Two mothers from New Jersey are suing after their legitimate objections to a pro-Islamic curriculum in their children’s middle school resulted in personal and social media attacks upon them within the community.
According to the Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, they are now representing Libby Hilsenrath and Nancy Gayer whose children attend Chatham Middle School in Chatham, New Jersey. The two women are being pilloried by their community for raising objections about a cartoon video entitled, 5 Pillars, which promotes Islam.
In the film, two boys are shown kicking a soccer ball. One of the boys is Muslim and proceeds to teach the non-Muslim the 5 Pillars of Islam. Meanwhile, a subtitle plays across the screen pronouncing a form of the Islamic conversion creed: “There is no god except Allah and Prophet Muhammad is His messenger.” The film ends with the non-Muslim boy looking sad until the Muslim boy invites him for noon-day prayers at the mosque.
The mothers detailed their concerns in person to the Chatham Board of Education at their February 6, 2017 public meeting. Afterward, Superintendent Michael LaSusa indicated that any change to the curriculum was unlikely, and the next day also refused their request to meet privately with him to discuss their concerns.
This is when the personal attacks began. The two women have been defamed as “bigots” and “Islamophobes”, “hateful”, “ignorant”, “xenophobes”, “intolerant”, “racist”, “closed minded”, “sad and ignorant” in social media, and the list goes on.
Things only got worse for the mothers after they appeared on the Tucker Carlson Show on Fox News.
“The promotion of Islam is worse than what the mothers presented to Tucker Carlson,” said Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center.
“After viewing one of the videos which the seventh graders were directed to watch, I can’t imagine any objective person saying this is not Islamic indoctrination. Clueless school administrators across our nation are allowing this type of indoctrination to take place and it’s up to vigilant parents to stop it. Libby and Nancy should have been praised, not pilloried.”
Despite their mistreatment, neither woman is about to be silenced. “One of my fundamental obligations as a parent is to guide the religious and secular education of my children,” said Libby Hilsenrath. “That’s why I will continue the fight against the Islamic indoctrination now taking place at Chatham, regardless of the personal attacks.”
Nancy Gayer is also determined to prevail. “It’s just not fair that within this unit of study the Chatham school district taught one religion to the exclusion of all others, and for the community to be so unkind and unwelcoming towards us, just for having raised legitimate questions as concerned parents.”
The women are asking the board to review the curriculum and are requesting that either the Islam lessons be removed or the school devote equal time to the study of Christianity and other religions.
This could be a hard sell in a school where Gayer’s son, while in the fourth grade, was reprimanded by a teacher for using a quote from the Bible in a video presentation. The teacher told him that Bible quotes “belong in Sunday school, not in the classroom.”
“Obviously, based upon the World Cultures and Geography lessons being taught to children within the same school district, this abridgment of religious speech does not apply to Islam,” the Law Center writes.
Instead, the school is presenting children with a sugarcoated, false depiction of Islam.
“They had not been informed of the kidnappings, beheadings, slave-trading, massacres, and persecution of non-Muslims, nor of the repression of women — all done in the name of Islam and the Koran,” the Center adds.
Let us keep these brave women in our prayers!
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