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

     

    American History Textbooks are Political Tools

    “Another question needs to be raised about this, as well. Where is the national media to highlight this discussion? We need a national debate that has been denied the nation and the media has so far run away as quickly as they can from the vexing and important questions of the fight between civilization and murderous Islamofascism”.
    American School Books Redefine ‘Jihad’ to Exclude Violence — Where is Media?
    By Warner Todd Huston | June 8, 2008 –
    In yet another example of why the west could be too weak to fight the sort of global terrorism that takes the form of Islamofascism, a textbook monitoring group is charging that American textbooks have been cleansed of mentioning the violence inherent in the Islamic “Jihad.” Now, our children will not be taught what “Jihad” truly means, nor that it has been used as an excuse to kill their fellow citizens because our schools have sanitized Islam of all outrage and violence. Will the media follow this story and report that our children are being exposed to Islamic propaganda like this?
    According to the New York Examiner, the American Textbook Council reports that textbooks approved for middle and high schools students have caved in to a politically correct cleansing of Islam and dumbed down history critical to a fuller understanding of Muslim history — one that reflects on our own times.
    (SNIP)
    According to Sewall, several new textbooks, such as Houghton Mifflin’s “Across the Centuries,” have gone through an “amazing cultural reorchestration” to erase the history of violence associated with the word “jihad.”
    Sewall fears that a political process has replaced an academic process where it concerns the production and approval of our textbooks.

    (SNIP)

    Naturally, Islamic groups decry Sewall’s concerns claiming he is wrong that “jihad” is necessarily defined by violence. In the textbook, “jihad” is defined as a struggle “to do one’s best to resist temptation and overcome evil.”
    (SNIP)
    Further, when violent jihad is the prime motivation in a day when it is used to kill Americans by the thousands is dangerous in the extreme and leaves our future generations vulnerable.
    (SNIP)
    Another question needs to be raised about this, as well. Where is the national media to highlight this discussion? We need a national debate that has been denied the nation and the media has so far run away as quickly as they can from the vexing and important questions of the fight between civilization and murderous Islamofascism.
    Like the dumbing down of our textbooks, the media has added to this national amnesia and put us all in danger.
    To read complete article:http://tinyurl.com/6m6dud

    CAIR in the Classroom

    CAIR is fast becoming a contributor to our children’s public school education.  Concerned parents of students in Houston’s Friendswood Junior High exposed an Islamic presentation during classroom time given by representatives of the Council on American Islamic Relations.   The WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh  exposing CAIR’s agenda in this Texas public middle school follows this commentary.  First let’s look at CAIR’s participation in a Brooklyn, New York public school.

    CAIR’s active participation as an educating organization working with the Khalil Gibran International Academy, an Arabic language and Arabic culture public school is documented in KGIA’s Executive Summary which states the American Muslim Association of Lawyers (AMAL) offers internships, and helps with a course in human rights (in 6th grade…) (P. 7, p. 18). The AMAL website appears to be inactive (http://www.theamal.org/index.shtml) but the group (or at least their website) was founded by Omar Mohammedi, President of the New York Chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), and lawyer for the infamous “6 imams” who have threatened to sue airline personnel and passengers for “profiling.” CAIR has been named in the Holy Land Terror-financing trial as an unindicted co-conspirator.

     Frontpage contributes some background to CAIR’s history- “CAIR’s founder and executive director, Nihad Awad, was the IAP’s [Islamic Association of Palestine] public relations director with a long history of extremism. Awad openly praised Iran’s notorious Ayatollah Khomeini. He blasted the trial and conviction of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers – against whom the evidence of guilt was overwhelming – as “a travesty of justice.” At a 1994 Barry University forum, he candidly stated, “I am in support of the Hamas movement.”

    “CAIR has been the mouthpiece of some of the vilest anti-Semitism imaginable. For example, the organization co-sponsored a 1998 Brooklyn College rally at which a militant Egyptian Islamist led the attendees in chanting, “No to the Jews, descendents of the apes.” Hussam Ayloush, who heads CAIR’s Los Angeles office, contemptuously refers to Israelis as “Zionazis.” [http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID=5E5F4FCA-2B20-4393-917C-506AC4C756F7
     
    Consider the possibilities regarding what would be taught in a Khalil Gibran International Academy classroom.  The KGIA Executive Summary. reveals a day in the life of an imaginary student in the school. “Although KGIA offers a variety of enrichment electives in the arts, sports, and technology beginning at 3:30, Fatin has chosen an elective on Human Rights. This class is being co-taught by one of the school’s full-time teachers along with an Arab-American lawyer. She can’t wait until the end of the semester, when one of the collaborating organizations, the American Muslim Association of Lawyers, will offer students internship opportunities at their members’ law offices for a semester.
     
     An April 2008 Weekly Standard article, “CAIR vs. the NYPD The Wahhabi lobby attacks” by Stephen Schwartz documents that Almontaser, the former Principal-designate and architect of the Khalil Gibran International Academy,  has once again joined forces with CAIR and Omar Mohammadi, CAIR’s NY President, to demand that the NYPD end its distribution of the report, “Radicalization in the West: The Home-Grown Threat” prepared by Mitchell D. Silber and Arvin Bhatt of the NYPD Intelligence Division to other jurisdictions’ law enforcement agencies.
    “This month, the Wahhabi lobby plans to drop its manifesto of grievances on Commissioner Kelly, on April 17. In minutes of a meeting held in New York on March 3, officials of CAIR present included Faiza Ali, Aliya Latif, and Omar Mohammadi, joined by Islamist agitator Syed Z. Sayeed, religious adviser to the Saudi-backed Muslim Students Association at Columbia University. They noted that the NYPD had asked for a detailed reply to the report. The participants at the March 3 get-together also observed that while they would prepare such a response, CAIR itself has financed and is working on a more thorough text designated its “long-term analysis/alternative model of radicalization.”
     
    Perhaps the most remarkable detail about the March 3 conclave was the leading role taken in it by Debbie Almontaser, a New York resident who last attracted attention as the front-person for a middle-and-high magnet school to be established in New York, the Khalil Gibran International Academy (KGIA). [Emphasis added] KGIA was intended as a special institution emphasizing an Arabic language curriculum and related studies, but its proponents were accused of trying to establish an “intifada academy.” Nevertheless, when Almontaser came under scrutiny as the project head she was defended by many in New York as a faultless moderate. Her involvement in CAIR’s counter-attack on the NYPD demonstrates otherwise: her assignment in dealing with NYPD was to organize an online discussion group for input into the Community Statement.
     
    Such would not be a minor responsibility, and shows that she enjoyed the full confidence of the CAIR commissars. Debbie Almontaser appears to be a classic “stealth Islamist,” and KGIA looks like just the kind of radicalizing effort it was said to be by its critics. Almontaser resigned from her position as head of KGIA last August, but now claims she was forced out, and is pursuing a legal complaint to regain her place at the school. KGIA has been promised housing in an elementary school in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn, but its future is little more certain than that of Almontaser’s own career.”  [www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/014/968cekhc.asp]
    In a recent Frontpage article by Phil Orenstein, “Almontaser has expressed virulent blame America attitudes in the past making statements in interviews such as: “I have realized that our foreign policy is racist; in the ‘war against terror’ people of color are the target….the terrorist attacks have been triggered by the way the USA breaks its promises with countries across the world, especially in the Middle East.”
     
    Consider also a 2004 article in the American Thinker, “Your children may learn that Muslims discovered America”, describing CAIR’s involvement with stacking the deck in your child’s education as they stack American public library shelves with: “……the placement of propaganda in our schools by Muslim extremist groups. As the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation pointed out in a report issued this week titled, “The Stealth Curriculum:Manipulating America’s History Teachers” these efforts are intended “to use America’s public school classrooms to shape the minds of tomorrow’s citizens by manipulating what today’s teachers introducing into the lessons of today’s children”.

    The article goes on to specify CAIR’s deliberate involvement:

    The Council  on American—Islamic Relations, some of whose members have been “outed” as terror supporters, has an active program to supply these this type of propaganda to libraries across the nation. Naturally, like schools, the librarians are more than happy to accept inexpensive, or free, material to fill their shelves. Yet these same books and audio—visual material are filling our children’s minds with lies that are tantamount to propaganda that teach hate. Efforts should be made by local activists and PTA or PTO members to scrutinize the reading lists at our “educational” institutions. http://www.americanthinker.com/2004/04/your_children_may_learn_that_m.html

     

    BRAVE NEW SCHOOLS

    Texas children roped into Islamic training
    Class by CAIR teaches: ‘There is one god, Allah’
    By Bob Unruh, News Editor, WorldNetDaily,
    30 May 2008
     
     
    Public school students at Friendswood Junior High in the Houston area have been roped into Islamic training by representatives from the Council on American-Islamic Relations during class time, prompting religious leaders to protest over Principal Robin Lowe’s actions.
    Pastor Dave Welch, spokesman for the Houston Area Pastor Council, confirmed the indoctrination had taken place and called it “unacceptable.”
    “The failure of the principal of Friendswood Junior High to respect simple procedures requiring parental notification for such a potentially controversial subject, to not only approve but participate personally in a religious indoctrination session led by representatives of a group with well-known links to terrorist organizations and her cavalier response when confronted, raises serious questions about her fitness to serve in that role,” the pastors’ organization said.
    According to a parent, whose name was withheld, the children were given the Islamic indoctrination during time that was supposed to be used for a physical
    education class.
    “I am simply trying to get the word out to those whose kids may not have told them about an Islamic presentation that all kids were required to attend,” wrote the parent, who was working to assemble protests to the school board.
    WND previously has reported how public school textbooks being used across the nation have begun promoting Islam, teaching even the religious doctrines.
    WND also has reported on several other school situations in which Islam has been taught as a required subject, and when administrators have defended those decisions.
    In the Texas case, a school e-mail to parents provided only a half-hearted acknowledgement that such mandatory religious indoctrination might not have been the best decision.
    “In hindsight, a note should have been sent home to parents indicating the purpose and content of the presentation in time for parents to contact me with questions or concerns or requests to exempt their child,” the school note from Lowe said. “This will be our practice in the future, should we ever have another presentation of a similar nature.”
    School officials also said the “Islamic Awareness” presentation was “to increase understanding of the Islamic culture in response to racially motivated comments that have been made to students on campus.”
    The pastors said in a statement: “According to students who were forced to attend these sessions, these Islamic evangelists taught them:
    • Adam, Noah and Jesus  are prophets
    • There is one god, his name is Allah
    • The 5 Pillars of Islam
    • How to pray five times a day
    • Islamic religious garb”
    The pastors noted that the principal’s claim there were “comments” to students on campus was unverified. Nor does that excuse or justify “this infringement upon the religious beliefs of students and parents of the community nor the violation of school policy and possibly state and/or federal law,” they said.
    “We do not believe that this unapproved action by Principal Robin Lowe represents the school district and certainly not the majority of students or parents in the Friendswood community. Our commitment is to support all appropriate administrative, legal and political remedies to assure that this will not happen again and these Islamic activist organizations are kept out of our schools,” the pastors said.
    The parent reported the presentation was 30-40 minutes long and handled by two Muslim women from CAIR’s Houston office. CAIR, as WND has reported, is spinoff of the defunct Islamic Association for Palestine, launched by Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook and former university professor Sami al-Arian, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to provide services to Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
    Among the convicted CAIR staffers are former communications specialist Randall Todd “Ismail” Royer, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison on charges he trained in Virginia for holy war against the U.S. and sent several members to Pakistan to join a Kashmiri terrorist group with reported ties to al-Qaida; and Bassem Khafagi, who was arrested in January 2003 while serving as CAIR’s director of community relations and convicted on fraud and terrorism charges in connection with a probe of the Islamic Assembly of North America, an organization suspected of aiding Saudi sheiks tied to Osama bin Laden. In October 2006, Ghassan Elashi, a member of the founding board of directors of the Texas branch of CAIR, was sentenced to nearly seven years in prison for financial ties to a high-ranking terrorist.
    The parent reported that Lowe told students her sister, niece and nephew were Muslim.
    But the parent complained the Muslims “were given full attention of our kids, during academic school time, to present their religious beliefs … This was put right at the end of the school year … which will most likely prevent a Christian response.”
    There also was no parental notification and students were required to attend.
    “The kids did not even know they were having an assembly or what topic it pertained to until they entered the gym,” the parent wrote. “I send my kids to school for academics … I teach them religion at home.”

    Caution to the Wind….

    Alan Brodsky, in a NY Post op-ed writes,
       
     
    “When the consequences are great, as when creating a school, officials must act with an over-abundance of prudence. They must have unassailable faith in school leaders.”
     
    “But would kids come away less committed to US values and traditions than their peers? How would the school present 9/11, Islam, Israel, the Mideast – America?”

    “Yes, in theory, such a school can be useful. More Americans need to speak Arabic – not just to bridge cultural gaps, but to spy on the enemy and expose his plots. We need to know how Islamists think and act – not to understand their “grievances,” but to help predict and foil their next attack.”

    The article speaks for itself and we couldn’t agree more.

    Read the entire op-ed:

                                    

                     Almontaser: Ties to dubious groups

     

    WHO NEEDS VIGILANCE?

    THE NY TIMES & ‘INTIFADA HIGH’

    By ADAM BRODSKY

    May 2, 2008 — SOMEONE should tell The New York Times what happened on 9/11 – it ap parently has no clue. If it did, it never would’ve run that 4,500-word, front-page tearjerker Monday on Brooklyn’s Khalil Gibran International Academy and its ex-principal, Debbie Almontaser.

     What happened back then (as everyone but, it seems, the Times knows) is that Arab Islamists, disguised as harmless civilians, murdered 3,000 people and leveled the World Trade Center. In so doing, they awoke America to their war, which relies heavily on deception and targets unsuspecting, open-minded, tolerant Westerners. Gullible fools, that is.
    Since then, Americans got wise. One response to the sneak attack: vigilance. If you see something, say something. Be careful whom you trust.
    The Times sees no need for vigilance, as if 9/11 never happened. But caution underlies resistance to the city’s first Arab-themed public school.
    No, no one feared the school would train kid bombers. But would kids come away less committed to US values and traditions than their peers? How would the school present 9/11, Islam, Israel, the Mideast – America?
    Surely, if Americans had flattened the Riyadh Tower (Saudi Arabia’s tallest building), the idea of opening a public school in the Kingdom to promote US-Arab understanding would occur to no one. No wonder jaws dropped over plans for a taxpayer-funded, Arabic-themed school in the city, in response to attacks here by Arab terrorists.
    Yes, in theory, such a school can be useful. More Americans need to speak Arabic – not just to bridge cultural gaps, but to spy on the enemy and expose his plots. We need to know how Islamists think and act – not to understand their “grievances,” but to help predict and foil their next attack.
    When the consequences are great, as when creating a school, officials must act with an over-abundance of prudence. They must have unassailable faith in school leaders.
    Once a school opens, it’s hard to reverse decisions. Almontaser’s lawsuit against Mayor Mike and the city – she cites her First Amendment rights in claiming she was wrongly forced to quit – shows that.
    Folks can debate if Almontaser, a Yemeni-American, is a well-meaning Muslim moderate railroaded out of her dream to create “ambassadors of peace and hope” – as she, and the Times, insist.
    They can weigh the paper’s suggestion that she was fired in large part because of a Post story, which a judge said “misleadingly” reported her comments on the term “intifada.”
    Or they may decide that anti-Islamist experts like Daniel Pipes, who labeled her an “extremist,” had her pegged better. And that the Gibran school really is “the kind of radicalizing effort it was said to be,” as Stephen Schwartz put it.
    That debate might answer questions like: Why did Almontaser feel compelled to defend teen girls whose group sported t-shirts with the incendiary words “Intifada NYC”? What’s with her ties to groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land terror-funding case with links to Hamas?
    Certainly, there was enough to raise real concerns, in an era of necessarily heightened distrust. And that should have been sufficient to disqualify her, if not to kill the school entirely – however qualified and well-meaning she may be.
    As they respond to terror with vigilance, Americans will no doubt sometimes go overboard. But you can be sure mistakes will be fewer here than they’d be anywhere else.
    Meanwhile, too much caution is surely better than too little.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

        

    Revisionist History in the Classroom

    After four separate Freedom of Information Law requests and four court hearings, the Department of Education has not responded to our demands for complete transparency.  The reason for KGIA’s existence is to teach the Arabic language and Arabic Culture; however, the curricula and textbooks have not been revealed.   As we pursue the truth, everyone continues to wonder exactly what is being taught in the Khalil Gibran International Academy.  Are they learning that Muslims discovered America?  If so, why?  The answer is that if the Islamists can establish their presence as the original inhabitants of North America then the land becomes part of the Ummah, the Islamic lands.  The caliphate now extends to the United States.  According to the open source Wikkipedia the Ummah is-

    Present day meaning

    Some modern Islamists use the term “Islamic Ummah” or “Muslim Ummah” to refer to all the people in the lands and countries where Muslims predominantly reside, and which were once under the control of the Islamic Caliphate. They thus include non-Muslim minorities as members of the ummah. Shariah (Islamic law) would apply to the citizens of the state. In such a unified “Islamic Umma,” the non-Muslim citizens would be subject to Dhimmi limitations and conditions.

    The Council on American Islamic Relations has endorsed the school and stated that they are participating with KGIA.  See CAIR-NY-founded American Muslim Lawyers Association and the American Mideast Leadership Network, run by a Hezbollah apologist.  Considering its status as a  named unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land terrorist funding case and its years of plying Islamic literature to American Public Libraries the question is, “What have they supplied KGIA’s library with?”  This is just one of many questions we need answers to.

    Following is a 2004 article reprinted from the American Thinker by Ed Lasky.  Islamic propaganda in American public schools has been exposed for years.  Exactly what was Mayor Bloomberg and the NYC Department of Education thinking when they endorsed and supported this school?

    April 16, 2004

    Your children may learn that Muslims discovered America

    By Ed Lasky

    A Native American tribe has forced distributors of an Arab studies guide for American teachers to remove an inaccurate and absurd passage that Muslim explorers preceded Columbus to North America, and eventually became Algonquin chiefs named Abdul—Rahim and Abdallah Ibn Malik!

    The Middle East Policy Council, a Washington advocacy group that promotes this curriculum to school districts in 155 U.S. cities have apparently been somewhat unresponsive and dismissive of complaints. Ridiculous as this example is, it is illustrative of a far more disturbing development: the placement of propaganda in our schools by Muslim extremist groups. [Emphasis added] As the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation pointed out in a report issued this week titled, “The Stealth Curriculum:Manipulating America’s History Teachers” these efforts are intended “to use America’s public school classrooms to shape the minds of tomorrow’s citizens by manipulating what today’s teachers introducing into the lessons of today’s children”

    The American Textbook Council has played a leading role in resisting Arab efforts to supply propaganda to our schools, and recently published a report, “Islam and the Textbooks”, by Gilbert T. Sewall, which reports this phenomenon. It can be found here.

    These militants and their supporters have set their eyes on our children, and are attempting to brainwash them by supplying free textbooks which whitewash the truth regarding Muslim extremism, while promoting Arab and Palestinian political goals. These “teaching materials” also impugn and devalue America, Western nations, Israel. Judaism, and Christianity. The article, ‘Textbooks for Jihad,’ found here is a good analysis of these developments .

    The Council  on American—Islamic Relations, some of whose members have been “outed” as terror supporters, has an active program to supply these this type of propaganda to libraries across the nation. Naturally, like schools, the librarians are more than happy to accept inexpensive, or free, material to fill their shelves. Yet these same books and audio—visual material are filling our children’s minds with lies that are tantamount to propaganda that teach hate. Efforts should be made by local activists and PTA or PTO members to scrutinize the reading lists at our “educational” institutions. [http://www.americanthinker.com/2004/04/your_children_may_learn_that_m.html]

    Opinion: Mayor Bloomberg There are Transfats in KGIA

         Mayor Bloomberg, when you send a team of transfat experts to the school will you make good on your Chancellor of Education Joel Klein’s promise to monitor the Khalil Gibran International Academy  for political and/or religious content in textbooks, teacher handouts, and lesson plans?  With an Advisory Board of radical Islamist Imams, Priests, and Rabbis, New Yorkers are asking themselves why isn’t there an official monitoring board in place at the Khalil Gibran International Academy public school as promised?  We are also aware that if questions about what would be taught in the school weren’t raised there would be a halal lunch offered to public school students.  Has our Mayor and Department of Education forgotten about the Separation of Church and State?  New Yorkers haven’t and feel that this is a dangerous precedent.

         Here is a list of excellent questions that can be used by the monitoring board.  It is part of an excellent article written by M.Zhudi Jasser,  founder and Chairman of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, explaining the urgent need for public accountability for “Islamic” educational institutions in the U.S. 

    Discerning Islamist from non-Islamist Schools – a guide to begin the debate

    The only way to counter such an insidious ideological insurgency is for us as a nation to undertake a far-reaching analysis and public discussion about what students at these Islamic schools are actually being taught about ‘sharia’ law and its role in the society. Here are a few questions American communities may want to pose to principals and curriculum coordinators of local Islamic schools in order to understand whether the school has a political agenda in its teachings or not.

    1.         How does the school teach American history and the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights? What is taught about the struggle of our founding fathers against theocracy? Is European Enlightenment ideology taught? Are students encouraged to learn from non-Muslim philosophers especially those who influenced our founding fathers and taught liberty and freedom?

    2.         Are students taught that sharia is only personal or that it also specifically guides governmental law? Does their answer change whether Muslims are a minority or a majority?

    3.         Do they view non-Islamic private and public schools as part of a culture of ‘immorality’ and decadence since they are not Islamicized or can non-Islamic schools be morally and equally virtuous?

    4.         Do they teach their children that ‘being American’ and being ‘free’ is about moral corruption or is being American and free about loving the nation in which they live and sharing equal status before the law regardless of faith tradition?

    5.         Is complete religious freedom a central part of faith and the practice of religion? In the Islamic school, how are children treated who refuse to participate in school faith practices?

    6.         Are the children taught Muslim exclusivism with regards to the attainment of paradise in the Hereafter? From that, are the children also taught that government and public institutions must thus be ‘Islamic’ in order for the community as a whole to be able to enter the gates of Heaven?

    7.         How are student discussions, debate, and intellectual discourses approached regarding American domestic and foreign policy? Do the teachers have a political agenda? Does that agenda demonstrate a dichotomy between Islamist interests and American interests?

    8.         Is the historical period of Muslim rule of Spain (Andalusia) taught in the context of the history of the world during the Middle Ages or is it looked upon as superior to current day American ideology even after the advances of the Enlightenment?

    9.         Is the pledge of allegiance administered every day at the beginning of the school day?

    Certainly, this analysis and exposure would not be in any way to limit the freedom of Muslims to establish and operate these private educational facilities. But rather, quite the contrary, with exposure of the political Islamist agenda of many of these schools, Islamist schools will be slowly marginalized or obligated to reform. Then the non-Islamist and anti-Islamist schools will flourish while teaching reasoned pluralistic Islamic thought wholly compatible with the foundational principles of America.

        

         Mayor Bloomberg, before you dismiss this as a problem affecting only private educational institutions note-

    “A few receive direct government support as charter schools which is incomprehensible in the setting of what should be a separation of religion and state in America.” [emphasis added]  KGIA is a public school supported with taxpayer dollars.

    The scope of the problem – taxpayer complicity

    A recent 2004 study by the NCES documented 182 Islamic private schools in the United States. Just last week the Voice of America trumpeted a report that, “Muslim Americans Establish own Schools in the U.S.” This statement of fact was presented with the apparent assumption that such a fact was good for Muslims and good for America. That would be the case if Islamism was not being taught and they would in fact be an asset if anti-Islamist ideas were being encouraged and debated. However, the simple fact that the schools taught Arabic seemed enough to the VOA reporters. Someone needs to inform them that translation services are often only as good as the ideological and political agenda of the translators themselves. In today’s oversimplified discourse on Islam it seems to matter little to the media or government whether Islamic schools are creating growing legions of pro-Islamist Muslims or not.

    Let us also not forget that many of these institutions are operating with tax benefits and tacit government endorsement. A few receive direct government support as charter schools which is incomprehensible in the setting of what should be a separation of religion and state in America. Others, however, receive indirect government support through tax incentives as exists in Arizona or voucher programs as have been implemented in Ohio. There needs to be a greater public awareness of whether the ideology taught at these schools is compatible with Americanism and freedom as we know it. http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/challenges.php?id=1385607#

    The Council on Islamic Education, the Arab-American Family Support Center, and The Khalil Gibran International Academy

    The Arab-American Family Support Center (AAFSC) is a lead partner for the Khalil Gibran International Academy. The organization is providing on-site supervision for the school as noted in their Executive Summary. The second Freedom of Information Law request produced this document, the only information released by the New York City Board of Education on the Khalil Gibran International Academy: The KGIA Executive Summary. The Stop the Madrassa Coalition is still waiting for the NYC Department of Education to inform the public as to what textbooks, lesson plans, teacher handouts, and website sources the school will be using.

    The Council for Islamic Education (CIE) is linked to the AAFSC website for issues regarding education. This organization’s focused agenda has been to revise the historical record of American history textbooks used in taxpayer-funded public middle and high schools for the past twenty years. There is remarkable rewriting of Islamic history, and according to information we find on their home page, the CIE is encouraging the teaching of religion. In order to further their preferencing of Islam they encourage bringing in outside speakers to classrooms specifically for the purpose of teaching religion.

    The CIE home page publishes two articles dealing with the issue of religion in the public school. Apparently the fundamental American idea of separation of Church and State is not conducive to their desire to undermine the neutral safe space our Constitution provides American students. Many educators and taxpayers feel that this is not what belongs in a public school. The separation of Church and State has allowed public schools to be free of the preferencing of any one particular religion. The CIE is paving the way for Islam to be taught under the guise of inclusion based on multiculturalism.

    On the internet you will find two sites called Sound Vision [ http://www.soundvision.com ] and DawaNet [ http://www.dawanet.com/ ]. Muslim parents are being advised to use a 6 step methodical technique of how to go about getting religious accommodation and prayer in the public school. It accomplishes this by telling them to be nice and polite at first but always leave a paper trail. The 6 Step guideline is written by Shabbir Mansouri who is the founder of CIE.

    For more on the Council on Islamic Education’s revisionist history of American public school history textbooks please read the following excerpt:

    [This article has been reprinted from FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Gilbert T. Sewall is Director of the American Textbook Council, a former history instructor at Phillips Academy and an education editor at Newsweek. The American Textbook Council is an independent New York-based research organization established in 1989. The Council reviews history textbooks and other educational materials. It is dedicated to improving the social studies curriculum and civic education in the nation’s elementary and high schools. To read the entire article: http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/terrorism.php?id=1385640><p><strong>Exclusive:]

    Islam and the Textbooks: A Reply to the Critics

    (Part Two of Two)

    Gilbert T. Sewall

    Click here for Part One.

    Implications

    It is dismaying to watch educational publishers and their paid consultants embrace Islamist activists, accepting as authoritative their biased educational materials. What is even more distressing, these educational publishers bear a public trust as government suppliers and profit from tax-generated revenues. These publishers have ignored some of the report’s most troubling questions: Where is the Council on Islamic Education’s money and funding coming from? Who are its benefactors and why do they fail to operate under 501(c)(3) status? What indeed is the Council’s legal status? Where can anyone obtain public reporting and a clear picture of the Council’s past, present and future? (I have requested this information repeatedly for four years, without any success.) Publishers fail to explain why they ignore fundamental questions of motives, funding, legal status and strong-arm tactics in the Islamic organizations that they listen to, appease, and defend.

    If our nation’s cultural underpinnings are in conflict with religious dogma and values that are intent on replacing or even eradicating them, should not children and their teachers be made aware? Just as pro-Soviet enthusiasms, Mao worship, and Cold War evisionism seem naïve today, currently prescribed views of Islam may also some day seem like dangerous nonsense. And what key points might replace the obvious flaws in the current generation of textbooks? That militant Islam is a real force in the world today, an insurgency that is a real threat to the nation’s democratic way of life and freedoms that its citizens often take for granted.

    “We live in a time when great efforts are being made to falsify the record of the past and to make history a tool of propaganda; when governments, religious movements, political parties, and sectional groups of every kind are busy rewriting history as they would wish it to have been,” observed the historian Bernard Lewis a dozen years ago. Since he wrote this, Islamists have succeeded in doing the very thing. Publishers – not only Houghton Mifflin – have some explaining and work to do.

    Textbooks that are used in U.S. classrooms should explain the historically potent strain of Islam that promotes separatism and theocracy. Instead, they are trying to trim history to please Islami[st] pressure groups and allied ideologues. The implications for U.S. civic education are immense, especially if students are unaware of or even accept the idea that for politically esthetic reasons they are being lied to or emotionally manipulated. To become discerning and self-preserving citizens, U.S. students must learn how consensual government, individual freedom and rights, and religious toleration based on separation of church and state are their unusual birthrights. But history textbook publishers adhere to a “multiple perspectives” ideology and bow to Muslim pressure. There is no easy or quick solution to the problem since the imperatives of selling history textbooks put educational publishers in a commercial dilemma.

    # #

     

    Copyright © 2006 American Textbook Council. All Rights Reserved.