapter the students were required to read, Surah 35, verse 36 (not included in the sample on the worksheet) incites violence toward “ungrateful ones.”
Surah 35:36 “But those who reject ((Allah)) – for them will be the Fire of Hell: No term shall be determined for them, so they should die, nor shall its Penalty be lightened for them. Thus do We reward every ungrateful one!
The Qur’an denies that Jesus died on the cross
From his temptations in the desert to the resurrection, the focus of Jesus is his death on the cross to provide a sacrifice for humankind’s sin. The Qur’an denies that Jesus died on the cross and that would then preclude his resurrection. Islam contends that God took Jesus into heaven and transformed Judas to look like Jesus. Muslims teach that it was actually Judas who died on the cross.
Qur’an 4:157. That they said (in boast), “We killed Christ Jesus The son of Mary, The apostle of Allah”; But they killed him not, Nor crucified him, But so it was made To appear to them, And those who differ Therein are full of doubts, With no (certain) knowledge, But only conjecture to follow, For of a surety, They killed him not.
The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus was crucified on the cross.
Matthew 27:35, And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.
Introducing students to the Five Pillars
After introducing the first pillar, “a brief prayer proclaiming the oneness of god and faith in Islam” the lesson teaches the students Muslim prayer poses through an illustration.
The fourth pillar is defined as a time that Muslims are required to fast during the month of Ramadan and says, “the fast represents a special time of purification and religious devotion.” The activity required of students to go along with the fourth pillar section is disturbing. The worksheet says, “with parental permission, try fasting one day. Give any lunch money and food to a food bank for the homeless. Then, write a response explaining how you felt during the fast.” Is the lesson suggesting that middle schoolers participate in a Muslim fourth pillar ritual fasting?
All five pillars of Islam are defined and taught to the students, asking them to participate and testing their knowledge as the chapter progresses, finally ending in asking them to write the Islamic statement of faith in Arabic calligraphy. This lesson plan is crafted in a way to bring students to profess the religion of Islam and discretely indoctrinate them to believe that Allah is the universal god and the creator. The Muslim faith is in direct contradiction to Christianity, and the differences should be clearly taught so as not to lead young minds astray, away from the salvation Jesus Christ has freely offered us.
Ney Reiber. “10 Reasons Islam Is Not From God.” bible.ca. . (2018): . . http://bit.ly/2IL6TUq
Teacher Created Resources. “The Life of Muhammed and the Birth of Islam.” Islam. Semitic Religions. (2018): . . http://bit.ly/2IiN9Id
“.” Koran. . (): . . http://bit.ly/2jWELzE
Enduring Word. “Psalm 136 – God’s Never-Ending Mercy.” . . (2018): . . http://bit.ly/2jX2NKH