Dulles High School’s principal says he is receptive to a local Muslim organization’s proposal to start a program to promote cultural understanding at the campus.

Principal Lance Hindt said Dulles would embrace beginning a program with the Islamic Society of Houston South Zone to supplement what is already being taught.

He said the school must be sure that the conversations are culturally based and not focused on religion.

“We cannot (let anyone) come in and preach any one religion,” Hindt said. “But we can have different organizations come in and highlight what the students are being taught in the curriculum, and give more information on what their organization is about.”

For example, students are being taught about Middle Eastern countries in world geography courses, Hindt said. The dialogue would be used to answer questions and “help us understand each other better,” he said.

Conducting programs related to religious beliefs in public schools has been a touchy subject for decades. The 1963 Murray v. Curlett decision abolished prayer recitation in public schools.

ISH’s South Zone branch proposed the idea of starting a discussion program at Dulles, and possibly other schools later, during a Jan. 31 forum of community leaders in Missouri City organized by the Honey Brown Hope Foundation and Suburban Sugar Land Women. The event was organized to address diversity issues after the Nov. 2 vandalism of a Stafford mosque for which three Dulles students were charged.

Jawaid Iqbal, director of the South Zone mosque in Stafford, extended an invitation to Hindt to begin a program to broaden students’ knowledge of Islamic cultures. He believes that explaining the concept, and not the religion, to students might help ease cultural tensions.


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