The Thomas More Law Center has requested the United States Supreme Court to review the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision that it is constitutional for a California public school to offer an intensive course on how to "become Muslims."
"This case cries out ‘double standard,’" said Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Law Center.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is the same court that decided the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional because it contained the phrase "under God."
"Yet they allow a three-week intensive course on how to become Muslims, including class memorization of Islamic prayers and participation in Islamic religious rituals," said Thompson.
For three weeks in 2001, 12-year-old students in a California public school were placed into Islamic city groups, took Islamic names, and wore identification tags that displayed their new Islamic name and the Star and Crescent Moon.
The were also handed materials that instructed them to "Remember Allah always so that you may prosper," completed the Islamic Five Pillars of Faith, including fasting, and memorized and recited the "Bismillah" or "In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate," which students also wrote on banners that were hung in the classroom.
A California federal trial court and the Ninth Circuit determined that these practices did not violate the Constitution.
"Although a public school may teach about religion, the school district here went far beyond an explanation of the historical or literary significance of Islam and placed these seventh graders into the position of becoming trainees in that religion," said Edward White III, the trial counsel handling the case. "These young children were indoctrinated in Islam, which the Constitution forbids."
The Supreme Court is expected to decide whether to review this case within the next few months.