By: Bonnie Davis Guy
On January 20, 2016, northeast Tennessee legislators, including Timothy Hill, Matthew Hill and Micah Van Huss announced that they had filed legislation that would halt Islamic religious teaching that indoctrinates students in the states public schools.
This legislation is in response to an overwhelming public outcry from parents, grandparents, students, and concerned teachers as well as school administrators who say that Tennessees current school textbooks overemphasize Islam while excluding other religions including Christianity and Judaism. Complaints are coming in from across the state including multiple instances in Northeast Tennessee and especially the Tri-Cities.
One example given of what is referred to as curriculum indoctrination is from a middle school in Maury County, Tennessee where students were instructed to recite and write, Allah is the only God as part of their world history project. Another example cited is an assignment where students had to translate a five pillars of Islam project. The pillar of Shahada translation states There is no other God but Allah; Muhammad is his prophet.
In a joint press release Representative Mathew Hill stated, We have been working on this issue for almost two years now, with no clear solution. My colleagues and I in the General Assembly see there is now a direct need to file legislation on behalf of citizens across Tennessee if we hope to solve this problem once and for all.
No one has a problem with world religions being taught from a historical perspective. The problem is that right now in Tennessee, the standards are so broad they open the door to proselytizing our public school students, said Representative Timothy Hill. Bill 1905 has strong support and is worded strongly enough to resolve the problem with the standards, he added during a phone interview.
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