- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Tennessee father forced a school to cancel field trips to area religious houses of worship after he pushed administrators to explain why it seemed they were focusing on Islam over Christianity and other religions.

Mike Conner, 46, said his 14-year-old stepdaughter takes an Honors World Studies class at her Hendersonville area school, ABC reported. As part of the course, students look at five of the world’s major religions and visit various places of worship. Mr. Conner said his daughter was slated to visit a mosque and a Hindu temple — and that he objected to the religions that were cut from the list of planned field fields.

“I sent an email to the school principal asking her why they aren’t visiting all five,” he said. “She told me, ‘We don’t have the money to go to all five.’ If you don’t have the money, why are you going to two? No matter which ones you pick, you’re showing preferential treatment to those two, whichever two it is.”

In response, the school put a halt to the planned field trips. Summer County Schools spokesman Jeremy Johnson said administrators decided to cancel the visits because “equal representation in regards to field trips for all religions studied is not feasible,” ABC reported.

Mr. Conner’s stepdaughter actually opted out of the trip — but she was then given an alternative assignment on what Mr. Conner described as too heavily focused on Islam. She refused to do the assignment, ABC reported.

Meanwhile, Salah Sbenaty, a professor at Middle Tennessee State University and a board member for the Islamic Center for Murfreesboro, said the “school has been doing these trips for years … [without] any concerns, except for when the school started to visit an Islamic Center. That’s where the parents have objections.”

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