A parent has sued the officials and teachers of Chatham Middle School and the School District of the Chathams in New Jersey for allegedly promoting Islam and forcing her son to watch Islamic conversion videos.
Libby Hilsenrath filed a lawsuit in the New Jersey District Court, alleging that her 12-year-old-son, a seventh-grader at Chatham Middle School, was required to accept lessons and homework assignments in his World Cultures and Geography class that contained "religious teachings of Islam presented, not as beliefs, but as facts."
The lawsuit claims that students were assigned to watch a five-minute video that "seeks to convert viewers to Islam."
"This conversion video, replete with biased, chastising statements encouraging the students at Chatham Middle School, including (her son), to follow the Quran and become Muslim, concluded with a direct and explicit call for the children to convert to Islam," Hilsenrath stated in her complaint, as reported by Daily Record.
According to NJ.com, the video also makes statements such as "Allah is the one God;" "The Quran is a perfect guide for humanity;" "Muslims created a tradition of unsurpassable splendor;" and concludes with "May God help us all find the true faith, Islam."
The text slides were reportedly set to a musical version of the poem "Qaseedah Burdah," which reportedly describes Christians and Jews as "infidels" and praises Muhammad in gruesome detail for slaughtering them.
The students were also required to watch a video on the five pillars of Islam, which featured the Islamic conversion creed "There is no god except Allah and prophet Muhammad is His Messenger."
At the end of the video, viewers were referred to a website and email address where they can arrange a mosque tour or order an information pack about Islam.
The lawsuit came after Hilsenrath and Nancy Meyer, another parent of a Chatham student, complained to the school board about the curriculum during a meeting in February 2017.
At the meeting, Hilsenrath complained that the videos promote the religion of Islam and pointed out that other religions, including Christianity and Judaism, were not covered in the class.
The two parents went on to appear on Fox News, where they were interviewed on air by Tucker Carlson. "It crosses the line because it teaches one religion and not all others," Hilsenrath told Carlson.
Hilsenrath, who is represented by Westfield-based attorney Michael Hrycak, is seeking a permanent injunction, nominal damages and litigation costs. The lawsuit also seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, noting that Hilsenrath's son has suffered irreparable harm, as well as nominal damages for the loss of constitutional rights.