A Massachusetts high school has recently come under fire after forcing students to take part in a mock pilgrimage to Mecca, an assignment used by Newport Public Schools to teach about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The assignment required students to pretend that they were Muslims in the “Islamic” city of Jerusalem, on a journey to the Islamic holy city of Mecca. As expected, many parents were upset, with many expressing concerns to the school board.
One father was particularly angry, after discovering that the assignment was largely pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel. According to the father, he was told by the principal that next year’s lesson would be even more upsetting and controversial—not a good sign for parents.
The controversial assignment came from a textbook by CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting. The group describes itself as a “media-monitoring” organization devoted to promoting “accurate and balanced coverage” of conflicts in the Middle East.
“As our concluding project on the Islamic world, you will work in groups to simulate a historic hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca in class,” one teacher wrote in the assignment description. “Each of you will be part of a group of Muslim pilgrims from one of the following eight Islamic cities or regions, around a rough time period.”
Fox News reports that one of the “eight Islamic cities” is Jerusalem, and students are ordered to set up a “tent” which will display information about “their” cities, and contain cultural artifacts to represent their “Islamic hometowns.”
In one lesson on the rapid spread of Islam, the teacher said that Muslim conquerors acted “decently” to their subjects, which many historians have widely disputed. Bill Marshall, Senior Investigator of Judicial Watch, said that the lesson used “as little, if any material on the violent history of Islam.”
“When you hear so much caterwauling from the Left about religion being mixed in the school, it’s troubling when kids are being asked to go on an imaginary Hajj,” Marshall said.
Dr. Bill Saxton, chairman of Citizens for National Security, also noted that the school board was teaching students a biased history, filled with pro-Islam and anti-Israel bias. “Parents and grandparents have absolutely no idea what their children and grandchildren are reading and hearing in school about history,” he said.
“How many of them have read or looked at their textbooks, for example?” Dr. Saxton called this Muslim pilgrimage exercise a “purposeful attempt to indoctrinate our impressionable high schoolers with the ‘virtues’ of Islam at the expense of Christianity, Judaism and other religions.”
Dr. Saxton has been spearheading a two-year effort to get the release of nearly 600 pages of textbook and teaching material from Newton Public Schools, but says that they’ve been actively resisting him every step of the way, calling the school board and superintendent “very uncooperative” and “non-transparent.
“I’m not sure we got everything,” Saxton said. “[But] we got so much damning material to go ahead with.”
Newton Public Schools were contacted, but did not respond to a request for comment.
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