Approximately 50 teachers and officials from Pennsylvania’s recently gathered at a taxpayer-funded workshop during church services at a local Baptist church to learn about the problems Christian children face in today’s secular educational environment.
No, wait. Scratch that. That didn’t happen. That’s totally wrong.
Instead, approximately 50 teachers and staffers in the town of Lebanon, Pa. attended a workshop at a local mosque to learn all about Islam and Arab culture, EAGnews.org reports.
The man leading the workshop was Mohamed Omar, a former Arabic translator for the school district.
Omar, who is now a case worker for Philadelphia’s Department of Human Services, graciously took time off to educate public school staffers about the monotheistic religion articulated by the Quran, a book considered by the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims to be the verbatim word of Allah.
“We have so many students from different Hispanic countries, but slowly but, surely, the Arabic population is growing,” Omar told the Lebanon Daily News. “With Hispanics, you have the language differences and certainly cultural differences, but there are similarities in their religious practices. Of course, the Arab language and the religion are very much different, but we are learning that there are also many similarities.”
The first stop for the workshop was Lebanon High School, where Omar took it upon himself to explain his views on the differences between high schools in the United States and high schools in Arab nations — where the illiteracy rate collectively hovers around 20 percent.
Then, it was off to the Lebanon Valley Mosque where teachers and administrators respectfully removed their shoes and socialized with devotees of Islam clad in traditional dress.
There was much talk of Allah.
“We believe we will be judged by God,” Omar instructed the gathered government employees, according to the local newspaper. “The more good deeds we do, God will forgive us in the end.”
“Faith without work will not be accepted,” Omar pontificated.
Intrigued teachers asked questions about several topics. They wondered, for example, how Muslim students would be able to pray five times a day while in school. Omar said Muslim students could skip a prayer but they would have to make sure to pray in a few hours. (RELATED: Maryland High School Allows Muslim Students To Leave Class Every Day To Pray)
After Omar’s question-and-answer session, the public school teachers and officials shared a delicious meal of lamb at the mosque. (RELATED: Tennessee Elementary School Lifts Fatwa Against Pork After Parents Complain)
Hamid Housni, the founder of the Lebanon Valley Mosque, said he appreciated the taxpayer-funded event.
“I think this is the first time ever in the United States that a school district goes to a mosque,” Housni told the Daily News. “Usually a representative of a mosque goes somewhere. We don’t have words to explain to you how we appreciate that. This is very, very special.”
Teachers were also pleased about the workshop.