Islam in America’s public schools: Education or indoctrination?

Islam in America’s public schools: Education or indoctrination?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

With fatal terrorist attacks on the decline worldwide and al Qaeda apparently in disarray, it would seem a time for optimism in the global war on terrorism. But the war has simply shifted to a different arena. Islamists, or those who believe that Islam is a political and religious system that must dominate all others, are focusing less on the military and more on the ideological. It turns out that Western liberal democracies can be subverted without firing a shot.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the educational realm. Islamists have taken what’s come to be known as the “soft jihad” into America’s classrooms and children in K-12 are the first casualties. Whether it is textbooks, curriculum, classroom exercises, film screenings, speakers or teacher training, public education in America is under assault.

Capitalizing on the post-9/11 demand for Arabic instruction, some public, charter and voucher-funded private schools are inappropriately using taxpayer dollars to implement a religious curriculum. They are also bringing in outside speakers with Islamist ties or sympathies. As a result, not only are children receiving a biased education, but possible violations of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause abound. Consider the following cases:

 Nowhere is this more evident than in the educational realm. Islamists have taken what’s come to be known as the “soft jihad” into America’s classrooms and children in K-12 are the first casualties. Whether it is textbooks, curriculum, classroom exercises, film screenings, speakers or teacher training, public education in America is under assault.

Capitalizing on the post-9/11 demand for Arabic instruction, some public, charter and voucher-funded private schools are inappropriately using taxpayer dollars to implement a religious curriculum. They are also bringing in outside speakers with Islamist ties or sympathies. As a result, not only are children receiving a biased education, but possible violations of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause abound. Consider the following cases:
 
Last month, students at Friendswood Junior High in Houston were required to attend an “Islamic Awareness” presentation during class time allotted for physical education. The presentation involved two representatives from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an organization with a record of Islamist statements and terrorism convictions. According to students, they were taught that “there is one God, his name is Allah” and that “Adam, Noah and Jesus are prophets.” Students were also taught about the Five Pillars of Islam and how to pray five times a day and wear Islamic religious garb. Parents were not notified about the presentation and it wasn’t until a number of complaints arose that school officials responded with an apologetic e-mail. 
  • Earlier this year at Lake Brantley High School in Seminole County, Fla., speakers from the Academy for Learning Islam gave a presentation to students about “cultural diversity” that extended to a detailed discussion of the Quran and Islam. The school neither screened the ALI speakers nor notified parents. After a number of complaints, local media coverage and a subsequent investigation, the school district apologized for the inappropriate presentation, admitting that it violated the law. Subsequently, ALI was removed from the Seminole County school system’s Dividends and Speaker’s Bureau. 
  • As reported by the Cabinet Press, a school project last year at Amherst Middle School transformed “the quaint colonial town of Amherst, N.H., into a Saudi Arabian Bedouin tent community.” Male and female students were segregated, with the girls hosting “hijab and veil stations” and handing out the oppressive head-to-toe black garment known as the abaya to female guests. Meanwhile, the boys hosted food and Arabic dancing stations because, as explained in the article, “the traditions of Saudi Arabia at this time prevent women from participating in these public roles.” An “Islamic religion station” offered up a prayer rug, verses from the Quran, prayer items and a compass pointed towards Mecca. The fact that female subjugation was presented as a benign cultural practice and Islamic religious rituals were promoted with public funds is cause for concern. 
  • Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy, a charter school in Inver Grove Heights, Minn., came under recent scrutiny after Minneapolis Star-Tribune columnist Katherine Kersten brought to light concerns about public funding for its overtly religious curriculum. The school is housed in the Muslim American Society‘s (the American branch of the Egyptian Islamist group the Muslim Brotherhood) Minnesota building, alongside a mosque, and the daily routine includes prayer, ritual washing, halal food preparation and an after-school “Islamic studies” program. Kersten’s columns prompted the Minnesota chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union to issue a press release expressing its own reservations about potential First Amendment violations. An investigation initiated by the Minnesota Department of Education verified several of Kersten’s allegations and the school has since promised to make the appropriate changes. In a bizarre twist, when a local television news crew tried to report on the findings from school grounds, school officials confronted them and wrestled a camera away from one of its photographers, injuring him in the process. 
  • The controversy surrounding the founding of New York City’s Arabic language public school, Khalil Gibran International Academy, last year continues. Former principal Dhabah “Debbie” Almontaser was asked to step down after publicly defending T-shirts produced by Arab Women Active in the Arts and Media, an organization with whom she shared office space, emblazoned with “Intifada NYC.” But KGIA has other troublesome associations. Its advisory board includes three imams, one of whom, New York University Imam Khalid Latif, sent a threatening letter to the university’s president regarding a planned display of the Danish cartoons. Another, Shamsi Ali, runs the Jamaica Muslim Center Quranic Memorization School in Queens, a replica of the type of Pakistani madrassa (or school) counter-terrorism officials have been warning about since 9/11. Accordingly, several parents founded Stop the Madrassa: A Community Coalition to voice their contention that KGIA is an inappropriate candidate for taxpayer funding.
  • Equally problematic are the textbooks used in American public schools to teach Islam or Islamic history. Organizations such as Southern California’s Council on Islamic Education and Arabic World and Islamic Resources are tasked with screening and editing these textbooks for public school districts, but questions have been raised about the groups’ scholarship and ideological agenda. The American Textbook Council, an organization that reviews history and social studies textbooks used in American schools, and its director, Gilbert T. Sewall, have produced a series of articles and reports on Islam textbooks and the findings are damning. They include textbooks that are factually inaccurate, misrepresent and in some cases, glorify Islam, or are hostile to other religions. While teaching students about Islam within a religious studies context may be appropriate, the purpose becomes suspect when the texts involved are compromised in this manner.

    Such are the complaints about “History Alive! The Medieval World and Beyond,” a textbook published by the Teachers’ Curriculum Institute, to the point where parents in the Scottsdale, Ariz., school district succeeded in having it removed from the curriculum in 2005. TCI is based in Mountain View, and the textbook is now being used in the state’s public schools, where similar concerns have arisen. A Marin County mother whose son has been assigned “History Alive!” has been trying to mount an effort to call school officials’ attention to the problem. Similarly, a San Luis Obispo mother filed an official complaint several years ago with her son’s school authorities over the use of Houghton Mifflin’s middle school text, “Across the Centuries,” which has been widely criticized for whitewashing Islamic history and glorifying Islam. Its inclusion in the Montgomery County, Md. public school curriculum among other districts across the country, could lead to further objections.

    But the forces in opposition are powerful and plenty. They include public education bureaucrats and teachers mired in naivete and political correctness, biased textbook publishers, politicized professors and other experts tasked with helping states approve textbooks, and at the top of the heap, billions of dollars in Saudi funding. These funds are pouring into the coffers of various organs that design K-12 curricula. The resultant material, not coincidentally, turns out to be inaccurate, biased and, considering the Wahhabist strain of Islam promulgated by Saudi Arabia, dangerous. And again, taxpayer dollars are involved. National Review Online contributing editor Stanley Kurtz explains :

    “The United States government gives money — and a federal seal of approval — to a university Middle East Studies center. That center offers a government-approved K-12 Middle East studies curriculum to America’s teachers. But in fact, that curriculum has been bought and paid for by the Saudis, who may even have trained the personnel who operate the university’s outreach program. Meanwhile, the American government is asleep at the wheel — paying scant attention to how its federally mandated public outreach programs actually work. So without ever realizing it, America’s taxpayers end up subsidizing — and providing official federal approval for — K-12 educational materials on the Middle East that have been created under Saudi auspices. Game, set, match: Saudis.”

    Along with funding textbooks and curricula, the Saudis are also involved in funding and designing training for public school teachers. The Saudi funded Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University now offers professional development workshops for K-12 teachers. The workshops take place at the hosting institution and provide teachers with classroom material. They are free of charge and ACMCU throws in lunch to boot.

    But this generosity likely comes with a catch, for the center is known for producing scholars and material with a decidedly apologist bent, both toward the Saudi Royal Family and Islamic radicalism. It’s no accident that ACMCU education consultant Susan Douglass, according to her bio, has been “an affiliated scholar” with the Council on Islamic Education “for over a decade.” Douglass also taught social studies at the Islamic Saudi Academy in Fairfax, Va., where her husband still teaches. ISA has come under investigation for Saudi-provided textbooks and curriculum that some have alleged promotes hatred and intolerance towards non-Muslims. That someone with Douglass’ problematic associations would be in charge of training public school teachers hardly inspires confidence in the system.

    While groups such as People for the American Way, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the ACLU express outrage at any semblance of Christianity in America’s public schools, very little clamor has met the emergence of Islam in the same arena. An occasional press release, such as the one put out by the Minnesota chapter of the ACLU regarding TIZA, will surface, but by and large, the arbiters of separation of church and state or in this case, mosque and state, have gone silent. The same can largely be said for the federal government and, in particular, the State Department. No doubt, Saudi dollars and influence are part of the problem.

    Probably the single greatest weapon in the arsenal of those trying to fight the misuse of America’s public schools is community involvement. As noted previously, a number of parental coalitions have sprung up across the country in an effort to protect their own children from indoctrination. The Stop the Madrassa Coalition has expanded its efforts beyond New York City by working on policy ideas for legislation and meeting privately with members of Congress. Also providing hope are Rep. Sue Myrick (R-N.C.), whose 10-point “Wake Up America” agenda includes a call to reform Saudi-provided textbooks, and the bipartisan Congressional Anti-Terrorism Caucus she co-chairs. Its focus on “jihadist ideology” demonstrates an all-too-rare governmental understanding of the nature of the current conflict.

    The power to educate the next generation is an inestimable one and a free society cedes control at its peril. The days of the “silent majority” are no longer tenable in the face of a determined and clever enemy. The battle of ideas must be joined.

    Cinnamon Stillwell is a San Francisco writer. She can be reached at cinnamonstillwell@yahoo.com. She also writes for the blog at campus-watch.org.

    http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2008/06/11/cstillwell.DTL

     

    2 Responses to “Islam in America’s public schools: Education or indoctrination?”

    1. sam Says:

      CAN U STOP THESE HORRIFYING ADS FROM GOOGLE SAYING CONVERT TO ISLAM.CAN U THINK OF SOMETHING LIKE THAT IN ANY MUSLIM COUNTRY AS U WILL E KILLED.BUT U CAN DO ANYTHING IN CHRISTIAN COUNTRIES, AS CHRISTIANS ARE BEEN FOOLED IN THE NAME OF SECURALISM.

    2. sanna Says:

      Islamic terrorist attack in Europe!

      England under the base of mass Muslims.. It is yet another Islamic betrayal of the host country that unfortunately allows an unlimited inflow of Muslims and hard on the road to self-destruction. We are talking about the fundamentals of Islam. It is certain that the blood of halal is a Kafir. That is clear. As it says in the law. No one can disagree on that. That line can be found in the Quran and the Sunnah. The question is what consequences this has in practice.

      Koran; Chapter 2, verse 191: and slay them, where you met them and drives them out, from where they have turned you out; because persecution is worse than slaughter. And fight them not near the Sacred Mosque, before they fight you in it. But if they fight you fight them-so is the retribution for the disbelievers.

      Koran; Chapter 5, verse 33: the retaliation those who war against God and his messengers, and there strive to create mischief in the land, is only that they be killed or crucified, or that their hands and their feet one right and the other links, are cut off, or that the country be expelled. That will be a shame for them in this world and in the hereafter they will be a great chastisement.
      Here we go again, on to the next attack or riot, islam is peace? (said the imam during the daily teatime)
      No Sir Cameron, islam is the Arabic word for ‘ submission ‘.

      The massive riots in Stockholm is in fact much more frightening than the Cleaver murder in London … from where so that slack language, Cameron? There is nothing to find vreedzaams in the Islamic faith, all problems are solved, all violent 1400 years long!
      This is true islam. Unadulterated and pure. In the mosque, the Muslim faithful weekly on. It’s all in their beloved book, in black and white. The terror inherent in islam. The violence is the lifeblood of the islam. How many attacks have yet to take place before the penny. That Muslims who do not participate in this violence is not with islam but despite islam. Their doctrine is clear on that. Cutting off the head is fully compliant with sharia and it is fate that all those who reject (Allah), who continue to offer resistance to the faith of the peace. When will the Muslims flock to the streets to protest against this violence. I never think because that is tantamount to rejection of the most holiest in their faith and that is jihad.

      Anywhere in the world where Muslims are intolerant and violent is a large gang. The European political elites close their politically correct eyelets for decades and are directly responsible for subverting the society by these “immigrants”. There is, of course, screeching and screaming protested when a Muslim child is provided by infidels, ehhh after this murder as well? Of course not, the fifth column has its own subjective more.

      The Islamic faith (if you can call this a belief) is not abused. It is precisely the doctrine of this belief that massive abuses the people. It is a doctrine that the minds of people from their cradle solid manipulates and incites hatred and violence. Basically, you can say that these perpetrators their poisoned soul thanks to islam. Islam is an extremely dangerous ideology and it is time that this ideology is going to be instead of solid contested camped and everywhere free by gets underway. With islam in our midst will Europe dark times ahead. If we don’t look out the whole of Europe will Lebanese States many cities in Europe and will be a mirror image of Beirut.

      I believe that a moderate Muslim does not even exist.
      In the Islamic world it works like this: you’re completely Muslim or you’re totally not a Muslim.
      And what always amazes me is that the media put at the table at a good talking neat Muslim talk programs that supposedly on behalf of all Muslims is talking. While the Muslims who live in the areas completely different thinking and much more extreme. And that’s because of the mosque. What all there is called is disgusting. As everywhere in the world where Muslims are not in their homeland are comes this becoming more common, that’s because it’s that group the way they need to be, we should also do not adapt to them, we explain them in the cotton wool and this is the thanks under an underrated big group. They come to your country go get money at those fine points of single contact by their home countries to be added in here to do their thing.
      Peaceful Muslims do not exist, as soon as they smell their chance then apply their laws. Their mindset is not ours and there is violence. Look carefully what is happening in the countries around us and what our so called peaceful Muslims. People let you do no disorientation by these amateurs who see themselves as a world leader and call.
      How many Muslim idiots are going to impersonate these murderers? And the ‘ brave warriors for islam ‘ coming out of Syria come back? But that dangerous people are children that should be helped because they ever traumatized can come back? No longer let those dangerous crazies who are trained in terrorism and Salafism.

      To start would be the islam as a reactionary ideology should be labeled and not as a religion. That places those crimes straight into a different light and easier to prosecute and punish stricter Daily misery by Islamic religious fanatics is not limited to Boston, Stockholm or London: these are only well-known press moments of the last few days. This concerns organized and orchestrated a worldwide virus thoughts good from certain direction that are simple to spread through dish TV and certain places of worship. Goal is fear, discord and an eventual replacement of Western values. Our one-sided respectful answer in the form of housing, asylum policy, financial support, benefits and dialogue are only good for preservation of millions of industry


    Leave a Reply

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

    WordPress.com Logo

    You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

    Google+ photo

    You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

    Connecting to %s

    Follow

    Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

    %d bloggers like this: