The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is calling on people in Tennessee to oppose a bill that would prevent public schools from teaching the principles of Islam and every other religion until students reach the 10th grade.
Tennessee state legislator Sheila Butt, a Republican, proposed the bill late last week in response to a grassroots campaign across the state by parents — primarily evangelical parents — against what they perceive as an inappropriate focus on Islam in history and social studies courses in taxpayer-funded middle schools.
House Bill 1418, if it becomes law, would prevent the teaching of all “religious doctrine” until students reach the last three years of high school.
CAIR labeled Rep. Butt’s bill “an anti-Islam bill” which is “tied to Islamophobic claims” in a statement sent to The Daily Caller.
“The introduction of the bill is being fueled by rising hysteria over the false claim that middle schoolers are being subjected to ‘Islamic indoctrination’ because the basic tenets of Islam and Muslim world history is being taught as part of a state-approved curriculum about the impact world religions have on history,” the Muslim civil liberties group said. “Islam is only one of the many world religions being taught in the curriculum that includes Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, among other religions and belief systems.”
CAIR government affairs manager Robert McCaw also weighed in.
“Islamophobes like Rep. Butt fail to recognize that there is a big difference between teaching students about religion as an important part of world history and promoting particular religious beliefs,” McCaw declared. “The education of children in Tennessee should not be delayed because of anti-Muslim bigotry.”