Thursday, May 29, 2008

Coach at predominently Muslim school in Detroit fired - his former assistant coach attempted to convert Muslim students to Christianity

A 35-year coach at a predominantly Muslim high school has been fired amid concerns a former assistant coach attempted to convert Muslim students to Christianity.

A veteran wrestling coach at Fordson High School lost his job amid concerns that his one-time assistant, who is a local minister and parent of a wrestler, attempts to convert local Muslim youths to Christianity.

The decision not to renew the contract of Jerry Marszalek, a coach for 35 years at Fordson, sparked a firestorm of controversy, with 200-300 parents packing a Board of Education meeting Tuesday night to support the decision of the school's principal, Imad Fadlallah. The board directed administrators to consider reviewing the source of complaints against Fadlallah.

The developments occurred as officials and parents grapple with conflicts over faith, education and the future of a predominantly Muslim school, amid one of the largest Arab populations in the country.

School officials say that Fadlallah decided not to extend an annual contract for Marszalek.

According to Marszalek, parents and community leaders, Fadlallah and other parents have long been concerned about contacts between the wrestling team and a local clergyman, the Rev. Trey Hancock of the Dearborn Assembly of God.

Hancock, who helped Marszalek with the team for 10 years, and whose son, Paul, is now a member, confirmed that he attempts to convert Muslim youths to Christianity and that he baptized a 15-year-old Muslim student in Port Huron a few years ago.

Meanwhile, Hancock's publicized attempts to convert a Muslim girl are at issue in a divorce case pending in the Michigan courts.

Imagine the charges of "racism" and "intolerance" if the coach was a Muslim who was speaking to kids about Islam. (Photo credit Eastern Michigan University)