High school students in Gainesville, FL were sent home recently for wearing t-shirts emblazoned with the phrase “Islam is of the devil.” The children wearing the shirts belong to the Dove World congregation, an evangelical “New Testament Church” which urges followers to “bring Godly changes to our entire society.” Tom Wittmer, an attorney for the Gainesville school district, said the clothing was inappropriate and a violation of the dress code because it disrupts the learning process:
“Students have a right of free speech, and we have allowed students to come to school wearing clothes with messages,” Wittmer said. “But this message is a divisive message that is likely to offend students.” […]
He said there also has to be equal treatment of different faiths.
“The next kid might show up with a shirt saying ‘Christianity is of the Devil,'” Wittmer said.
Saeed Khan, president of the Muslim Association of North Central Florida, said the anti-Islam t-shirts are offensive, “particularly in a school setting where you are trying to create an atmosphere where people are supposed to respect each other and live with each other.”
15-year old Emily Sapp, one of the high school students sent home for wearing the shirt, was asked whether she knows any Muslim children. “I’ve met Muslim children, but I don’t actually have any contact with them at the moment,” she said. “I don’t know why that is — I guess we’ve just never become friends.” Watch the video here.