A New Jersey mother is suing her son’s school after she said her child was forced to watch Islamic conversion videos in school.
Libby Hilsenrath filed the lawsuit in January 2018 on behalf of her 12-year-old son against the Chatham School District and Board of Education, prompting the school district to file a motion to have the case dismissed. However, federal Judge Kevin McNulty said that he will not dismiss the case, adding that it must be decided in court. Hilsenrath’s lawsuit asks for declaratory and injunctive relief, damages, and legal fees.
The school superintendent Michael LaSusa, assistant superintendent Karen Chase, Chatham middle school principal Jill Gihorski, Social Studies supervisor Steven Maher, and Social Studies teachers Megan Keown and Christine Jakowski have also been named in the lawsuit which was filed as a civil rights complaint.
“There will be opportunity enough to consider the substantive issues when evidence has been developed in discovery and the facts have been developed,” said Judge McNulty.
According to Hilsenrath, the Chatham middle school gave her son a take home social studies assignment that included two videos students were told to watch. One of the videos was an “Intro to Islam” video the other was a “Five Pillars of Islam” video, both of which Hilsenrath argues was a form of Islamic indoctrination that her son was instructed to watch without supervision.
Within the first minute of “Intro to Islam” video, Islam is falsely proclaimed to be “based on peace”, a clear indication that the video Hilsenrath’s son and the other students were forced to watch is simply a form of propaganda. In the Quran, it says “do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies,” which is far from peaceful or tolerant.
The middle school students were also required to complete a fill-in-the-blank version of “shahada”, otherwise known as the Islamic conversion prayer. The assignment contained a link to a website that explained “the ease with which they (students) could convert to become Muslim”. The lawsuit also argues that Judaism and Christianity were not taught to the students.
Hilsenrath says she first complained about the Islamic school lessons to the school board in February of 2017, and even appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show on February 20, 2017 to address her concerns. However, Chatham middle school continued to defend the curriculum and argued that the lesson plan and Islamic conversion assignments were intended to “help students develop understandings of the themselves, others, and the world around them.”
Hilsenrath and her son are being represented by Michael Hrycak, an attorney who is affiliated with the Thomas More Law Center, a national nonprofit conservative Christian law firm.
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