A Virginia school district closed all of its schools and offices after an outcry over a high school geography lesson that included an example of Arabic religious calligraphy.
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The lesson, which was part of a world geography class at Riverheads High School, asked the students to copy the Arabic letters that translate to: “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad (PBUH) is the messenger of Allah.”
The school district held a meeting on December 11 to discuss the assignment with concerned parents and said the lesson wasn’t to promote Islam but to study “the artistic complexity of the calligraphy.”
“Neither these lessons, nor any other lesson in the world geography course, are an attempt at indoctrination to Islam or any other religion, or a request for students to renounce their own faith or profess any belief,” the district said in a statement provided to Fox News.
Parents protested against the assignment at Riverheads High School in Augusta County and said that the children were not given the translation of what they were writing. However, the school district did not think this posed a problem as it was all about the art, not theology.
“The statement presented as an example of the calligraphy was not translated for students, nor were students asked to translate it, recite it or otherwise adopt or pronounce it as a personal belief,” the district stated.
“They were simply asked to attempt to artistically render written Arabic in order to understand its artistic complexity,” they added.