CHATHAM, N.J. — Two mothers of New Jersey middle school students have hired attorneys after they say they were targeted for harassment since appearing on television to voice concerns about Islamic indoctrination at their childrens’ school.
The pair had appeared on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Show” to voice their frustration over the curriculum, which they said was more indoctrination than education.
“Libby Hilsenrath and Nancy Gayer were subjected to personal attacks throughout their campaign to stop Islamic indoctrination at the Chatham Middle School. They were defamed as “bigots” and “Islamophobes”, “hateful”, “ignorant”, “xenophobes”, “intolerant”, “racist”, “closed minded”, “sad and ignorant” in social media, and the list goes on. The attacks significantly intensified after their appearance on the Tucker Carlson Show,” reads a statement from the Thomas More Law Center (https://www.thomasmore.org/press-releases/chatham-middle-school-students-taught-islam-true-faith-two-mothers-pilloried-making-public-must-see-video/).
Hilsenrath and Gayer, who each have sons in the seventh grade at Chatham Middle School, say they first voiced their concerns over the curriculum to the Chatham Board of Education at a February 6, 2017 public meeting.
They say Superintendent Michael LaSusa responded by saying that any change to the curriculum was unlikely, and then refused to meet with them privately with him to discuss the matter further.
At the center of the controversy is a video that children in the district were instructed to watch (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikVGwzVg48cz0 in which one child explains to another the fundamentals of his Muslim faith.
“The promotion of Islam is worse than what the mothers presented to Tucker Carlson,” Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center said in the statement.
“After viewing one of the videos which the seventh graders were directed to watch, I can’t imagine any objective person saying this is not Islamic indoctrination. Clueless school administrators across our nation are allowing this type of indoctrination to take place and it’s up to vigilant parents to stop it. Libby and Nancy should have been praised, not pilloried,” the statement continued.
When asked about the involvement of lawyers, school Superintendent Michael LaSusa said the following:
“As we have discussed before and as we stated at our March 6 Board of Education meeting, our school district meets and exceeds the New Jersey Student Learning Standards in all areas. As part of the school district’s social studies program, students are exposed to the tenets of all major world religions, including Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and more.”
Despite LaSusa’s statement that the curriculum covers study on most major religions, Gayer says her son was prevented from presenting a power point demonstration to the class on his Christian faith because it was deemed “proselytizing”.
Hilsenrath says she will continue the fight against what she calls “indoctrination” for as long as it takes.
“One of my fundamental obligations as a parent is to guide the religious and secular education of my children. That’s why I will continue the fight against the Islamic indoctrination now taking place at Chatham, regardless of the personal attacks,” she said.