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School apologizes for exam question on ISIS being a terrorist organization

Muslim educator group upset with ‘U.S. and Zionist propaganda’

A New Jersey middle school has apologized for a teacher’s exam which referred to The Islamic State, aka ISIS, as a “terrorist organization.”

According to The Post Millennial, the Schuyler Colfax Middle School teacher’s multiple-choice quiz question (below) stated “It is a terrorist organization that commits acts of violence, destroys cultural artifacts, and encourages loss of life in order to achieve its goal of global rule under strict Sharia law.”

Answers included The Shining Path, al Qaeda, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), and (the correct response) Islamic State.

The group Teaching While Muslim posted on Instagram that the question was “NOT okay on a million levels” and claimed “We have seen anti Muslim & anti Palestinian sentiments, teachers, and content in our schools over and over again.”

It went to allege the 7th grade teacher’s question was “factually inaccurate” and another example of “US and Zionist propaganda.”

“[The teacher] has failed his students and must be held accountable for this misinformation,” TWM continued. “How many educators are bringing their prejudice and hate into their classrooms?”

TWM, which describes itself as “Muslim educators based in NJ working to actively include social justice, anti-racist & anti-Islamophobic curricula and educators in [NJ] schools,” also posted the school’s mission statement which says it helps students develop a “sense of responsibility, self-worth, and respect for others.”

It asked “how are your Muslim students supposed to foster self-worth […] with educators embodying this level of hate and prejudice?”

MORE: Muslim school board member was against 9/11 tribute, wanted teachers screened for Islamophobia

In a statement to the school community on June 20 posted by the group Wayne for Palestine, Schuyler Colfax Principal Heather Weinstein wrote that she “immediately launched an investigation” into the matter.

“The question was offensive and contrary to values of respect, inclusivity, and cultural sensitivity that we foster at Schuyler,” Weinstein said. “We apologize for this incident and understand the impact and deep concern.”

Wayne for Palestine subsequently posted a QR code for readers to send an email to district and school officials which reads in part:

An apology alone does not undo the damage. We demand that a lesson approved by Muslim and Arab teachers be implemented immediately when students return in September to counteract this harmful content. Additionally, please inform us of the name of the biased software used, and confirm its immediate discontinuation.

We need to know who is responsible for training your staff on Islam, Muslims, Arabs, and Palestinians. We demand that you connect with expert Muslim and Arab educators to provide necessary training, audit your curriculum, and ensure it does not perpetuate trauma. This demand has been ignored for years. Please inform us who you will work with and their role before the new school year starts.

The message also complains about the “lack of representation” in Wayne Township Public Schools, noting the town is comprised of  “thousands of Black and Brown people of various religions and ethnicities […] yet there are zero Muslims or Arabs in positions of power within the district.”

According to U.S. News, Schuyler Colfax MS has just over 30 percent minority enrollment, the majority of which is Asian and Hispanic.

The Post Millennial report notes the U.S. State Department has considered ISIS (and its predecessor AQI) a “foreign terrorist organization” for the last 20 years.

MORE: Canadian elected officials call criticism of Muslim prayers in schools ‘hateful,’ ‘racist’

IMAGES: Robert Spencer/X; WayneForPalestine/Instagram

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