A Kansas elementary school has taken down a hallway display depicting the Five Pillars of Islam after it caused an Internet controversy and complaints from parents.
The bulletin display at Minneha Core Knowledge Magnet Elementary greeted students on their first day of school last Wednesday, the Wichita Eagle reports. After a photo of the bulletin was posted on the Internet, several conservative blogs, Facebook pages and a state politician accused the school of promoting Islam to children.
“If you’re going to talk about Islam and make it sound like it’s another one of those religions that needs to be understood and contemplated by mankind, there’s a serious misunderstanding,” state lawmaker Rep. Dennis Hedke told the Kansas Watchdog. He told the outlet that he was "appalled" when he heard about the display.
In response to the controversy, school administrators have agreed to temporarily take down the display. Still, they say that the photo of the bulletin was taken out of context.
“There is also a painting of the Last Supper hanging in the school as part of the study of art and the Renaissance period,” a school representative told Fox News. “A photo [taken] of a bulletin board without context is misleading, and some have taken it out of context without having all the information.”
At the school, students receive instruction on the five major world religions –- Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam -- as part of their “Core Knowledge magnet curriculum,” according to a letter the school’s principal sent to parents Monday. In the letter, the school’s principal explained that she decided to take down the display until classes begin to cover world religions.
“There are some who took offense to the bulletin board without understanding Core Knowledge curriculum, and this offense resulted in numerous phone calls, e-mails and media inquiries,” principal Linda Hope wrote. “In order to alleviate the distraction to our students and teachers, the display was taken down last week until this particular unit for 4th graders is taught in early October.”
The controversy comes a month after Florida Rep. Ritch Workman said a textbook used throughout the state has a pro-Islam bias. According to Workman, the book dedicates 36 pages to the history of Islam and only several paragraphs to Christianity.
"When you report history truly, then you report those horrible things that we did in the name of Christ or that the Jews did. And you should also report that in the name of Islam," Workman told local outlet WESH-TV.