News of the weird

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ruled that a California school district’s use of role-playing in a world history class to teach middle school students about Islam did not violate the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. The plaintiffs claimed that 125 middle school students were asked to select a Muslim name, learn Islamic prayers, stage make-believe pilgrimages to Mecca, fast during lunch to simulate the fasting done during the holy month of Ramadan, dress in Muslim robes, and use Arabic phrases meaning “God is great.”

I don’t have the court’s unpublished opinion, and so I draw no firm conclusions about its reasoning or resolution (consider me skeptical, though — would the court have been as well disposed to a project that had students learning Latin phrases with which to praise Jesus?). What I find weird, and distressing, is that (the Constitution aside) a school would indulge in this sort of exercise.


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