LA PLATA, Md. – A Maryland school district is staring down a federal lawsuit, accused of indoctrinating students in Islam by forcing them to memorize a conversion prayer, and banning a father who objected.
The Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm, filed a lawsuit Wednesday on behalf of John and Melissa Wood and their daughter, who attends La Plata High School.
“The Woods’ daughter was forced to profess and to write out the Shahada in worksheets and quizzes” as part of her World History class, according to the Center. “The Shahada is the Islamic Creed, ‘There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.’ For non-Muslims, reciting the statement is sufficient to convert one to Islam. Moreover, the second part of the statement … signifies the person has accepted Muhammad as their spiritual leader.
“The teenager was also required to memorize and recite the Five Pillars of Islam,” according to a news release.
The Center points out how decidedly different Charles County Public Schools approaches Christianity.
Assignments allege “Most Muslims’ faith is stronger than the average Christian.” Student worksheets contend “Islam, at heart is a peaceful religion,” and that “To Muslims, Allah is the same God that is worshiped in Christianity and Judaism.”
The Center notes “The sugar coated version of Islam taught at La Plata High School did not mention that the Koran explicitly instructs Muslims ‘to kill the unbelievers wherever you find them.’”
“I don’t agree with it,” Wood – a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served in Desert Storm and responded to the Sept. 11 terrorist attack at the Pentagon – told Fox News in 2014. “You can’t study God or Christianity in school. You’ve got atheist suing schools for saying ‘God’ in the pledge and not being able to say prayers before football games, but we can force-feed our kids Islam.”
Wood told SoMD News he explained his position to school officials in plain terms.
“I told her straight up, ‘you could that that Muslim-loving piece of paper and shove it up your white (expletive),” he said. “If (students) can’t practice Christianity in school, they should not be allowed to practice Islam in school”
District officials would not allow the Woods’ daughter to opt out of the Islam assignments, or offer replacements, so the family decided together she would take zeros in a stand for their faith. The La Plata High School principal, meanwhile, issued a “no-trespass” order against Wood “without a hearing or any opportunity to refute the false allegations against him,” and the father was banned from school property.
The lawsuit asks the court to declare the district violated the Woods’ constitutional and statutory rights, and to issue an injunction preventing the district from endorsing Islam or giving the religion more attention than others. The suit also seeks to remove the “no trespass” order.
“Defendants forced Wood’s daughter to disparage her Christian faith by reciting the Shahada, and acknowledging Muhammad as her spiritual leader. Her World History class spent one day on Christianity and two weeks immersed in Islam,” Thomas More Center president Richard Thompson said. “Such discriminatory treatment of Christianity is an unconstitutional promotion of one religion over another.”
Thompson also spoke to a much bigger problem.
“The course also taught false statements such as ‘Allah is the same God worshiped by Christians,’ and Islam as a ‘religion of peace.’ Parents must be ever vigilant to the Islamic indoctrination of their children under the guise of teaching history and multiculturalism,” he said. “This is happening in public schools across the country. And they must take action to stop it.”
The lawsuit names Charles County Public Schools, the Board of Education, as well as the principal and vice principal of La Plata High School.