Target: Westside High School Principal Robin Hall
Goal: Maintain unbiased educational segment on Middle Eastern and Islamic culture.
West Virginia’s Westside High School may soon be compelled to remove multicultural lessons about Islam and the Middle East from its curriculum after the school received criticism from anti-Muslim bigots. Education about other cultures should be a fundamental component of schooling in our globalized, pluralistic world. Support the school and its curriculum in the face of this wave of hateful condemnation.
Photos of posters explaining the culture and history of Islam in the Middle East that students at Westside High School made as part of a lesson on multiculturalism were recently published online. A prominent Islamophobe named Dianne Lynn Savage, upset that the school was teaching about Islam in a way that “sugar-coated it,” called on her thousands of Facebook followers to inundate the school with phone calls condemning the Islamic “indoctrination.”
Robin Hall, the principal of the school, has said the school has been receiving calls from around the country of people upset with the school’s teaching of Middle Eastern culture. These complaints have been standard talking points of Islamophobic bigots—that Islam should never be taught in schools, that if it is covered it should cover the “real” Islam of violent and oppressive militants like the Taliban, and that such lessons are political correctness run amok.
So far Hall has stood firm in the school’s decision to include segments on the culture of the Middle East, saying that the complaints have been coming from outside the community the school serves so they, therefore, can be ignored. If parents begin to complain, though, the curriculum may be in more danger. Sign the petition below to urge the school to hold fast and preserve its unbiased and important education.
Dear Principal Hall,
I am writing you today regarding the flood of complaints your school has apparently received after photos of posters about Islamic culture your students made were published online. I wanted to take the time to express my support for you, your faculty, and your students.
The Middle East and Islam are very important components of the world we live in today. Islam is the world’s second largest religion and will keep growing, and the Middle East will continue to be a place of international importance in the years to come. Bearing these things in mind, it is vitally important that the next generation learns as much as there is to know about these cultures.
This is especially true when there are so many negative stereotypes out there about the Middle East and Muslims in general—stereotypes that are, ironically, fueling the complaints your school has been receiving. It is profoundly appropriate that the Islamophobes who have been voicing their displeasure at your school and its curriculum are inadvertently demonstrating exactly why what your school is doing is so important.
Accurate, unbiased information about the Middle East and Islam, free from the trappings of popular Islamophobia and racism, is a necessity in our globalized world. I hope you will remember this and stand firm in your school’s curriculum regardless of any more complaints you may receive in the future.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: racism-brotherhood-islam via 1muslimnation.wordpress.com