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Parents in Augusta County Concerned About Islamic Indoctrination

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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

On Tuesday some Augusta County parents are demanding answers after calling a student assignment anti-American.

Some parents are calling it Islamic indoctrination, but the school superintendent says these assignments are just cultural lessons not any kind of religious statement.

“When I saw the language, the Arabic language, immediately I had a bad feeling come over me,” said Kimberly Herndon, a concerned parent.

Last week, ninth-grade-students at Riverheads High School were asked to copy the Shahada for a school assignment.

“She told us the paper meant faith so we didn't think anything of it,” said Laurel Truxell, a ninth-grader.

But after they found out what they translated, “There is no other God but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger.” Some students took issue.

“A lot of people got really upset and I refused to do the paper,” said Truxell.

Some students also put on a scarf part of the interactive lesson intended to teach about a religious article of clothing, the Hijab.

“When they asked me to dress up, I said no and the aide said okay, well the teacher pushed and pushed and pushed so I did it, and when she took a picture, I asked for it not to be in the yearbook and she said it was, so that's when my parents called the school," said Truxell.

Kimberly Herndon, a parent of six children, posted an outcry on Facebook getting more than 700 shares. Herndon’s post sparked a community meeting Tuesday night.

“These children were deceived when they were told it was calligraphy, this is not calligraphy, this is a language,” said Herndon.

“I just felt uncomfortable learning about it in a world geography class, you shouldn't teach religion in school unless you're in a religious class,” said Truxell.

In a statement, the Superintendent for Augusta County Schools said "neither these lessons, nor any other lesson in the world geography course, are an attempt at indoctrination to Islam or any other religion, or a request for students to renounce their own faith or profess any belief."

The superintendent added that students will have similar assignments when studying other cultures like China and Africa. 

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