The Tennessee Board of Education has passed a proposal to cut a section from the curriculum of seventh graders that teaches about the Islamic faith. The section entitled “Islamic World 400 A.D./C.E.-1500s” has always included teachings about the five pillars of Islam. But after the Board’s decision, the content in this section will be moved into other units or cut out.
Teachers, parents and the public were able to share their opinions about the current standards online, and even though this section only took one week to review, it was a topic of contention. During a time of increasing focus on terrorist attacks and islamophobia, some people thought that this material could influence the minds of young individuals in the “wrong” way.
I spoke with David St. Clair, a religion professor at Emory & Henry, about his thoughts on the new curriculum. When asked if he saw anything wrong with the board’s decision he replied, “almost everything.”
We went on to have an insightful conversation about the importance of knowledge. St. Clair voiced his opinion that exposing does not equal promoting, and that what our children see on television is not the whole picture. According to St. Clair, “there should not be limits on what we teach.”
During this time of contention and fear, the greatest threat is arguably a lack of knowledge, especially among our youths.
– Sydney Cooke