ISLAMIC INSTRUCTION ADVOCATED IN THE U.S. SINCE THE 1990S
by Sharon Rondeau
(Nov. 15, 2017) — On Sunday, The Clarion Project reported about an article appearing in the UK Daily Mail describing a sixth-grade assignment wherein students were tasked with writing a letter to their family explaining why they had “converted to Islam.”
The assignment was reportedly given to sixth- or possible seventh-graders at a school in the nation’s northeast municipality of Sunderland.
On Wednesday morning, Clarion reported the results of thousands of comments received as a result of Sunday’s article as well as a poll taken posing a number of scenarios guardians would have chosen had their own children received the same assignment.
From among six categories of hypothetical responses, the greatest number (41.8%) of parents/guardians said that if presented with the same dilemma, they would have chosen to “Speak with other parents and create a unified protest against the teacher/curriculum.”
The second-highest category of removing one’s child from school gleaned almost 30% of those participating.
Only 1.1% of those responding said that they would have allowed the child to finish the assignment, while 10.7% said they would have complained to the instructor administrator about it.
One of the responsive comments to the article reads:
I homeschool my granddaughter because of this and other trends in public schools. I’m setting up a homeschool facilitation service that will allow me to facilitate homeschooling for other parents who want to work but not have their child in public or private school. It gives them personal control over the curriculum their child gets taught.
An instructional guide published at the University of Chicago’s website to “teaching about Islam and Muslims in the public school classroom” by the Council on Islamic Education, copyrighted in 1995 and updated in 1998, includes a section on “Strategies and Structures for Presenting World History, with Islam and Muslim History as a Case Study.”
At that time, nearly two decades ago, the guide provided the following statistics as to Muslims residing in the U.S.:
Muslims from various walks of life live in every state of the union. The ten states with the largest Muslim populations, listed in order, are California, New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Indiana, Michigan, Virginia, Texas, Ohio, and Maryland. Muslims in these ten states constitute 3.3 million (more than 50%) of the American Muslim population.
There are more than 1,200 masjids (mosques) throughout the United States, as well as over 400 Islamic schools (126 full-time), three colleges, 400 associations, an estimated 200,000 businesses, and over 200 publications, journals, and weekly newspapers.
The number of houses of worship serves as one measure of the growth of the Muslim community in the United States. In 1930, there were 19 masjids in America. By 1960 there were more than 230; by 1980 over 600; and as noted above, by 1995 over 1,200.
In June 2008, SFGate published an opinion piece titled “Islam in America’s public schools: Education or indoctrination?” in which it the author wrote:
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…
In June 2013, FrontPageMag began an article with, “The Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is pressuring public schools in this country to make special accommodations for Muslim students and to deny comparable accommodations for students of other faiths.” Further, the article reported:
In California, the Islamists have already won in their efforts to get special treatment for Islam in the public schools.
For example, several years ago seventh-graders at a San Francisco-area school were required to “become Muslims” for two full weeks as part of California’s world history curriculum. This included professing as “true” the Muslim belief that “The Holy Quran is God’s word,” reciting the Muslim profession of faith — “Allah is the only true God and Muhammad is his messenger” —and chanting “Praise be to Allah.” Just imagine what would happen if a public school told Muslim students to become Jews for two weeks and recite the traditional Jewish prayer: “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one.”
In January 2014, Pamela Geller reported that a charter school fourth-grade class was instructed in the “greatness” of Islam, how to say “Allah is great” in Arabic, and was given what a mother viewed as an objectionable homework assignment which she and her husband similarly refused to have their daughter complete.
In October 2015, CBN News reported “that tenets of Islam are being taught in public schools as a mandate by the state” of Georgia. In response, the parent of a seventh-grader asked, “…if we don’t see the Ten Commandments, the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit, the Trinity being taught as the representation, an accurate representation of Chritianity, then why are we seeing in detail teaching on the doctrine of Islam?”
Two months later, The Los Angeles Times related that parents in Augusta County, VA were upset after they learned that their high-school children were taught in a “World Religions” class “why calligraphy was religiously significant to Muslims. The article was titled “Public schools struggle with lessons about Islam amid renewed fears of terrorism.”
In January 2016, Todd Starnes of Fox News reported that the parents of a Maryland high-school or filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the school system were complicit in “forcing children to profess the Muslim statement of faith, ordering them to memorize the Five Pillars of Islam and teaching that the faith of a Muslim is stronger than the average Christian.”
The website AKDart.com has compiled a running list of examples of Islamic instruction, “indoctrination,” segregation for Muslim students in colleges and universities and public schools’ attempts to meet “halal” requirements in their lunch menus.
On November 8, 2017, the Middle East Forum, whose slogan is “Promoting American Interests,” wrote about a research project published in book form in July under the title “Indoctrinating Our Youth.” The book focuses on the longstanding conflict between Arab countries and Israel and how its history was taught to tenth-graders in Newton, MA.
The Amazon introduction to the book reads, in part:
Much of the material used to teach about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was pulled from the Internet and reflected questionable journalistic reporting rather than historical scholarship. Students were given an account that was riddled with errors and omitted crucial historical information and context. Items used to teach about Islam tended to be simplistic and evasive when discussing controversial topics relating to women and minorities in Muslim society.
The Middle East Forum reported that the materials used in the class were “recommended by Harvard University’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies.”