ANN ARBOR, MI – Two Chatham mothers announced Thursday that they are are now being represented by the Thomas More Law Center in regard to their opinions on the curriculum associated with the religion of Islam at the Chatham Middle School.
The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan stated in its release that the "mothers who are being pilloried by their community. Their crime: appearing on Fox TV’s Tucker Carlson Show to voice concerns about Islamic indoctrination of Chatham Middle School seventh graders."
According to the law firm's press release, seventh graders in this public school are taught: “May God help us all find the true faith, Islam.”
Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, commented: “The promotion of Islam is worse than what the mothers presented to Tucker Carlson. 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.”
Libby Hilsenrath and Nancy Gayer, with sons in different classes in the seventh grade, detailed their concerns in person to the Chatham Board of Education at their February 6, 2017 public meeting. According to the TMLC release, "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."
"As we stated at our March 6 Board of Education meeting, our school district meets and exceeds the New Jersey Student Learning Standards in all areas," LaSusa said when asked about the release. "As part of the school district's social studies program, students are exposed to the tenets of all major world religions, including Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and more."
According to TMLC, "Students had been shown a subtle propaganda cartoon video, 5 Pillars, which opens with two boys, one of them a Muslim, kicking a soccer ball. The Muslim teaches the non-Muslim the 5 Pillars of Islam. Additionally, a subtitle of bright, multi-colored words of various shapes pronounces a form of the Islamic conversion creed: “There is no god except Allah and Prophet Muhammad is His messenger.
"The cartoon ends with a sad non-Muslim boy, who smiles when the Muslim boy invites him to join him at the mosque for noon-day prayers."
See the 5-minute video here.
According to Thompson, "Clearly, seventh graders had been presented 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."
TMLC also stated in its release that: "Libby Hilsenrath and Nancy Gayer were subjected to personal attacks throughout their campaign to stop Islamic indoctrination at the Chatham Middle School. They were defamed as “bigots” and “Islamophobes,” “hateful,” “ignorant,” “xenophobes,” “intolerant,” “racist,” “closed minded,” “sad and ignorant” in social media, and the list goes on. The attacks significantly intensified after their appearance on the Tucker Carlson Show."
Commenting on the community’s reaction, Nancy Gayer stated: “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.”
Libby Hilsenrath added, “One of my fundamental obligations as a parent is to guide the religious and secular education of my children. That’s why I will continue the fight against the Islamic indoctrination now taking place at Chatham, regardless of the personal attacks.”
Libby Hilsenrath and Nancy Gayer asked the board to review the curriculum and requested that either the Islam lessons be removed or that the school spend equal time on the study of Christianity and other religions.
Nancy Gayer contrasted the World Cultures and Geography lessons on Islam to her son’s previous experience in fourth grade when he was precluded from including a short quote from the Bible "he who lends to the poor, lends to the Lord.” (Prov 19:17). The quote was a part of his video presentation related to gathering warm clothes for underprivileged children. Gayer said that her son’s teacher informed him that the brief Biblical quote "belongs in Sunday school, not in the classroom."
According to TMLC, "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."