updated 1/12/2005 7:57:28 AM ET 2005-01-12T12:57:28

A middle school teacher has been suspended with pay while officials investigate a report he told his students that Bedouin Arabs used the Quran as toilet paper.

The teacher is on the faculty of Woodworth Middle School in Dearborn, a Detroit suburb of 100,000. About 30,000 Dearborn residents are Arab-American.

Bedouins are members of historically nomadic tribes and make up about 10 percent of the population of the Middle East. The Quran is the Muslim holy book.

Parents complained to the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Imad Hamad, Michigan director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, said the teacher should apologize.

“I only wonder what was in his mind when he looked into their eyes and stated such an ugly description and such painful words,” he said.

A closed hearing on the teacher’s status was held Tuesday, The Detroit News reported in its Wednesday editions. It said Superintendent John Artis was expected to decide the case this week.

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