The Douglas County School District in Colorado, under fire for saying that schoolgirls might have to cover up from head to ankle for a field trip to a Muslim mosque, has confirmed that such Shariah requirements will be enforced on the outing.
“Students who choose to attend the [Rocky Heights Middle School] world religion field trip are expected to respect the dress code of the host facility,” the school said in a statement posted online.
The explanation followed a firestorm of criticism of the school for announcing the field trip for seventh-grade students and including a note that the Shariah dress code could be enforced.
The note sent to families, according to a report from Islam expert and commentator Pamela Geller, said: “The world religions field trip is next Tuesday, January 13. We will be visiting the Denver Mosque, the Assumption Greek Orthodox Cathedral, and the Rodef-Shalom Synagogue. We will then eat lunch at Park Meadows Food Court. Students must either bring a sack lunch or money to purchase lunch at the food court.”
It continued: “THERE IS A DRESS CODE FOR THIS TRIP: All students must wear appropriate long pants. Ankles must be covered. Girls must bring wide scarves or hooded sweatshirts for the mosque.”
Geller said the “subjugation and oppression of women are enshrined under the Shariah.”
“Young school girls should not be forced to ‘respect’ a dress code that represents honor violence, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, child marriage, et al,” she wrote.
The field trip was featured on the Peter Boyles radio talk show on Denver’s KNUS.
“Public schools are forbidden from holding girls to different standards than boys,” Boyles noted. “They’re holding these girls to a different standard – it’s a religion reason.
“Islam dictates many, I believe – personal belief – repressive practices against women and Islamophobia will trump womens’ rights. Animal rights every time, and the environment. That’s their belief – that’s wonderful. But don’t apply it to public school kids,” Boyles said.
In response to the criticism, the district posted a notice called the “Rest of the Story.”
Officials explained the field trip is an option, not a requirement.
“If the decision is made to not participate in a field trip, alternative educational opportunities are provided,” the district said. “This is true for any DCSD field trip, including the RHMS world religion field trip.”
If students do choose to participate in the field trip, they are subject to the Shariah dress requirements of the mosque, the school said.
“As part of providing an authentic learning opportunity for students, DCSD provides an optional field trip to further support the world religion course, thus allowing students who choose to participate to discuss what they experienced on the field trip with their family members and eventually leading to the development of their own views,” the school district said.
Geller observed: “Here again we see that anywhere American law and Islamic law conflict, it is American law that has to give way.”