(BALTIMORE, MD, 2/13/19) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today applauded a federal appeals court ruling that a Maryland high school did not violate a student’s freedom of religion rights by providing an assignment on Islam as part of its World History curriculum.
A student at LaPlata High School in Charles County, MD., argued that the unit on “the Muslim World” in her World History class violated her First Amendment rights by requiring her to complete an assignment on the pillars of Islam.
In its unanimous decision, the three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit voted 3-0 in favor of the school district and officials, stating in part:
“Although a student’s right against compelled speech in a public school may be asserted under various circumstances, that right has limited application in a classroom setting in which a student is asked to study and discuss materials with which she disagrees.” The court said it was important to view the lessons in the Muslim world in context.
SEE: Christian Student Challenged a School History Lesson on Islam and Lost in Court
“The court’s common-sense ruling is reflective of the simple fact that education is not indoctrination,” said CAIR Director of Maryland Outreach Zainab Chaudry. “We live in an increasingly interconnected global society in which Islam is the second largest religion in the world. As Muslim and other faith communities across Maryland and the country continue to grapple with hatred and intolerance, educating students with facts about different world religions is crucial to promoting pluralism and understanding.”
The Washington-based Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization offers a booklet, called “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.
CONTACT: CAIR Director of Maryland Outreach Zainab Chaudry, firstname.lastname@example.org, 410-971-6062