For many, the word Sharia brings dreaded images to mind. The suppression of women and the long Burqas worn by Saudi women might come to mind. The stoning of accused adulterers in Iran is another. But, what about a happy young girl glad for Sharia.
This is the tell of the imaginary Saudi girl of a middle school worksheet. This worksheet has caused several parents to be concerned. It is their conviction that it sheds Sharia in a favorable but dishonest light.
The Courier-Journal reports
Parents in Southern Indiana are upset by a middle school worksheet’s portrayal of “Sharia law,” which they say casts the Islamic code in a positive light while ignoring human rights violations and the oppression of women.
“The way that the worksheet is left would be like describing how effective Hitler was at nationalizing Germany and creating patriotism but leaving out that he slaughtered 6 million Jews,” said Dean Hohl, one of several parents who spoke out against the assignment at a recent New Albany-Floyd County school board meeting.
He added: “I’m just not OK with my daughter – or any child that age – leaving class with the understanding that anything about Sharia law is OK.”
The creator of the worksheets claims that this is not its intention. She contends that it has a wholly different purpose and one that these parents would not oppose.
The Journal continues
The same worksheet, created by InspirEd Educators Inc., caused a controversy when it was used at a middle school in Smyrna, Ga., in 2011. Sharon Coletti, the creator of the worksheet and president of InspirEd Educators, said she received death threats and was accused of “indoctrinating” children at the time.
Initially, the curriculum was two consecutive activities – one focusing on Ahlima and one focusing on an Israeli woman of a similar age who served in the army and wanted to attend college. Coletti said she later combined the two lessons for clarity.
She said that despite the change, the goal of the assignment was the same: to help students think for themselves and arrive at the conclusion that the Israeli has more rights and freedoms than the Saudi woman of the same age. If they don’t arrive at that conclusion, she said, the teacher is expected to help the student understand.
Whether this is an overreaction or if it has some truth to it, the school board is reviewing the material. And Coletti is pulling it from the curriculum in the future.