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Friday, October 28, 2005

Parents upset over school presentation on Islam

On October 20, 2005, The Times reported, "A presentation about Muslim culture last month to students at Porter Lakes Elementary School upset parents and sparked an argument about the role of religion in public schools. On Sept. 30, a second-grade class and the entire third grade listened to a cultural presentation by the family of some Muslim students who are new to the school. In addition to talking about Muslim traditions, the children were read the book 'Ramadan' by Carol Gnojewski. 'The presentation was intended to share information, hopefully to answer some of the questions children had,' Porter Township School Corp. Superintendent Nick Brown said. The presentation involved a lot of religious content because religion is heavily intertwined with the Muslim culture, Brown said. The religious aspect of the assembly angered parents, who say that religion has no role in the public school setting. Several parents intend to discuss the issue at tonight's School Board meeting. Brown said the assembly was never meant to offend anyone. The school teaches its students about a variety of cultures with the hope of widening their world views, he said. 'We have Chanukah presentations, we do Christmas,' Brown said. 'It falls just within enlightening people'... Having the new Muslim students in the small, rural community has gotten the rumor churning, including gossip about a possible terrorist search inside the school. None of those threats, including the spotting of a suspicious van, have been substantiated."

This article cross-posted at the Pluralism Project's Religious Diversity News.

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