Wichita Elementary School Greets Students with the 5 Pillars of Islam

19 08 2013

When the Wichita Kansas mother and her husband enrolled their son in the neighborhood charter school, religious instruction was the last thing under their consideration.  In fact, had they known the Minneha Elementary School ( a public magnet school) used a curriculum that incorporated the open and direct use of Eastern religious writings, and Islamic core tenets, they may well have chosen a different school altogether.

It wasn’t until the boy came home from school in with worksheets in his backpack that the parents were aware that in 1st grade he had been instructed that there were three major world religions: Catholicism, Judaism, and Islam. In 2nd grade, the class was introduced to Eastern religions in a two week segment of the social studies class which, during the week of Hindu, the teacher read daily passages from a Hindu prayer book and followed with a week of reading Buddhist meditations.

Remember, we are talking 2nd Grade here, not a high-school Literature or Cultural Studies class!

This year the child began 3rd grade.  (He and his family are Jewish and he understands that Islamic groups worldwide have declared Jews, among others, as targets of scorn and violence.)  The religious display greeted him and his mother like a slap in the face as “The 5 Pillars of Islam” bulletin board welcomed the elementary students into the new school year, and apparently, the next level of social and cultural engineering (which has plagued public education for a while now), Islamic instruction.

Minneha Elementary School, Wichita, KS, 2013

Minneha Elementary School, Wichita, KS, 2013

It’s happening all over the United States.  School textbooks, particularly those published by Pearson Education, Inc. under the name Pearson Prentice Hall, are rife with Islamic friendly references.  One such History textbook, used by a Florida school district for three years now, contains a 36 page chapter dedicated to Islam, while no chapters at all were dedicated to Judaism, or Christianity, both of which are arguably the bedrock of Western civilization.  According to the Florida Rep. Rich Workman, the “Muslim Civilizations” chapter was confirmed to him by the publisher, to be written by an Islamic Cleric. One reference to the Muslim takeover of Medina says the people there received Muhammad with gladness and “happily accepted Islam as their way of life”.  No mention of the thousands of Jews and non-believers that were dispossessed, exiled and slaughtered in the process.

Another book by Prentice Hall, Medieval Times to Today in their “World Explorer” series, explains that “some” Christian pilgrims “were attacked and murdered” (prior to the 1st Crusade of 1095) by the Muslim Turks at Jerusalem, “even though Islamic teaching states that Jews and Christians are fellow believers in God.” (p. 118)

That statement is a half -truth, and therefore a lie.  While some earlier passages in Koran do make friendly to Jews, they are never considered “fellow believers” (which insinuates equality), and those passages are abrogated by the latter, and even final word in Sura’s 5 and 9 on the matter which state that Christians are “Unbelievers” and polytheists, because they believe in the Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit), (Sura 5:73) and that Muslims are to have no part of polytheism or those who practice it, furthermore are to fight against them, and the only Christians or Jews who were allowed to exist were those who submitted (definition of Islam) to Muslim rule and agreed to acquiesce to Islamic Law (Sharia), which posited them as much less than equal “fellow believers”.  Similarly, Sura 5:56-57 warns Muslims not to seek the friendship of “People of the Book” (Jews), also called “infidels” here, who rejected Muhammad’s religion, saying that Allah “has cursed” them.  These are the conditions by which Christians and Jews are permitted to retain their “religion”, living as “dhimmi” under Islamic governance.

The Minneha School policy states, “Since religion is a shaping force in the story of civilization, the Core Knowledge sequence introduces children in the early grades to major world religions, beginning with a focus on geography and major symbols and figures.”  Core Knowledge sequence uses several publishing houses, but as a note of interest, K-6 history and geography materials are published by Pearson.  (At this time, we have not been able to confirm any content of these specific textbooks, at the Wichita school.)

The major objections with this situation are threefold.

First, the display of “The 5 Pillars of Islam” is presenting a theological foray into the basic tenets of a religion.  The schools policy further states, The purpose is not to explore the matters of theology but to understand the place of religion and religious ideas in history.”

 For the record the 5 Pillars of Islam are as follows:

  1. Shahada – This is the verbal confession made when one becomes a Muslim and commits to obey the laws of Islam.  “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the Prophet of Allah
  2. Salat – The 5 daily prayers, each with a name and time for performance following ceremonial washing.
  3. Ramadan – The Fast during the month of Ramadan celebrating the initial verses of Koran given to Muhammad, and a time of introspection, and celebratory meals.
  4. Zakat – Alms giving.
  5. Hajj – The pilgrimage required by every Muslim if able, at least once in their lifetime. Many ceremonial religious exercises performed in Mecca.

[Some schools of Islam add a 6th Pillar which is Jihad – Holy War to advance Islam. Whether included as a fundamental pillar of the faith or not, Jihad is none-the-less an obligatory element to Islamic doctrine.]

Keep in mind this is not a display about the height of Islamic culture during the Fatimid Dynasty, or the great libraries kept at Cordoba by the most liberal Caliph in Islamic history, Al Hakam II.

One cannot expect a display touting “The 5 Pillars of Islam” to go unexplained to the students who view it.  Any instruction to follow, delving into these are getting into theology, and therefore a violation of the schools own policy.  Be that as it may, the only justifiable “balance” that could be attained is for the school to introduce lessons on Baptism and the Sacraments, as these are held by many mainstream Christian denominations to be the “way of salvation” just as the recitation of the Shahada, a purely theological exercise. [**Addendum Update**: Perhaps even more to this point, discussion of the “Apostle’s Creed”.]

Secondly, as already touched on briefly, these are elementary aged students, not junior high or even high schoolers, who are more equipped to have an objective approach to such sensitive subject matter.

Thirdly, this is a public school, not a private school. It does receive public funding.  Most of us are of the understanding that some courts and most public schools have decided that any intrusion of any type of religious activity or instruction is a violation of the establishment clause in the Constitution.  Indeed…

As a point of balance, we are informed, there is a picture of “The Last Supper” on an adjacent wall to this display.

Whether the “Last Supper” or Michelangelo’s statue of David, a classic piece of artwork, unless used in a larger theological discussion, is not necessarily of a religious inference, and even if a student did inquire about the individuals in the picture, a satisfactory explanation can be historical and even cultural in nature without even broaching a theological point.

Does the school intend to post the 10 Commandments, depict Baptism and the Eucharist, and compare the 3 core values of Judaism:  Torah (Learning), Avodah (service), and Gilmut Chasidim, (human interaction)? If the school gives equal time to these then there is equity.  Anything less is prejudice.

The 5 Pillars are theological religious instruction and must come down.


The School has taken the display down “until the unit is taught later this fall”.




7 responses

19 08 2013

Great piece! Well written! I shared with 164 people on Twitter and several thousand people on Facebook.

Question: In you article you refered to, “the Core Knowledge sequence.”. Is this charter school using the Federal government’s “Common Core” curriculum?

Question: Does this school have anything to do with the Turkish Muslims?

19 08 2013

According to the Core Knowledge Foundation website, Core Knowledge is fully aligned with Common Core Standards. http://www.coreknowledge.org/mimik/mimik_live_data/view.php?id=1833&record_id=271p?id=1833&record_id=271#ITPATTC

As far as having a link to the Turkish Charter School network, there is no link that I know of at this time.

Thanks for the kind words!

20 08 2013

“The display has been taken down until the unit is taught later this fall.” – Kansas City Star

21 08 2013

Another warning to get our kids out of public schools. It will only get worse.

30 03 2014

You’re ridiculous. Don’t you think these kids know about Christianity already? It’s embedded in our culture, it’s everywhere around us,. Do you know anything about Hinduism? About Islam? Obviously not. You should be encouraging learning about other cultures, it builds bridges. What you are doing is trying to tear them down. The world looks at us like we are a snooty no good group of selfish pigs set on enforcing our own way, and people like you are encouraging that stereotype. The more we know about a peoples culture, the more we see them as human beings and not savages. The point of that class is to learn about other cultures, Christianity is all around us, it is our culture. Judism is a unit at that school. If you lived in Wichita you would know that school is very advanced. The kids can handle it. In fact, maybe you should go there, you might learn a thing or too.

30 03 2014
Kay Kindall

I am pretty well read on the subject of Islam–mostly from people, especially women, who have suffered horribly at the hands of true Islamists. This blogger is very well studied on the subject and is more knowledgable on the subject than anyone I personally know. I would daresay he knows way more than you do on the subject. The fact that you say we view them as savages (not all Muslims, but those who adhere to the written teachings, including jihad) might be changed if they would quit beheading and blowing people up, butchering their little girls, beating and enslaving their women, sending rockets into Israel and threading to wipe Israel off the map. All in the name of Allah. I’m sure they won’t discuss any of those FACTS when teaching those school children. But, never mind the facts, let’s just be politically correct!
Most children in public schools do NOT know about Christianity, as our culture has changed the definition–like it has for tolerance, marriage, and even God. The Bible and prayer to the God of the Bible is no longer allowed and to be honest, most parents do not teach it to their children. Christianity is NOT all around us anymore. Anyone who speaks out for a Biblical principle is immediately shot down and called a hate monger. It is even a battle to display the 10 Commandments–which was the foundation of many of our laws. Gee, that would be terrible if everyone kept those 10!! (To be fair, most believers only endorse 9, going along with the Catholic Church, who admittedly deleted #4) Only God defines who He is & only His Words tell us how we are supposed to live and honor Him.
You say the world looks at us as if we are a snooty no good group of selfish pigs set on enforcing our own way? Maybe, but I care more about what He thinks and I know without a doubt we will have more true peace, love and kindness when we follow His ways. That said, I do not expect that people should be forced to believe the Bible or adhere to its principles (well, maybe don’t murder, etc….?) But as an American, we should not be forced to abandon Biblical principles in order to garner favor with all those who are way more concerned with being politically correct than in pleasing the God of the Bible. (as opposed to the god of___fill in the blank, including some false views of “Christianity”.)

30 03 2014

I guess you missed several points in this article. Learning about culture is one thing; indoctrinating kids in religion is something else entirely. As I said in the article, we are not talking about highschool aged students here who can approach the subject objectively. These are early elementary classes.

On another point, the sure way to destroy a society is teaching a pluralistic/muliticulturalist philosophy. All cultures are not equal just as all ideas or philosophies are not equal. Some cultures are antithetical to others. Some religious dogmas or philosphies are destructive to others.

You obviously haven’t spent much time on this site or you would have noticed I have spent considerable time studying various cultures/religions/political philosophies. Most of which come short of promoting a “peaceful and non-racist” utopia that you so advocate for.

Judging by the vulgarity including in your bogus email address, I am not surprised by your comment. You are what most progressives are: Intolerant and Hippocritical.

Salam Alaikum!

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