Relaymedia

Court Upholds Teaching Islam in Public Schools as Constitutional

( [email protected] ) Dec 23, 2003 09:01 AM EST

According to Agape Press, the federal court has upheld the constitutionality of teaching about Islam in California public schools, which put many Christians into rage.



U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton has ruled that Excelsior Elementary School in Byron, California, is not acting unconstitutionally of the intensive three-week course that teaches students how to follow Islam. The course requires students to choose a Muslim name, read from the Quran, pray to Allah, and simulate worship activities related to the Five Pillars of Islam.



The Thomas More Law Center sued the school on behalf of several Christian students and their parents.



"Where the mere mention of God when it relates to the Christian faith has been held unconstitutional," Richard Thompson, Thomas More’s Chief Counsel, says, "this federal judge has ruled that there is no violation of the Constitution when it comes to teaching the Islamic faith in the simulation mode that they're in, because it is 'entertaining and effective.'”



The chief counsel is appealing the decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the very court that held that the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional because it contains the phrase "one nation under God."



Thompson believes that forcing students to engage in religious rituals is a violation of the U.S. Constitution for public schools. He explains how the students in Byron were compelled to follow the tenets and teachings of Islam in order to satisfy the requirements of the assignment and make a good grade.



"Basically they are told, true or false, 'the Quran is God's third revelation that was revealed to the Prophet Mohammad,' and the children are supposed to say that that's a fact," Thompson says. "Or that Holy Quran is God's word as revealed to Prophet Mohammad through the Archangel Gabriel -- the students are told to say that that is a fact. If they say that is a fact they get points, and they win this game."