Teacher Under Fire for Anti-Muslim Lesson

Rachel Bertsche
·Writer
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A teacher at a Texas high school allegedly distributed this anti-Muslim handout to his economics class. (Photo: KHOU)

A high school economics teacher is facing disciplinary action after allegedly distributing anti-Muslim handouts to his students.

In late March — although the events are just coming to light now — an unnamed teacher at Foster High School in Richmond, Texas, sent students home with an eight-page handout entitled “Islam/Radical Islam (Did You Know).” The handout, which was not approved by the Lamar Consolidated Independent School District, made claims such as “38% of Muslims believe people that leave the faith should be executed” and “There are an estimated 190-300 million ‘radical Islam’ followers.” It also made reference to terrorism, beheadings and “if taken hostage by radical Islamists, what to do.”

The information on the handout, which cited no sources, had allegedly beem pulled from various hate sites, according to the New York Daily News.

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This anti-Muslim handout included references to beheadings, terrorism and what to do if taken hostage by radical Islamists. (Photo: KHOU)

A Muslim student in the class took the handout home to her parents, who contacted the Houston office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Houston). The family has chosen to remain anonymous but CAIR-Houston is calling for swift action against the teacher. “I’m hoping that they will take appropriate disciplinary action, but more than that we would like to provide some sort of diversity training to the teachers in the district,” Mustafaa Carroll, executive director of CAIR-Houston, tells Yahoo Parenting. “My guess is that some of the educators in the district don’t know or understand Muslims, which is unfortunate because there is a large population of Muslims in that district. Without training, the school is on a collision course and things like this will keep happening.”  

The Lamar Consolidated Independent School District provided Yahoo Parenting with the following statement: “We’re disappointed to learn one teacher made independent changes to a lesson plan, resulting in information being given that didn’t follow subject matter, or state and local curriculum plans. As soon as this issue was brought to our attention, the administration addressed the situation with the teacher. Ensuring our students have access to factual information, given in the proper context, is a priority in our District. Arbitrary curriculum decisions, which are clearly outside of the guidelines, won’t be tolerated. The District generally does not comment on personnel actions, but the appropriate measures will be taken in response to this matter.”

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Officials representing Foster High School say they are taking action against the teacher who allegedly handed out anti-Muslim materials. (Photo: KHOU) 

Carroll says this teacher probably didn’t know the offensive nature of the materials he distributed and also says the teacher planned to test students on the information at a later date. “He probably didn’t even see a problem. He thinks he’s giving out factual information; it might have even been well-intentioned,” Carroll says. “But the principal called me right away and said how disgusted and upset he was. I’m assuming that this teacher is so fearful that he just felt he had to warn everyone.”

Working with teachers to better educate them on different religions and cultures is a priority for CAIR-Houston, Carroll says. “Our goal is to work together with schools in a way that is positive and amicable,” he says. “People make mistakes and have fears, unfortunately, and it’s our duty to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

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