A Californian mother's rant about Islam being taught in schools has gone viral in yet another embarrassing display of the rampant ignorance that plagues so many of our friends across the pond, desperate to protect America's non-existent Christian heritage.
Tara Cali of Bakersfield, California, posted a photo online of her son's homework assignment which asked students to name the five pillars of Islam and summarise Islamic beliefs and practices.
"My son will not be a part of this in any sort of way. This is bad teaching material. He will NOT partake. If you have a problem with it, call our lawyer," Cali wrote over the homework sheet, listing six Bible verses instead.
"How about Christian practices? That sheet has never came home, this year or last! [sic]" she added. Under a QR code that students were invited to scan to hear the call to prayer from a Mosque in Istanbul, Cali simply wrote, "Seriously?"
It's the kind of response that you'd hope would be laughed at and ignored, but Cali's Facebook post has been liked 38,000 times, and shared by more than 123,000 people. Some of the comments below accuse the government of brainwashing children and implying that Christianity is being pushed out of schools, while Islam is actively encouraged.
"GOOD FOR YOU MOM! We, as Americans, need to stand up for Christianity, which ARE the principals on which this country was founded!" one commentator wrote.
"If you can't teach Jesus you shouldn't be able to teach Islam," said another.
Except the thing is, America isn't actually a Christian country, and you can teach about Jesus in US schools. The textbook Cali mentions includes chapters on Christianity and other belief systems. Many teachers have also commented below her post on Facebook, pointing out that learning about a range of cultures and religions is a standard part of the Californian curriculum, and a vital element of a well-rounded education.
Unfortunately, however, Cali is not alone in her views. Parents in Tennessee last month raised concerns about their children having to write out the five pillars of Islam, and learning the Shahada, the Islamic creed of conversion as part of religious education lessons. Elsewhere in the Bible Belt, more than 4,000 have joined a Facebook group contesting "Georgia's Islamic Curriculum". There does seem to be a growing discontent with the way in which the US school system is approaching Islam, but largely from those who have bought into the lie that all Muslims are extremists, and learning about their faith is tantamount to encouraging terrorism.
Ironically, of course, the only solution to ill-founded views such as these is education. Whether the right-wing, Fox-News-watching population like it or not, Islam is growing across the world, including in the US, and learning about it is vital if we are to understand our ever-changing global landscape. Not only will this prove integral to combating ignorance, but will also contribute to de-radicalisation efforts. It is by understanding the teachings of Islam, and increasing interfaith dialogue, that extremist groups such as Islamic State and Boko Haram lose their power to convince people that they are advocating for the true Islam, not by refusing to engage with it.