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Augusta County schools closed on Friday: Media attention on Islam assignment cited

augusta-county2editsAugusta County Schools are closed Friday, and afterschool events on the schedule for tonight and through the weekend have been postponed.

The abrupt announcement from the school system was made in the wake of the continuing controversy generated by a group of parents of students at Riverheads High School over a World Geography class assignment on Islamic culture.

Conservative blogs and media sources, including right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh, brought national attention to the assignment from a World Religions workbook that had students practicing Arabic calligraphy by copying a passage from the Kuran, the shahada, a statement of faith that translates to, “there is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”

In a statement posted to the county school system website announcing the closing and event cancellations late Thursday, the school division acknowledged that the media firestorm has generated “voluminous phone calls and electronic mail locally and from outside the area.”

“The communications have significantly increased in volume today,” and concerns regarding the “tone and content of those communications” led to the decision to close the schools.

“We regret having to take this action, but we are doing so based on the recommendations of law enforcement and the Augusta County School Board out of an abundance of caution,” the statement read.


augusta free press
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