Massachusetts high school students pretended to be Muslims in the “Islamic” city of Jerusalem as part of a class assignment used in Newton Public Schools to teach about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a new report revealed.
One father was particularly upset when he discovered his daughter had been assigned what he described as an inflammatory pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel article, according to the report. The man was allegedly told by the school’s principal that lessons the next year would be even more upsetting to him.
The class assignment, “Cities: Connecting the Islamic Word,” was published in an excerpt from a book by CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting.
“As our concluding project on the Islamic world, you will work in groups to simulate a historical hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca in class,” a 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.”
One of the eight “Islamic” cities is Jerusalem, and students are instructed to set up a “tent,” which will display newspaper articles about “their” cities and cultural artifacts to represent their Islamic “hometowns.”
The CAMERA report, “Indoctrinating Our Youth: How a U.S. Public School Curriculum Skews the Arab-Israeli Conflict and Islam,” is a case study on allegedly biased materials used by Newton Public Schools to teach 9th and 10th graders about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Islamic history and culture. Newton is located about seven miles outside Boston, in a Middlesex County suburb.
“Citizens of Newton have been waging a minor war with school officials for years now, trying to get them to use balanced curriculum in their teaching materials on the subject of Islam and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Judicial Watch Senior Investigator Bill Marshall told Fox News.
Marshall detailed his investigation, alongside chairman of Citizens for National Security Dr. Bill Saxton, in an op-ed for the American Thinker. The results of the research compiled by Saxton and Marshall were used in the CAMERA report.
Newton parents and residents contacted Saxton, who heads CFNS, a Florida-based research organization that vets textbooks for factual accuracy to get them corrected or removed. Saxton spearheaded the two-year effort with Marshall at Judicial Watch to get the release of nearly 600 pages of teaching material from the Newton Public Schools.
Saxton told Fox News the Newton school board and superintendent were “very uncooperative” and “non-transparent” regarding what was in their textbooks.
“I’m not sure we got everything,” Saxton said. “[But] we got so much damning material to go ahead with it.”
He added: “Parents and grandparents have absolutely no idea what their children and grandchildren are reading and hearing in school about history and geography. How many of them have read or looked at their textbooks, for example?”
Marshall said the teaching materials “use as little, if any material on the violent history of Islam.” In one lesson plan on the “Spread of Islam” the teacher’s notes indicate Muslim conquerors acted “decently” to their subjects.
“When you hear so much caterwauling from the Left about religion being mixed in the school, it’s a little troubling when kids are being asked to go on an imaginary Hajj,” Marshall said.
Saxton called it an example of a “purposeful attempt to indoctrinate our impressionable high-schoolers with the ‘virtues’ of Islam at the expense of Christianity, Judaism and other religions.”
Newton Public Schools did not respond to a request for comment.