Guernsey High School Assignment Told Students to Imagine Converting to Islam

February 22, 2016 Updated: February 23, 2016

Students in a U.K. high school were told to imagine converting to Islam for an assignment, leaving some parents outraged.

The 12- and 13-year-olds at Les Beaucamps High School were asked to write a letter explaining how their life had improved by converting to the religion.

The assignment was given by their Religious Education teacher.

“Focus: How would it make you feel having to tell your parents this? How would/could they react?” the teacher Amber Stables told the students in her written directions, according to the Express

She then added this disclaimer to the assignment: “YOU ARE NOT ACTUALLY CONVERTING TO ISLAM. It is purely to test your knowledge of what we have learnt this year and how well you can argue objectively!!!!”

Some parents were upset with the assignment. One wrote on the local Guernsey Press website that it was “dangerous,” coming at a time when increasing numbers of youth are radicalized, including in Britain. 

“Teach pupils about religion by all means but be very careful when you ask them to be a Muslim. In this day and age when easily led youngsters are being radicalised it is a dangerous road to be taking,” wrote one user. “The idiot who thought this one up is not fit to be at the school or in education. “The amount of youngsters heading to Syria without their parents knowing must ring warning bells about how easily led they can be.”

“It’s a very emotive topic and really not a particularly clever move by the school/education,” added another, John West.

But others said they saw no issue with the assignment, with one user calling it a “thought experiment.”

The Guernsey Education department defended the assignment.

“The Guernsey-agreed syllabus for religious education includes a structured framework for ensuring that Christianity and the other five principal religions (Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Sikhism) are studied with sufficient depth and breadth throughout the four Key Stages,” it said in a statement.

“It is important that our students are able to learn about, understand, investigate and question all that is around them.”