(BALTIMORE, MD, 12/18/18) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today applauded Maryland’s Anne Arundel County Public School System (AACPS) for its swift response to remove inaccurate, anti-Muslim instructional material from classrooms at Severna Park High School.
CAIR said the worksheet on “sharia law” given to students was downloaded from an Islamophobic website. It contained such falsehoods as “Muslims should. . .lie to non-Muslims” and “a [Muslim] woman cannot drive a car,” and was brought to CAIR’s attention by concerned Muslim parents. The Islamophobic tract also falsely claimed that Islam mandates female genital mutilation (FGM).
A school system representative confirmed to CAIR that the website is not part of the approved curriculum and “should not have been used.” AACPS officials have communicated with the teacher who distributed the assignment and are following an internal “employee case management” process to ensure a similar incident does occur in the future.
“Educators have a responsibility to use instructional materials that contain accurate information and that are obtained from approved sources,” said CAIR Director of Maryland Outreach Zainab Chaudry. “CAIR thanks AACPS Superintendent Dr. George Arlotto and his staff for addressing this issue promptly and taking steps to ensure a safe learning environment for students of all backgrounds.”
“This was another example of how pervasive Islamophobia is even in parts of our most affluent and educated communities,” said Anne Arundel County Muslim Council Secretary Chad Jones. “We appreciate AACPS’ quick action and continued dedication to developing an inclusive educational environment for our students.”
CAIR’s 2018 Civil Rights Report, ”˜Targeted’, the organization recorded a 17 percent increase in bias-motivated incidents against Muslim Americans from 2016-17, and a 15 percent increase in the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes in the same time period.
A study by CAIR’s California chapter reported that more than half of American Muslim students experience some form of bullying based on their religious identity. This is twice the national average for students who report being bullied at school.
SEE: 2017 CAIR-CA Bullying Report
Data Shows Cases of Anti-Muslim Bullying in Schools on the Rise
The Washington-based Muslim civil rights advocacy organization is also calling for diversity training for all school staff using CAIR’s “An Educator’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices”, which is designed to help school officials provide a positive learning environment for Muslim students.
SEE: An Educator’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
La misiÃ³n de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensiÃ³n del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.