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Dutchess_III's avatar

What are your thoughts on the lesson in Arabic calligraphy that a teacher tried to teach to middle school students?

Asked by Dutchess_III (42477points) December 18th, 2015

Here is the article.

She was teaching them to write, in Arabic “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”

Lots of uproar about this. Would it have been different if she’d taught them to write, in Greek, something about Zeus or Apollo?

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17 Answers

Seek's avatar

Better than teaching them to write something randomly without telling them what it is.

It’s a useful phrase to be able to recognize, as it appears in all sorts of artwork, on buildings, all kinds of things. Should those kids ever visit a museum or (heaven forbid) leave their one horse town and see the world, they’ll potentially see those words on a piece of 14th century Seljuk pottery or woven into an antique rug.

I don’t understand why people freak out over their kids learning things. Oh no! They might learn how to get ideas or think or something!

Dutchess_III's avatar

I know, @Seek, right? It’s kind of an interesting paradox too…according to Islam, Allah is made up, right? No such thing as Allah, so why get bent? Or…is there….

Zaku's avatar

I think it’s hilarious in a “so pathetic I have to laugh” way and points to the tribal polarized hostility patterns that come of monotheistic black & white religions, especially the common modern misled Christianity (exemplified by the outrage in this case), and misled Islam and misled Judaism and their extensions to politics and social issues, where so many people are stuck in futile “we are right, they are wrong” arguments that go nowhere except anger and violence and suffering.

By the way, if I can say so without hypocritically doing the same thing, I’d like to bring attention to the part where you asked about Zeus or Apollo. Note that in polytheistic approaches to spirituality, they would (hopefully obviously) NOT write “There is NO god but Apollo”, because there were many gods. When someone from somewhere else would visit and mention gods from their pantheons, they wouldn’t be outraged, they’d be like “oh, another god, that’s interesting.”

I’d say that anyone who says their god is all about love and acceptance and charity, but then also says their god is the only real god, and anyone who believes otherwise is doing something wrong and outrageous and forbidden and punishment-worthy, is following very confused teachings.

ragingloli's avatar

I can guarantee that all of the people outraged by this would have no problem if a muslim was “encouraged” to write “no one gets to heaven but through Jesus” in aramaic

elbanditoroso's avatar

Utterly stupid overreaction by the parents in Virginia. Xenophobic twaddle.

People are really showing their stupidity this year.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yeah, ”....cause(d)s a little girl to cry herself to sleep because she was worried she had denounced her God.” Shame on those parents, putting that kind of stress on a little child….and apparently not even trying to relive her anxiety, just let her cry herself to sleep.

jerv's avatar

I feel that if the people of Virginia wish to remain that ignorant, then they should be stripped of any and all privileges of adulthood, and the children sent somewhere where they can be deprogrammed just like any other young person kidnapped by cult.

If we are unwilling to treat them as criminal, then we must treat these religious extremists the same way we treat ISIS; as a threat to national security that warrants the use of military force.

flutherother's avatar

“I will not have my children sit under a woman who indoctrinates them with the Islam religion when I am a Christian.” Whoever you are I promise you, you are not a Christian you are a bigot.

Jeruba's avatar

Are these the same Virginia folks who blocked the installation of a field of solar panels because it would soak up all the sunlight and prevent plants from growing?

http://www.fluther.com/185974/do-solar-panels-suck-up-all-the-sun-and-prevent-things/

stanleybmanly's avatar

Maybe this stuff has always been going on in our country, and it’s only NOW that reporting this sort of foolishness has become fashionable. But you can’t possibly read this sort of stuff day after dreary day without concluding that my homeland is just one never ending tasteless joke.

jaytkay's avatar

They had to close the schools due to terrorist threats from conservatives.

My thought is it’s just another case showing domestic conservatives are the worst group the United States has faced in decades. They’ve caused immensely more damage than al Qaeda and ISIS combined.

I’ve said many times, we would have first world health care and education and a colony on Mars today if conservatives weren’t holding us back.

JLeslie's avatar

I have mixed feelings about it. I have no problem with teaching the children some words in Arabic, but I’d prefer it not be a sentence about God, just like I would prefer teachers not writing “Jesus is God” in a classroom.

I wouldn’t be closing schools over it, but I would want to know why that sentence? If it relates to a specific lesson it might be explained away and very reasonable. If it’s just the random sentence the teacher picked, then I say pick another sentence.

Seek's avatar

The Virginia State educational standards require the teaching an overview of the religion and language of each culture studied.

This assignment seems to cover both quite elegantly.

Jeruba's avatar

@Seek, I wonder if by “language” they mean the terminology of the faith (e.g., christening, crucifixion, bar mitzvah, Torah, muezzin, Mecca) rather than tongue. In any case, you’re right, “elegant” is a good word for it, and you’re right again, it would be a good idea to be able to recognize this text.

flutherother's avatar

The Augusta School Board issued a statement describing their curriculum. It didn’t go down well with the locals and the school has had to close early for the holidays due to threats of violence. It is not unlike Boko Haram’s violent opposition to Western education.

Pachy's avatar

Islamophobia at its ugliest. Yet I think she might have picked a more benign quotation.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jeruba My guess would be language would mean what language they primarily speak. Saudi Arabia’s main language is Arabic. Iran speaks Farsi (so many people assume the Iranians speak Arabic). English and Gaelic in Ireland. Portuguese in Brazil (so many people think Brazil speaks Spanish). English in Belize (another one people are clueless about). And, so on.

Maybe go into detail about whether languages are official languages or not. Some countries have multiple official languages like Canada and Singapore to name two. The teacher could discuss how that is handled. Also, they can teach about dialects, some countries have multiple dialects and also a standard common language. These are things a lot of Americans seem to not know.

Religion would be touched on like what religion the majority of the population is and maybe their major holidays.

That’s what I would assume/guess students are taught about countries, culture, language and religion in a basic class that is running through many parts of the world as an overview.

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