WASHINGTON, Oct. 21, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called on the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate death threats made to a Tennessee school board member over a demand by Islamophobes to stop teaching students about Islamic culture.
[MEDIA ADVISORY: On Thursday, October 22, CAIR will join interfaith and community coalition partners at a news conference outside the Carroll County Office Building in Westminster, Md., to call on the Board of County Commissioners of Carroll County to repudiate an inflammatory Islamophobic commentary authored by County Commissioner Richard Rothschild. SEE: http://tinyurl.com/pjgwccl ]
White County Board of Education Roy Whited told a local media outlet that he received the death threats resulting from a controversy about a textbook used by many schools in sixth and seventh grade social studies classes. Some parents claim that teaching students anything positive about Islam amounts to "indoctrination."
At a town hall meeting in Sparta, Tenn., last night, a group opposed to students learning about Islam circulated a petition calling for Whited and the entire school board to resign.
Whited, who is a former teacher and a full-time minister, said, "We found absolutely nothing wrong with that material [about Islam]." Whited also told WSMV-TV about the threats he received: "You know, just watch out for your family, be careful, because when your house burns down, and such things like that."
SEE: Tenn. School Board Member Receives Death Threats from Islamophobes Over Teaching About Islam
"Educating American students about the history and culture of almost one fourth of the world's population should not result in death threats," said CAIR National Civil Rights Litigation Director Jenifer Wicks. "We urge the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate these threats and to take appropriate action."
CAIR recently called on Tennesseans of all faiths and backgrounds to contact their elected representatives in the state legislature and Governor Bill Haslam to oppose an anti-Islam bill that would prohibit schools from teaching "religious doctrine" until high school.
CAIR Action Alert: Ask Tennessee Lawmakers, Gov. Haslam to Oppose Anti-Islam Bill
CAIR said the bill is tied to the Islamophobic claims about "Islamic indoctrination" in state schools.
Gov. Haslam has since joined CAIR in expressing concerns about the legislation.
SEE: Tenn. Gov. Haslam Raises Questions About 'Religious Doctrine' Bill
In February, CAIR called on Republican Party leaders in Tennessee to repudiate a racist comment Rep. Butt posted on Facebook when she wrote: "[I]t is time for a Council on Christian Relations and an NAAWP in this Country."
SEE: CAIR Asks Tennessee GOP to Repudiate Sheila Butt's Racist Facebook Post
In March, CAIR issued another Tennessee action alert calling on state representatives to oppose a state bill (HB 1141 and SB 1040) which would have vilified the state's Muslim community by directing the Tennessee attorney general to eliminate imaginary "no-go zones."
"No-go zones" refers to a discredited and universally mocked claim that Muslims in Europe have set up zones that people of other faiths and police are not allowed to enter. The bills failed to pass.
SEE: CAIR Asks Tennessee Legislature to Drop Anti-Muslim 'No-Go Zone' Bill
In September, CAIR called on public officials to act to protect the civil rights of Tennessee's Muslim community following anti-Islam remarks by two of that state's sheriffs.
SEE: CAIR Calls for Protection of Tennessee Muslims Following Another Sheriff's Anti-Islam Comments
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)