Father upset after child finds Muslim book at school fair
by Hannah Morgan
October 26, 2013 01:28 AM | 32062 views | 145 145 comments | 74 74 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Special to the MDJ
Special to the MDJ
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MARIETTA — When Thomas Prisock began to read the book his daughter brought home from her school’s book fair, he was shocked.

“It’s an indoctrination of Muslim culture,” he said.

The book, “Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: a Muslim Book of Colors” by Hena Khan, came from his daughter’s school book fair this week. She attends Dowell Elementary School in west Cobb.

His wife had gone in for the quarterly parent-teacher conference with their three children who attend Dowell, two sons in the second and fifth grades and their kindergarten daughter, and let each child pick out a book.

The daughter picked out a brightly colored picture book about the Islamic faith, which cost about $5, Prisock, a general contractor who lives in west Cobb said.

As they were reading through it together, Prisock was alarmed at the book’s message and pictures.

“Blue is the hijab Mom likes to wear. It’s a scarf she uses to cover her hair,” one page read.

“Red is the rug Dad kneels on to pray, facing toward Mecca five times a day,” read another.

A synopsis of the book on Amazon’s website says: “Magnificently capturing the colorful world of Islam for the youngest readers, this breathtaking and informative picture book celebrates Islam’s beauty and traditions.”

Prisock said he closed the book before they had a chance to read through it completely.

At Thursday night’s school board meeting, Prisock brought the book and showed the board members the religious symbols, including a picture of the Quran, which he said disturbed him.

Board members listened patiently, although Brad Wheeler, who represents the area that includes Dowell Elementary, said he knew very little about the policy for screening books for school book fairs.

Wheeler said he encouraged Prisock to contact his school principal and seek a resolution there, and to get back to him if he needed anything else.

The book fair was put on this year by the school’s PTA, and the books were sent in from Scholastic Press, a publishing company specializing in children’s books. The publisher selected the books to include in the sale, said PTA President and fifth-grade parent Abi Nesmith.

Students had the chance to visit the book fair starting last Thursday, Oct. 17, and created ‘wish lists’ of the books they liked after browsing the more than 3,000 books at the fair, she said.

Parents, during this week’s parent-teacher conferences, were able to come in and purchase the books for their children, she said.

Almost 1,000 books were sold at this year’s fair, Nesmith said, and the money went toward school grants for the arts, science programs and individual teacher needs that might arise in classrooms.

Dowell Elementary has a diverse student population, Nesmith said, and about 65 percent of the school’s 956 students are not native English speakers.

Prisock was not assured there was adequate representation from other religions and cultures at the fair, and was told there were no Christmas-themed books for sale when he visited.

“I don’t want this culture around my children, let’s get them educated first. Learn to read and write before we start teaching (about) the fanaticals,” Prisock said.

The school’s population was reflected in the book fair’s diversity, which included Christians, Muslims and Jews, Nesmith said, and Prisock’s complaint was the first that she had heard.

He brought the book to school and spoke with the principal about it, and was eventually allowed to return the book, he said.

“I know they are trying to do a good thing, this just struck me as wrong,” said Prisock, “That culture there doesn’t seem to have anything good coming out of it.”

Doug Goodwin, a spokesman for the Cobb school district, said the district “welcomes book fairs operated by Scholastic to our schools to promote literacy and foster a love for reading among Cobb students. The book fairs offer a wide variety of children’s literature, with thousands of titles selected by Scholastic for students to choose from and purchase. If a parent feels the content of a selection from the book fair is not appropriate for their child, the District’s Library Media Education department will gladly assist them in selecting a replacement book from Scholastic.”

Comments
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1984Aloha
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May 22, 2014
"That Culture Has Nothing Good Coming Out Of It"…

Why not sell it-simply due to some Muslimphobic man who probably gets his information of the world via FOX news and the mainstream media. Has even ever met a Muslim? Here are a few celebrity notables but the actual Muslim American Community has many good bright humans; Dave Chapelle, Muhammad Ali, Cat Stevens, Dr.Mehmet Oz list goes on….

I would be appalled if the book was pulled and I don't think scholastic deserves any extra points for not pulling the book. I'm done apologizing for being Muslim or thanking people for "not" hating on Islam and Muslims.

Just do the right thing & realize the essence of bigotry is deep in the majority of people of this nation (corporation), that was built on the backs of African Slaves and with the blood of Native Peoples. Recognize.

"If your not careful, the newspapers, will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppression"

Malcolm X
Dana N
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April 24, 2014
Mr.Prisock would you mind maybe doing a little research before you go talking to school boards about religions you don't care to study about being disturbing ,thank you
denise267
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February 03, 2014
People need to understand that there is Islam and then there are the people that follow Islam (Muslims). Muslims are human, and so they have the ability to make mistakes and practice Islam in ways that are not correct. No matter what religion you are it is always a struggle within oneself to do good, but you must first understand what you are doing is wrong. Some Muslims are brought up learning a combination of Islam and cultural traditions and tend to combine them. This can include Islamic leaders. This can lead to many misconceptions about Islam. To understand Islam one will have to read the Quran and get an understanding of Islam from those who are practicing correctly. I have deep respect for many of the Muslims I know in my community. I do understand that you may not want to expose your children to certain matters until they are able to critically evaluate and understand what is being taught, but first have an adequate understanding before becoming upset and telling your children the wrong information.
lovingmomhappykids
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November 26, 2013
Book fairs are done during parent conferences so parents can oversee the choice of books. To advocate for censorship because a parent was too lazy to read the back of the book before they allowed the student to purchase it is absurd. There are 1000s of Peaceful Muslim families living in Cobb county and having books available to them is a good thing. They do not freak out when there children constantly come come home with Christian books from the school library and are sent home as required assignments.

This is a case of really bad parents trying to engage in censorship so they do not have to actually PARENT their child. If you teach your child good values it will not matter what other cultures your child reads about. Next thing you will be kicking all the Muslim kids out of school because you do not want your child to be friends with them. This family needs to send their child to private school.

The fact is most people are quick to point out all the problems in other peoples cultures but do not face their own. Do you realize the US has more child deaths due to parental abuse than ANY OTHER COUNTRY in the industrialized world. IT would be very easy to blame this on "spare the rod spoil the child". The statistics on spousal abuse and care for those with mental illness are just as bad. US "Christian culture" has it's own problems. All I can say is "be the change you want to see in the world."
Cobb Mom
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November 05, 2013
First, I think this article was very poorly written. Half way through the focus shifts to the book fair itself...so is this an article about the father or an article about the amazing books available at the book fair? Second, what I get from this is that the father doesn't approve of his wife's choices -- it says she let the kids pick a book. Apparently she doesn't agree with the husband or the child wouldn't have been allowed to get the book. Overall, I think it was a huge waste of space to put this article in the paper. Who cares that this father was upset? Unless you are warning other parents to keep their kids away from this family.
Samuel Adams
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November 05, 2013
Sorry American Muslims who are doing your best takiya at this post, non-muslims are having a hard time believing that you truly want peace. For example, at the Norwegian Islamic Peace Conference attendees agree that stoning for adultery is OK.

It was a unanimous vote!

Now, please raise your hands if you believe that stoning adulterers is a practice from the middle ages that has no place in our modern world. Raise your hands if you reject sharia law and will abide by the laws of the United States of America.

That's what I thought.
Fred Kohn
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November 05, 2013
You are right to be concerned about harsh punishment in contemporary Islam, but please, educate yourself before making such ignorant comments! When Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab first stoned a woman in Pakistan in the 18th century, people were shocked! Nobody could remember such a thing occurring for a long long time in Pakistan. Approval of stoning and other fanatical practices in the Islamic world began and is growing due to a reactionary movement dating back to al-Wahhab against Western colonialism and is only being flamed by foam-at-the mouth Islamophobes such as yourself. And while you're at it, learn a bit about taqiyyah as well. Almost all terrorists are Sunni Muslims and taqiyyah is practiced only by Shia Muslims, and then only when their lives are threatened.
Samuel Adams
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November 05, 2013
Being called an ignorant islamophobe just because one is concerned about the outrageous, disgusting violent nature of a religion or one segment of a religion (when even the segment, maybe one percent, is more than a million people and growing) certainly doesn't make me change my opinion, nor does it make that segment of a religion any less dangerous to humanity. Do you think I'm going to hold a conversation with a Muslim holding a knife to my throat, asking him which sect he's a member of? Did the people in the Kenyan shopping center or the processing building at Ft. Hood get a chance to ask their murderers, "Are you a sunni or a shiite?" People are dying in droves around the world while you blame Christians for the problem and/or debate in a sanitary classroom or whatever your version of Islamophobia and deny there's a problem. Convert or die is still the motto in most non-western countries. The next Caliphate (or whatever) is still their goal, and western democracy and our constitution is in the way of their goals. Not all of us will lay down and allow their culture to take hold here. So sorry. They must assimilate here. Practice their religion in peace, but they will not be the dominant force, no way, no how.
connorako
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November 03, 2013
I confess I read until the line where it says he closed the book. It angers me to know that he will not teach his daughter about other religions. I would of loved to have been able to buy this book. We need to teach our kids that it does not matter what religion people follow it is a choice and we are still part of the same world and species, not that one religion is better than the next. Put a bunch of 4 year olds of different religions in a room and see what they do a religious debate or argument is not likely. They would most likely be oblivious to religion and play. We are responsible for how the world moves on and teaching to hate someone because of their race or religion is not taking us down the right road.
Fellow Cobb Parent
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November 01, 2013
I am a Cobb County parent and was SO incredibly thrilled when I saw this book at the Scholastic book fair. I bought several copies for my kids and gifts and when I was checking out so many of the volunteers and parents (all non-Muslims) were all commenting at how fantastic it was that this book was at the book fair. I fell in love with this author with her first book which I found out about from my non-Muslim co-worker.

I think it's pretty clear that this book is by no means threatening to any faiths and I am humbled to see all the support for the book in the comments. Ignorance does exist but so does tolerance and love for people of all faiths and backgrounds.
Atika
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November 01, 2013
I am disturbed and upset about Mr. Priscock's attitude towards a book which only meant to simplify some of the practises of Islam in a child friendly manner! I doubt the book preaches any hate or any fanatical theories as Mr. Priscock suggests.

Tolerating and learning abour other people's faith isnt something that should be taught in just schools at a certain age. It is something we as individuals must embrace ourselves. The world is a beautiful place with lots of different cultures and religions, tribes and languages, morals and practices. Why not read about them, hear about them, travel and see about them and learn to appreciate human beings in their diverse understanding of the universe.

I am a muslim who grew up in Tanzania with a Christian neighbour at the top and a hindu neighbour at the bottom. We loved these families dearly and went to all kinds of functions at the temples and I even went to church with my lovely neighbour most sundays and helped decorate christmas trees because i just love them! As kids we grew up together and learnt to love not only our neighbours but appreciate people in their many different forms.

Lets not make this world into what we want it to be. Live and let live. And yes fanaticals scare the hell out of me just as they do a normal non muslim person. And I am probably more scared of terrorists on a plane than I am of it crashing due to other problems. And I use every opportunity to show I am not one and nowhere in the peaceful religion of Islam does it dictate that they are allowed to even think such practises and violate it in such a wrongful way.

Life is a beautiful thing. The world is beautiful and the people in it are even more so especially because we are all so unique! I have travelled to India to visit its many temples, China to see the monks, many places in Africa and seen many different kinds of tribes and I have been to the middle east.

Lets love each other not because of any other reason but the fact that we all share this world and we are all human beings at the end of the day whether you believe in Jesus Christ, Budhha or Allah.

And if only people who hurt people on this earth in any way realised the value of a life.
DoraManDori
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November 01, 2013
I'm saddened by the story, but relieved by the comments being left. As a Muslim, it's very frustrating to be viewed as a threat by some of my neighbors.

If you genuinely have a fear of Muslims or Sharia law, please get information from a Muslim. Would you ask about a Ford car from a GM dealer?

We do not want Sharia law implemented in the US. We live here because we love the country as it is.

Nathan Hale
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November 03, 2013
Takiya, Takiya, Takiya
Lisaylz
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October 31, 2013
Outrageous that someone tells them they should educate and learn to read and write yet the only lesson taught here is you don't accept others and make a big deal over a book that someone would enjoy without the hate. I bought this book and it was great to have my kindergartener learn a different culture and it was ok that she learned something new and didn't make judgements. For the school to entertain the idea to not have the book is ridiculous. How about if you didn't want the child to have the book take it back for another one. Maybe the adults need a lesson on other cultures. Newsflash.. What will he do when the child has to do a report in Social Studies in Middle School on Islam say oh I'm sorry they can't do it.. Maybe you will learn something.
ALivcc
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October 31, 2013
Ok, Mr. Narrowminded

I just cried out, literally, that there are people, who deny the GOD of Abrahim, and Moses, in such a fierce way. Please open your mind and think.

On a lighter note, where can I find this book for my daughter, for $5.00 :)))
John Caravella
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October 31, 2013
I find it funny that the same people who scream about "indoctrination" are the same ones who take their kids to church, starting at the earliest possible age, giving them no choice in the matter, to learn the "faith" that they want them to learn. Who is indoctrinating who?
Soraya Deen
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October 31, 2013
I have read about your anxiety and fears surrounding the book....

I am deeply concerned that you feel that this book and its contents are not suitable for you and your children.

I would love to have an opportunity to engage in a dialogue with you about your concerns.

Is there a community out there who might have questions and concerns about Muslims and Islam? Would your church be willing to host a community forum where we can ask come together to talk about it deep fears and concerns?

I would love to be there. I am a Muslim, and would love to get to know you...
Samuel Adams
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November 03, 2013
Looks like the national Muslim groups, CAIR and others have become involved in our local discussion.

NO, I don't believe we would like to hear your takiyah about Islam. Can you explain the Kenyan shopping mall massacre of children and other innocents, however? Perchance you might explain the mosque in Ohio in the news for chaining it's 8 year old kids to the wall and beating them with sticks for not studying the Koran "properly?"
I love Jesus too.
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October 31, 2013
The website of the author of the book in question... http://www.henakhan.com/ Just like to add that the main line on her homepage reads "Make books not war".

Accusing every muslim to support terrorism is like saying every southern state christian loved the KKK. There are extremsits in every walk of life, and they tarnish the good work of normal people who do not share their warped interpretations. My family has lived peacefully amongst neighbours of different faiths, neighbours who supported one another and raised their kids together cohesively. Please dont assume all muslims are bad people. A muslim is not allowed to eat their evening meal if their neighbours, (of any faith) is going hungry, that dosent sound like people who are programmed to destry does it.
Grow a Brain
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October 31, 2013
I'm tired of sick, ignorant,narrow minded and hatefull people running around screaming sharia, islam, savages, indoctrination. Enough already with your hatefull bigotry..it's shameful to be called an American. We have lost the respect of all nations because of your intolerence and hateful attitudes toward other people of other cultures. Islam, christianity, Judaisim have been around from centuries and they will be here for ever more. If you have any kind of intelligence or if you can pick up a history book and read about all the massacres that happened throughout history....grab a book and read about the Christian Crusaders who went into Jerusalem and killed and burned muslims and jewish alike , raped women and tortured everyone. YES this happened..it's not a fabricated story or a conspiracy theory...Read about the Holocaust at by Hitler a Christian as he mentioned his devotion to Christianity many times in his writing, and let's bring it closer to home with the massacres of the original inhabitants of this land..the Native American Indians and how many of them were slaughtered, sacrificed, fenced in reservations. Consider this: According to the US data, when Europeans came here, there were around 12 million Indians across 48 states. By the early 20th century, only 250,000 Native Americans survived. An unparalleled genocide in history. People like you who are extremist, hatefull and prejudice are the real reason we have wars and evil in this world. So before you scream out like little girls...and open your mouth with none sense garbage, GROW A BRAIN!!
Zapp
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October 31, 2013
Hey Grow a Brain,

Just want to comment here on your earlier post as I can't reply to the former. Where have I learned about Islam? From a person's whose family was killed when jihad was declared on their people because they wouldn't conform to Sharia Law. I do not have Muslim neighbours but I have talked to Muslim people. I have not personally seen jihad but I have seen the scars first hand. I know how corrupt governments can be and are, and I know how they love to use fear to cripple their 'followers'.

And now a question I have posted in a previous post. I know there are peaceful Muslims. But why then is there such a gap between peaceful Muslims and Islamists and those who have killed thousands due to jihad. I truly want to know the answer. Are the people who follow through with jihad then misled? Are they actually not true Muslims?

AmericanMuslim
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November 01, 2013
Zapp, I've seen you comment the same question a couple times so I'd like to give you an answer. The Quran, very much like the Bible, is a series of stories of the history of the religion. Many of these stories had messages which pertained ONLY to that story and that circumstance, but extremists take these messages and apply them however they want, and use the religion as excuse to do what they wouldve done with or without the religion. Every single extremist islamic group has a reason behind their attacks that are not related to religion (and dont misinterpret my statement--i dont agree with anything that has been done and i am not backing up extremists in any way). They want Americans out of their countries affairs, and for that reason they use religion to back up their POLITICAL motivations. This is true for Al-Qaeda, this is true for the attack in the mall in Africa, this is true for the boston marathon bombers. There is nothing in Islam that says to attack non-Muslims who are not interfering with you practicing your religion. Actually, Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance. A great example is the Church of Holy Sepulchre. MUSLIMS have the keys to the Church of Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. One of the Prophet Muhammads companions had made an agreement with the Christians that they would be able to live and worship freely, and maintain the church without fear of a takeover. THE MAIN PROPHET OF ISLAM'S COMPANION MADE THIS ARRANGEMENT WITH CHRISTIANS. And ever since then, the keys of the church have been in the HANDS OF MUSLIMS who daily open and close the church for CHRISTIANS to pray!!! THIS IS THE TRUE ISLAM.
AmericanMuslim
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November 01, 2013
Zapp,

You wrote about Jihad and then said "I know how corrupt governments can be and are, and I know how they love to use fear to cripple their 'followers'." This is true....GOVERNMENT does that. Not the religion of Islam. No Muslim accepts or wants Shariah law and know its complete b.s.. You're hearing this from a Muslims mouth. And you speak of Jihad as if you know what it is, but the truth is that you dont. Here is a link to learn the basics of jihad and what it truly is. http://interfaithdialog.org/fpbuttonsoutreach-fpbuttons-221/223-the-concept-of-jihad
Liadan
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October 31, 2013
I've read this book. We are not Moslem. Its a beautiful book. The illustrations are captivating and all the book teaches is the colors and some explainations of some Islamic culture. Example-silver lights, golden domes. orange henna. There is not *indoctrination*. This man is a bigot. What parent buys a book for his child without looking at it first, anyway?

I'm Christian, Southern, conservative background. I read this book and I'm buying it for my daughter. Part of education is learning about other cultures. Hate must be taught, and this man is certainly teaching it to his child.
Alice Al-Hosainy
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October 31, 2013
This man is so narrow minded! This makes me sick! He needs an education!
anonymous
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December 17, 2013
He, one person in this Western country, compared to the entire population of Muslim-majority countries, who simply go batshit if their children were to be let near materials suggesting non-Muslim beliefs such as harmless Christmas stories or storybooks of stories from the Bible. Muslims are accorded tons of sensitivity in civilized nations in the West, compared to the zero-tolerance they give to non-muslims in the country where they form the majority. Go figure.
anonymous
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October 31, 2013
I remember back being a grammar school student in the late 50s, my parent talking in hushed tones that our school now put Hannakuh in there with Christmas. What a scandal and what would we tell the children when they asked about it? We didn't ask about it. We accepted it. The old geezers now that object to modern progression need to be like I was a child. God is not taking away your right to eternity and the God you believe in because we now celebrate Hannakuh in additon to Christmas. Muslims are people, too, boneheads. You are not God.
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