There is an uproar in central Virginia when students in a school were offered a lesson on Middle East with an Islamic statement of faith written in Arabic calligraphy.
As stated by 4 NBC Washington, Augusta County public schools, near Staunton, Central Virginia, were shut down on Friday after the district authorities received numerous calls and emails inquiring about a lesson in Arabic calligraphy.
Sheriff Randall Fisher advised the authorities to close the school observing the surge in reports and queries.
Superintendent Eric bond reported that the Arabic statement was presented before the class to demonstrate the intricate artistry of written language of Middle East, and students were not asked to translate the statement or recite in the class. The students were also asked to try a scarf to present the Islamic concept of modest dress but it was not the traditional hijab. Moreover, teacher Charyl LaPorte did not plan the assignment herself, but followed a standard workbook on world religion.
News Leader confirmed that the class also provided a variety of lessons on Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism. The report also says that students will engage in similar assignments when they are going to learn about China or any other country in this world.
However, some parents of the students took it to be an attempt to convert their children into Islam.
CNN reports that former students of LaPorte took to the social media to defend her.
Meanwhile, the Augusta Public School website has released a statement in which it has said that there is no threat to the students, school, or the school office. It emphasises the fact that the lesson was not intended to promote any religion or convert the students into it. It also informed that students will continue to learn about world religion to fulfill academic needs, but a non-religious calligraphic example will be presented to the students in future.