A Muslim couple is suing a Chicago-area school and alleging that a former history teacher helped convert their daughter to Christianity.
According to the Daily Herald newspaper, the federal lawsuit against Community Unit District 300 in Algonquin, Ill., alleges violations of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The suit by Yosuf Chaudhry and Amena Alvi alleges that a former Jacobs High School teacher, Pierre Thorsen, gave their daughter a New International Version Study Bible and introduced her to other Christians.
"It's derailed our whole life," Alvi said of the daughter's conversion. "It's derailed her whole life."
Their daughter, now 17, graduated this year. She told them in 2019 that she had converted to Christianity. Much of the discussion about Christianity reportedly took place within a Christian club at the school.
They reviewed their daughter's cell phone records to determine what had happened. (She is known as B.D. in the lawsuit.)
"What we found were numerous texts, emails and phone calls made over several months with complete adult strangers which discussed her conversion to Christianity and challenges to hide and lie about her new faith, how they would take her in and provide a place to live if she were disowned and kicked out by her parents and even seeded the idea that she could legally emancipate herself to live her new life freely as a Christian before she turned 18," the couple wrote to the school board.
Communication between their daughter and the other Christians lasted several months, the couple said.
"They have implied in their communications (with our daughter) that we would disown, mistreat or even kill our own child because of her conversion to Christianity. I cannot tell you how offensive and hurtful this is," the couple wrote.
Thorsen, who declined comment to the Daily Herald, was a popular teacher at the school. In 2019, more than 4,000 people signed an online petition supporting Thorsen for "speaking about religion in a historical context." The petition labeled him a "beloved History teacher."
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.