The latest rumor spreading around that has people up in arms involves an unusual requirement that exam boards supposedly place upon Religious Education students in Britain (this would involve students in the British equivalent of Junior High School). Apparently "The exam board requires that every time Muhammad is written, the letters "pbuh" in parentheses be placed after it. This is shorthand for "peace be upon him". The writer therefore prays a blessing upon him everytime his name is written, as is the custom of Muslims."
This has people upset because it seems bizarre to force people who aren't Muslim to pray a blessing upon Mohammed. It would be like forcing Muslims to make the sign of the cross every time they say the name Christ. This rumor was started by some remarks a British teacher, David Holford, made on his blog
. Holford has since removed the remarks (he says people were taking them out of context), but they can still be viewed at Little Green Footballs
. So is there any truth to the rumor? In a word, no. Posters on the usenet group uk.politics.misc
have contacted the British exam board to ask them what the official policy is, and the response was:
They [the exam board] say that they customarily put an Arabic colophon meaning 'peace be upon him' after Mohammed's name in course materials relating to Islam, just as they refer to 'G-d' in course materials relating to Judaism. They do this out of respect to the sensibilities of Muslim or Jewish students and teachers but they most certainly don't expect candidates to do the same.