My analysis will cover the story of a Michigan mother expressing her anger over a high school assignment because she felt that it “promoted Islam.” The article titled “Mother Upset Over School Assignment About Islam” was written by Rebecca Klein of The Huffington Post in October. The assignment that the high school sophomore students were asked to do was simple- the students were to create a pamphlet about Islam to “introduce Islam to third graders.” In the Huffington Post article, they quoted the mother saying
“This assignment upset me because they are presenting Allah as the same God of the Christians and Jews. This paper, in my opinion, is promoting Islam by describing Allah’s name as ‘beautiful.’ To me this is not simply factual like it should be.”
The teacher responded to this complaint by explaining that the assignment covered the five major world religions: Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam. He also explained that the pamphlets were never to actually be presented to children.
The headline and first paragraph of this article give of a strong sense of ignorance and targeting. They used the photo provided to illustrate the situation.
The picture they used shows a positive view of the Islamic people, which may go against the beliefs of the mothers. In my opinion, whether it goes against their beliefs or not, students should learn and be aware of what other religions believe and practice so that they are more understanding and not as quick to judge people of other faiths. This knowledge will help create a more accepting youth. This assignment in particular seems like a very smart way to get the information taught to stick in the student’s heads. By asking them to simplify the language and concepts of different religions would help the students to understand it in their own terms.
The article shows the mothers’ concerns about what their children are being taught which a good concern to have is usually. However, as the article continues, it reveals that the mothers were being extremely selective in their complaints. Either they did not have full knowledge of the assignment guidelines or they were only upset about the Islam related section of it. Either way, they had no good reason to complain.
The mothers complained that in the assignment Allah’s name is described as beautiful. This may be the views of the Islamic people; therefore it is an important part of understanding their viewpoint. No part of the assignment forced the students to agree with the viewpoints of the Islamic people.
With what is going on with ISIS in the current day, there is reason to believe that the mothers’ complaints with the Islam portion of the assignment were based on the negativity shown towards Islam in the media today. These mothers probably did not receive the same information that their children are about the Islam faith, therefore they are more judgmental towards them and lacking understanding of the religion overall.
The article showed both sides of the argument, complaints and explanations, without seeming too biased. However, after hearing the explanation from the teacher, it makes the reader think that the mothers are jumping to conclusions and being judgmental of other religions. This may make the reader side with the teachings and assignment that the school had provided.
The article stated that the complaints came from the mothers themselves and from their Facebook posts about the assignment. The school held a meeting with the mothers and the teacher to hash things out. The mother said she was asked to remove the Facebook posts, which she did, and explained that her intention “was not to cause negative publicity to the school district, but only to speak up, ask questions, and stand firm for what I believe.” It is easy to distinguish between the facts and opinions in this article.
Because of the mothers’ complaints, the article does seem to show that Islam is a religion not accepted. However, when the teacher explained the full assignment, it is clear that his intent was not to single out Islam but to cover information about all five major religions of the world. This article’s general attitude towards religion arouses the issue of judgment and ignorance insensitiveness towards foreign beliefs and values.