Two mothers, Nancy Gayer and Libby Hilsenrath, are upset that the Chatham Middle School in New Jersey is teaching children about Islam in a world cultures and geography lesson (video below).
Part of their objection is a two-part cartoon entitled "The 5 Pillars of Islam," which has one boy explaining to a second boy that he is a Muslim and what Muslims believe.
The Thomas More Law Center, which represents the two mothers, says they each have seventh-graders at the school, and brought up their concerns about the lesson during a public meeting of the Chatham Board of Education on Feb. 6.
According to the law firm, school superintendent Michael LaSusa said at the meeting that there is not likely to be any change to the lesson, and refused to meet with the moms privately on Feb. 7.
In the cartoon, the Muslim boy explains his beliefs as the words "There is no god except Allah and Prophet Muhammad is His messenger" appear on the screen.
The Thomas More Law Center states: "The cartoon ends with a sad non-Muslim boy, who suddenly smiles when the Muslim boy invites him to join him at the mosque for noon-day prayers. Something the teacher can’t personally do, but does through the cartoon. Clever!"
The Thomas More Law Center was also upset that the children's cartoon did not mention violence that is done in the name of Islam:
Clearly, seventh-graders had been presented with a sugarcoated, false depiction of Islam. They had not been informed of the kidnappings, beheadings, slave-trading, massacres, and persecution of non-Muslims, nor of the repression of women -- all done in the name of Islam and the Koran.
According to the Thomas More Law Center, Hilsenrath and Gayer have been "subjected to personal attacks throughout their campaign to stop Islamic indoctrination at the Chatham Middle School," which has included name-calling of the moms on social media sites.
"It’s just not fair that within this unit of study the Chatham school district taught one religion to the exclusion of all others, and for the community to be so unkind and unwelcoming towards us, just for having raised legitimate questions as concerned parents," Gayer stated.
The moms want the school board to review the curriculum, remove the Islam lesson or have the school spend equal time on Christianity and other religious beliefs.
However, LaSusa told the Chatham Courier that Christianity is already included in the curriculum, particularly in the U.S. history part.
"All of our curricular materials and the resources that teachers select in concert with the supervisor are designed to further that mission of broadening the understanding of our pupils," LaSusa said.
The moms appeared on the Fox News' "Tucker Carlson Show" where Hilsenrath said that "no other religion is taught" in the course, and added: "To me that's not education. because in order to educate you need to teach all."
Hilsenrath wanted to know if the school would be comfortable teaching the doctrines of Christianity, and added, "I don't know that this school would say that."
LaSusa issued a statement to Fox News and to Tap Into Morristown:
The School District of the Chathams delivers a curriculum that meets and exceeds the New Jersey Student Learning Standards. Said standards include subject matter on all of the world's major religions, including Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and other faiths.
The school district's curriculum reflects these standards and takes a balanced and thoughtful approach to how they are taught. The lessons on Islam that some of our parents have raised as an issue comprise approximately three days out of a 180-day school year.
Further, in the scope of our full curriculum, content addressing Islam does not represent a disproportionate amount of time or resources. It receives a treatment similar to the other world religions, as outlined by New Jersey's state standards.
Hilsenrath made news in September 2016 when she told the Chatham Courier that her Donald Trump/Mike Pence signs were being stolen from her yard.