Parents in Massachusetts are angry over the public school their children attend teaching them about Islam. Reportedly, Anthony Giannino was the first parent to learn that his son was studying Islam in school. He was so furious with this discovery that he immediately pulled his son out of his history class. Giannino said he was most upset about the textbook preaching the Muslim Call to Prayer, which starts with the phrase, “I bear witness that there is no God but Allah.”
“We don't believe in Allah. I don't believe in my son learning about this here,” said Giannino. “If my son was from another country and came here, he would have been catered to. But where he's not being catered to, they give him an F.”
Giannino said repeatedly that his biggest problem was that particular phrase inside the history textbook.
“No religion should be taught at school. In their paper it says Allah is their only God. That's insulting to me as a Christian who believes in just Jesus only,” Giannino said.
Revere Public Schools’ superintendent Paul Dakin sent a letter to concerned parents soon after, clarifying that the only reason the school is teaching about Islam is it happens to be part of the history curriculum.
“In our middle school classrooms, we teach World Geography in grade 6, Ancient Civilizations in grade 7 and World History I in grade 8. As with all of our courses, what we teach students in these classes is based on Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks. These documents identify the specific learning standards and concepts and skills for each grade level and each content area. … I want to be very clear that no religion is taught with the purpose of converting students to that religion,” the letter reads.
According to Dakin, Giannino’s son stopped attending his history classes since the day his father contended the study material and he is likely to receive an incomplete report in the subject as a result. While emphasizing that the school district is teaching history, not religion, Dakin said Massachusetts requires all middle schools to cover such topics.
If the schools had to “purge all the religion out of all the history we teach,” he said, “we wouldn’t be able to talk about the Pilgrims or Plymouth ... about why they were coming [to America] because of religious beliefs.”
While many parents share Giannino’s sentiments on the matter, others say they completely understand that their children will have to learn about all important religions in school.
“What is Muslim about, what is Christianity about. That's what I teach at home. Everybody should respect everybody else's religion,” said another parent, Idalia Garcia.
Yet, Giannino drafted a petition to have the school stop teaching its students about Islam and, apparently, many others from the community have voiced their support for him. In response, other community groups wrote a letter last week, expressing support for the school district.
“Teaching about the world’s religions, including Islam, is widely recognized as a lawful and important part of a quality education in the public schools,” read the letter, which was endorsed by groups representing Revere Public Schools’ parents and students as well as the Islamic Council of New England.
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