The world history curriculum used in taxpayer-funded schools across Florida has come under fire because it contains the text of the Ten Commandments and teachers have told students to recite the Lord’s Prayer.
No wait. Scratch that. Exactly none of that happened.
Instead, what actually happened is that a parent in the suburbs of Orlando is complaining because his son’s Lyman High School world history teacher sent the boy a text reminding him to complete an assignment all about Islamic prayer rugs.
The parent is Ron Wagner, reports Orlando ABC affiliate WFTV.
Wagner, who practices no religion, said he also cracked open his son’s world history textbook — one widely used across Florida — to find the quintessential instruction for Muslims: “There is no god, but God. Muhammad is the messenger of God.”
It gets worse, the mad dad asserts.
“Students were instructed to recite this prayer as the first Pillar of Islam, off of the board at the teacher’s instruction,” he told WFTV.
(Students said it was not mandatory to recite any Muslim prayer.)
Wagner said his son’s world history textbook contains a chapter called “Rise of Islam.” Interestingly, he noted, some 100 pages about Christianity and Judaism are missing.
School district officials are blaming a manufacturing defect for that omission.
In any case, Wagner is unhappy that his son is learning so extensively about the religious tenets of Islam.
“There’s a difference between teaching of the significance or the impact of a religion and teaching the specific tenets of a religion,” he told the ABC station.
Michael Blasewitz, an official who supervises the high school curriculum, claimed in a WFTV interview that the overall K-12 coursework is not skewed toward Islam.
“The Pillars of Islam are benchmarks in the state curriculum,” he declared.
“If anything, it’s a little imbalanced toward Christianity and Judaism,” Blasewitz also suggested.
Later, Blasewitz stormed out of the interview.
“You’re just going to walk away from our interview when we’re trying to get information,” reporter Daralene Jones asked incredulously.
The station reached out to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which provided a statement.
“In a diverse society, young people should be taught about a wide variety of beliefs, cultures and faiths, and particularly about a faith practiced by millions of Americans and more than one fifth of the world’s population,” Hassan Shibly, a lawyer and executive director of CAIR of Tampa, said.
“Denying all students access to vital information based on the biased political or religious agenda of Islam phobic groups or a handful of misinformed parents does a disservice to our school system, our state and our nation. History is not kind to those who censor information or ban books,” he added.
Shibly and CAIR are, of course, famous for an epic, ongoing struggle to understand the First Amendment.
In 2013, CAIR sought to use government force to deny the use of a Brevard County, Fla.-owned meeting room to a group CAIR tagged as “an anti-Muslim hate group.” (RELATED: CAIR Tries To Ban Professor’s Speech On ‘The Islamic Threat To America’)
The group CAIR opposed was the local chapter of ACT! for America, an organization that stands athwart the threat posed by radical Islam.
ACT! for America wanted to use a committee room in the tiny coastal town of Viera to host a speech by Jonathan Matusitz, a tenured communications professor at the University of Central Florida.
During that kerfuffle, Shibly said he is normally in favor of free speech “but this individual makes statements to incite violence against the Muslim community, so I think that the line has been crossed.”
Also in 2013, angry protests erupted over the way Florida public high schools teach about Islam. Local parents and activists said public schools use a world history textbook that devotes a whole chapter to Islam but exactly zero chapters to any other religions. (RELATED: Floridians Protest Islam Lovefest History Textbook Foisted On High School Students)