There is complex artistry in written English? When did this happen?
Is this a trick question? The Buick manual. By a longshot. Anything else would be absolutely obnoxious on every level.
For some reason, it’s often used in textbooks, be it to learn calligraphy or to learn Arabic. I remember it being one of the first sentences in my Arabic textbook, despite it being produced by a French company specialized in language learning material (rather than, say, an Arab cultural center or something). I’d have expected “my shirt is red” rather than “there’s no god but god”.
Otherwise, I agree with you. This choice was a very poor one.
Pretty sure the teacher didn’t have to choose that specific phrase. And I’m also pretty sure the school board didn’t approve of that specific lesson. Yes, the board may have been fine with a calligraphy lesson, but that specific phrase? No fucking way.
Maybe there are other options? Especially since the Bible isn’t a work originally written in English. I wouldn’t advise a French translation of Tolstoï to someone learning French. Either you’re learning about world religions (in which case the bible is perfectly fine, but preferably translated in your own language), or you’re studying the complex artistry of English, in which case you pick a book written by an English-speaking author.
The school board approved the textbook that the assignment came from.
The teacher and the school board can both be wrong. It’s not mutually exclusive.
Exactly, pardon me for being overly optimistic about the good folks on the school board in Virginia.
I didn’t say otherwise. Grrr! seems to be of the belief that the school board did not approve the textbook.
That’s not what I said at all. I don’t think the school board knew that the teacher was going to have his students write that specific phrase. I know the school board approved of the textbook. But was the text book asking the students to write that phrase? Or was it the teacher?
From a Washington Post article on the story: “‘These children were deceived when they were told it was calligraphy,’ the parent, Kimberly Herndon, told NBC29 television. ‘This is not calligraphy, this is a language.’”
Isn’t calligraphy essentially artistic writing. You know, of words. Which when strung together form language.
When the prohibition on images started to be enforced (it wasn’t always, their are extant medieval Islamic coins the feature portraits of Muhammad), Islamic calligraphy became a significant religious art. The Hagia Sophia, for example, is decorated with large roundels bearing Quranic verses in calligraphy. There’s also a calligraphic genre of images of animals formed from verses. Studying Islamic calligraphy in a world religions class is as appropriate as studying stained glass would be in the Christianity module.
Indeed, I was trying to think of an example of non-religious Islamic calligraphy, and the only thing I could come up with was the Ottoman sultans’ tugras (monograms or seals), but even those, IIRC, contain some references to Islam.
Outstandingly easy to come up with a lesson containing this exercise:
- In an overview of different religions’ histories, their cultural and artistic contributions will be discussed. In the appropriate unit/lesson in the Islam segment, we will learn that during more orthodox periods pictorial representational art was frowned upon, so the developed a high degree of use of abstract geometrics and of calligraphy, most often of holy writings, to enable a high artistic expression while observing the religious values. Here is an exercise that illustrates the kind of skill needed for such a development of that art. Think of how a Christian may have an icon or a cross on the wall as decoration; isn’t it interesting how religion will make people do different creative things?*
There, exercise justified.
Now, maybe I would have found some other passage than the Shahada, if anything out of sensitivity to the Muslims to not treat their Creed as a decorative flourish to be practiced on by clumsy kids who may not treat it with the respect it deserves. Maybe some “peace and blessings unto all” bit, instead.
But Jesus Christ on rollerskates people are getting into fucking hysterics, really. Will everyone please take a goddamned deep breath and pop a Xanax??
Congratulations, parents, it used to be it was only Islamofascist turds who’d threaten a Western outfit for using a bit of Islamic scripture or references for mundane purposes. Now you’ve joined them. Bravo.
The CNN article linked by **Valgard **has a photo of the homework assignment and says that a local newspaper (the Staunton News Leader) reported that the teacher had taken it from a “standard workbook on world religions”. The assignment in the photo looks like a page taken either directly from a workbook or photocopied from one. On the image you can also see some text explaining the significance of calligraphy in Islam.
Also from the Staunton News Leader story:
Perhaps they can use this in the future:
And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter
Well, if the assignment was the complex artistry of Islamic calligraphy then I would agree. But is was not. It was **the complex artistry of the written language used in the Middle East **.
On the other hand, this quote: “She gave up the Lord’s time,” Herndon said, of LaPorte’s lessons on religions. “She gave it up and gave it to Mohammed.” just shows how moronic some people are.
Incidentally, I went to school not that far from Staunton, and while it’s certainly not the big city it didn’t strike me as hillbilly territory either. It has a population of about 25,000 and is home to the American Shakespeare Center, a fairly well-known prep school, and a women’s college. There’s also a refugee relocation center in nearby Harrisonburg, so this part of Virginia has a much larger number of immigrants from the Middle East and Central Asia than one might assume.
I mention this because I find this story more surprising and disturbing than I would if it had occurred in a…bumfuckinger…place.
A fair point, and I would note that the number of schools in the USA than even offering a World Religions class to their students is severly limited (and in most places, the only world religion parents want taught is Christianty).
But jeez, you don’t think that as part of a class on World Religions the major tenets of Islam wouldn’t already have been discussed? I mean, I know most of them (albeit I lived over there for several years) and I would bet naming the Five Pillars would have been a natural test question.
This is not a mountain out of a molehill; the molehill is at least a useful construct for the mole.
Yeah, let’s back off the Hillbilly shit. Stanton is not Hillbilly country. I know, I grew up in VA, a lot closer to the Hillbilly part. Anyone suggesting a religions course in VA Hillbilly Country is going to have one, and only one, religion to talk about.
what other language than arabic (or Persian using this same text) extent in the middle east or over the past one thousand four hundred years do you think has the significant tradition of use of calligraphy as a central art form?