A high-school Spanish teacher has resigned his position after placing hidden messages inside a word-search puzzle calling on Allah to destroy America, which he called the "body of evil that is making human life so miserable."
Khalid Chahhou, 35, a native of Morocco who was a first-year language instructor at Smithfield-Selma High School in North Carolina, quit after a student deciphered the anti-U.S. message which also voiced support for terrorists.
The secret message, when put together, read:
"Sharon killed a lot of innocent people in Palestine. Hamas is not a terrorist group. They have the right to defend their country. This is something that forms part of our freedom and dignity. Allah help destroy this body of evil that is making human life so miserable. Destroy America, a country where evil is sponsored."
Sophomore Chris McDaniels told the Observer the word search caught his attention because it was handwritten; they were usually typed.
"I think some of the people in the class were kind of afraid, because how the world is today, you never know with people," McDaniels said. "Even if you've known them for a while, they could turn out to be someone completely different."
His mother, Carla McDaniels, wondered how someone having what they see as extremist tendencies landed in a public class, where such views could be broadcast to students.
"With him resigning, who's to say he's not going to go to another school district to do the same thing?" she asked.
Shakil Ahmed, president of the Islamic Association of Cary, N.C., said Chahhou told him he created the puzzle when he was upset after viewing news reports of deaths of Palestinians at the hands of Israeli troops.
"He must have gone through an outburst of emotions at that time," Ahmed told the News & Observer.
Ahmed said Chahhou is a mild-mannered man, who has taught Arabic and religious studies to children at a mosque of about 200 members since he moved to the local area five months ago.