US teacher gives sixth-grade students anti-Muslim reading assignment

Published: April 21, 2017


PHOTO: REUTERS Courtesy: The Huffington Post Courtesy: The Huffington Post

A teacher in Florida was reprimanded for giving his sixth-grade religion class an anti-Muslim reading assignment.

Mark Smythe is the religion and social studies teacher at Blessed Trinity Catholic school in Ocala, Florida. He gave his students printouts of a 19th-century Catholic text that refers to Islam as a ‘monstrous mixture’ of faiths. The doctrines of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) were called “ridiculous, immoral and corrupting.”

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“We have spoken to the principal of Blessed Trinity Catholic School, Ocala and to the teacher in question and have reprimanded the teacher for this unfortunate exhibit of disrespect,” Jacquelyn Flanigan, an associate superintendent at the Diocese of Orlando’s Catholic school system, said in a statement.

However, Flanigan did not elaborate on what ‘reprimanded’ meant.

She further said that “the information provided in the sixth grade class is not consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church.”

The text was shared with The Huffington Post by the friend of a concerned mother in Smythe’s class.

“[The mother] shared this with me while she could not stop crying,” the friend wrote.

Courtesy: The Huffington Post

Courtesy: The Huffington Post

Courtesy: The Huffington Post

Courtesy: The Huffington Post

Leaders within Ocala’s interfaith community were shocked and upset to see this reading assignment as part of a class.

Humeraa Qamar, a Muslim whose daughter once attended the school emailed the school, saying the assignment “caused a lot of distress to the students in [the] class and also understandingly to the Muslim Americans living in Ocala, Fl including our family.”

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Rabbi David Kaiman also emailed the school saying the reading was “dangerous and destructive and feeds those who seek to hate, vilify,” and that it “expresses a hate language that is disturbing.”

He added that the “tone and factual content is outdated and not reflective of Catholic doctrine.”

This story originally appeared on The Huffington Post

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Reader Comments (5)

  • Anon
    Apr 21, 2017 - 3:19PM

    Reprimanded? Had he said this about any other religion the man would be on the street!Recommend

  • rana
    Apr 21, 2017 - 6:52PM

    Without fire there will be no smoke.Recommend

  • Umar
    Apr 21, 2017 - 7:18PM

    education institutions need to be places of tolerance, diversity of ideas, and imagination. this was an assault on enlightenment and intellectualism.

    it is the fear of the other wrapped-up in thinking one’s religion is the best. Recommend

  • siesmann
    Apr 22, 2017 - 2:07AM

    USA has its fair share of fanatics and haters.But they try to correct the things as far as they can,and try to make curriculum fair,and tolerant,and unprejudiced. Unfortunately this is not true for Pakistan,and its texts which have become more intolerant,hateful and prejudiced .One only has to compare the textbooks of 50s and 60s ,and compare them to today’s.Everything including education in Pakistan is mullahized. So talking of other countries’ education is plain bigotry.Recommend

  • VGP
    Apr 22, 2017 - 5:19AM

    Whats wrong in anything that he has mentioned. Its the truth and the ugly truth that many people cant digest. Face itRecommend

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