Kansas School Removes Islamic Bulletin Board Following Online Controversy

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A display featuring the Five Pillars of Islam at a Kansas school has been causing a lot of online controversy after a photo of the bulletin board was posted to the web.

The Wichita school where the bulletin board was created, Minneha Core Knowledge Magnet Elementary, has taken down the display. The photo of the Islamic display was shared more than 3,700 times on the Facebook page "Prepare to Take America Back."

The school district said that Islam is one of five major religions taught at the school for their historical significance. It has also been pointed out that a painting of the Last Supper is also hanging in the school.

School officials said the photo has been taken out of context.

This statement was released by USD 259, according to KAKE:

Religion is an important component of the history of civilizations. Minneha Core Knowledge Magnet students cover the five major religions of the world — Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam — as part of their Core Knowledge magnet curriculum. The students study civilizations throughout time, throughout the world, and cover religion with a focus on the history and geography in the development of civilizations.

The bulletin board that originally caused the concern does represent the 5 Pillars of Islam — in a historical context of their studies. There is also a painting of the Last Supper hanging in the school as part of the study of art and the Renaissance period. The students at Minneha have received these lessons for years as part of their Core Knowledge curriculum. A photo taken of a bulletin board without context is misleading, and some have taken it out of context without having all the information. Because of the misunderstanding that has been promoted by that one photograph, the bulletin board has been taken down until the unit is taught later this fall.

Minneha is a Core Knowledge magnet school. As a school of choice, more than 60 percent of Minneha's students apply for admission to the school in order to receive the Core Knowledge education that is the foundation of the school. As part of the Core Knowledge curriculum, which is overseen by a national foundation devoted to Core Knowledge education, children are introduced in the early grades to major world religions, beginning with a focus on geography and major symbols and figures. In the fourth grade the focus is on history, geography and the development of civilization. The purpose is not to explore the matters of theology, but to understand the place of religion and religious ideas in history. The Core Knowledge goal is to familiarize, not proselytize; to be descriptive, not prescriptive.

Sources: KAKE, KFDI