The U.S. Department of Education has been accused of promoting the Islamisation of American schools after it posted a blog entry urging educators to protect Muslim children from bullying.
In the post titled "Protecting Our Muslim Youth from Bullying: The Role of the Educator," the department suggested to educators that they create an anti-bias learning environment by "incorporating the experiences, perspective and words of Muslim people into the curriculum through social studies and current events instruction, children's literature, in order to learn about different cultures."
Because of this, Christian groups have launched online petition to "Stop the Education Department From Islamizing Our Children."
The Christian Action Network (CAN) aims "to stop the United States Department of Education (DOE) from pressuring public schools to incorporate Islamic indoctrination into their classrooms."
"Public schools in America should not be a tool for brainwashing children into the tenets, faith, worship, prayer or services of Islam," said Martin Mawyer, president of CAN.
The petition cited that in some schools, students have been asked to memorise the Five Pillars of Islamic Faith, dress as Muslims, say Islamic prayers and design Muslim prayer rugs.
"Even official textbooks haven't masked their obvious intention of indoctrinating children into the Islamic faith," Mawyer said.
In the petition, signatories said they've had "enough of this INDOCTRINATION of our schoolchildren into Islam!"
"I demand that your Department of Education cease using the bullying power of the federal government to introduce even more outrageous Islamic programs, curriculum and lessons into the public schools," it said.
Mawyer vowed to rally supporters to oppose plans by the DOE to "encourage the false portrayal of Islam as peaceful, tolerant and conducive to a free society."
"We will not only use our voices, actions and influence to stop this, but we are also producing a documentary film to further expose the outrageous and illegal Islamic teaching programs already in place in our public schools," he said.
The DOE blog entry said in the wake of the Paris and other terrorist attacks, lack of information among students in public schools about Islam and the tendency to associate Islam with terrorism have led to an increase in incidents targeting the Muslim community.
Schools have not been immune to anti-Muslim sentiments, it said, as there have been physical attacks, verbal threats and social isolation.
Readers posted on the blog, opposing the plan.
"Islam is not merely a religion; it is also a totalitarian, supremacist political ideology. This kind of nonsense is one of many reasons the U.S. Department of Education should be dismantled," wrote Joanne Meegan.
Another said, "Why is the bullying of Muslims any more important than the bullying of other kids. Educators should be stopping ALL bullying. On the other side of the coin, if you want to live in this country, prepare to be treated as good or as bad as any other AMERICAN citizen. Muslims don't deserve ANY special treatment."