Well it looks like you are all ready for the next part, part II.
Soon some of you will be putting the pieces together of what is happeneing here.
Jihad in Small Town America: Part 2
Deep in the Bible belt, students in the rural South Carolina town of Saluda are learning about Islam. Students in Mrs. Stribbles’ class at the Saluda Middle School are spending a considerable amount of time on a webquest, learning about Islam.
According to the school website, the students will have the opportunity “to journey through Syria following an Islamic family”. The website explains that because the Islamic faith is part of the culture of Asia, the students must be quite familiar with Islam before studying the people and government of the region.
However, the school does not follow the same procedures for learning about the Buddhist faith when studying countries where that religion predominates; nor does it allow in-depth study of the Catholic religion when studying such areas of the world as South America, where that faith is very much a part of daily life.
Less than 50 miles away, in the Columbia, South Carolina suburb of Columbia, a high school not far from the state Capitol received significant media attention. Dr. Daniel Pipes reported that students at Irmo High School were required as part of a history class to:
* Create a pamphlet to teach people about Islam.
* Extensive discussion of the five pillars of Islam.
* Listen to a presentation by an Orthodox Christian priest who informed the students that all religions are based on Islam.
The teacher of the class is Minhaj Arastu, who is also the director of the local chapter of CAIR. According to report, Arastu told the students that the United States is a “Judeo-Christian-Muslim” nation according to the beliefs of the founding fathers.
In an interview with local radio station 89.7 WMHK, Arastu said “Islam shares a Biblical heritage with Jews and Christians, and so when we talk about the value of life, or family values, we can talk about them as being Judeo-Christian-Islamic."
Arastu also acts as the sponsor of the school Muslim student group, and was instrumental in having a portion of the school library set aside for Muslim students to pray each day. The Irmo Muslim Student Association meets every other Monday after school in Arastu’s classroom. There appear to be no such accommodations for other faiths. In fact, a review of the clubs currently active on campus at Irmo High School shows only one other faith-based organization, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
The Kansas City Star reported that students on the third, fourth, and fifth grades in Herndon VA public schools were visited during Ramadan by a “multicultural trainer”, Afeefa Syeed. The children play acted being Muslims. Pupils from a nearby Muslim school will visit classes in the town’s public schools to educate their counterparts in Islam, accompanied by Ms. Syeed.
The Star goes on to explain that during Ramadan, the students were required to “role-play” Islamic traditions, including reciting Quran and imitating the Muslim prayer.
Afeefa Syeed is the founder and director of an Islamic community school in Herndon, VA called the Al-Fatih Academy, which uses as its motto “Opening young minds to great wonders”. She is also director of the Muslim Education Resource Council.
The school website describes Syeed as follows:
“a diversity consultant and multicultural trainer based in Northern Virginia. She has consulted with a range of organizations including public school systems in the DC metro area, Simon & Schuster Children's Book Division, the U.S. State Department, and MTV/Nickelodeon Productions. Afeefa is a member of various interfaith, social service and political action organizations. Her involvement and community activism led her to run for local office in 2003 as the Democratic candidate for the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors from the Potomac District. Afeefa holds a Masters Degree in Applied Anthropology with a focus on Community and Grassroots Development. “
At Salem High School in New Hampshire, the Muslim Students Association held a Ramadan “Fast-A-Thon” wherein they received contributions from classmates and teachers (proceeds went to a local soup kitchen). In a show of support, the teachers skipped lunch as well. In addition, the group held a fast-breaking feast at the public school that day at 4:30 p.m.
The people of the state of Minnesota have funded an Islamic charter school, Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy. During Ramadan, all of the students (including non-Muslims) followed the traditional Muslim fast.
Some classes in California demand children simulate a conversion to Islam, recite the Koran, including this prayer of worship to Allah:
"In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful. Praise be to Allah, Lord of Creation, The Compassionate, the Merciful, King of Judgment day! You alone we worship, and to You alone we pray for help, Guide us to the straight path."
In a letter written to Dr. Daniel Pipes, internationally reknowned expert on militant Islam, a parent from Scottsdale, Arizona wrote of what his seventh grade son had experienced in a unit on Islam.
The school has spent approximately 5 weeks of the third quarter grading period teaching Islam to 12 and 13 year olds. The children had to write a full biography on the life of Muhammad, using the information from the textbook - an extremely indoctrinating exercise. This biography will be a large portion of their grade for the 8 week period. Michael H. Hart's top 100 list of the most influential people in the history of the world was presented to teach that Muhammad was #1, Sir Isaac Newton was #2 and Jesus was #3. The school hosted two professional Muslim speakers, from the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Arizona, to speak to all 7th grade social studies classes. This took one whole day. The Muslim speakers brought prayer rugs and taught the children to pray the Muslim way. I also believe that there were recitations from the Koran and possibly an Islamic "fashion show".
What is most frightening is that this is done with the endorsement of the federal courts. A federal judge, in a case brought by parents, endorsed the right of the school in Byron, CA, to bring in Muslims to “educate” others about Islam in the public schools. The seventh grade students were taught Islamic prayers, and were required to wear Muslim clothing for the lessons and to go without candy for a day to get an idea of what fasting feels like.
The curriculum included 25 Islamic terms that must be memorized, six Islamic (Arabic) phrases, 20 Islamic Proverbs to learn along with the Five Pillars of Faith and 10 key Islamic prophets and disciples to be studied.
World Net Daily reported that U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton said Excelsior is not indoctrinating students about Islam when it requires them to adopt Muslim names and pray to Allah as part of a history and geography class, but rather is just teaching them about the Muslim religion.
The 1995 Education Department guidelines offered the following guidance:
"Public schools may not provide religious instruction, but they may teach about religion, including the Bible or other scripture: the history of religion, comparative religion, the Bible (or other scripture)-as-literature, and the role of religion in the history of the United States and other countries all are permissible public school subjects. Similarly, it is permissible to consider religious influences on art, music, literature, and social studies. Although public schools may teach about religious holidays, including their religious aspects, and may celebrate the secular aspects of holidays, schools may not observe holidays as religious events or promote such observance by students."
Lowell Ponte wrote in an article in FrontPage Magazine, published in December 2003, about an assignment for seventh graders at Royal Oak Intermediate School in Covina, CA, 35 miles east of Los Angeles.
The note read:
ROYAL OAK INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL
World History Mr. Cesene
Dear Parents or Guardian,
As part of the world history curriculum, your student has recently been studying the rise of Islam and the teachings of Mohammed. Fundamental to the Muslim religion are the Five Pillars of Islam. They emphasize the “word of God,” prayer, charity for the poor, fasting and the pilgrimage to Mecca. During the month of Ramadan, Muslims refrain from food or drink during daylight hours.
In an attempt to promote a greater understanding and empathy towards the Muslim religion and toward other culture, I am encouraging students to participate in an extra credit assignment. Students may choose to fast for one, two or three days. During this time, students may only drink water during daylight hours.
Once fasting is completed, students are to type a ½ page summary of their experience. They should describe how it felt to go without food during the day and connect it to the theme of sacrifice. Fasting is inconvenient and sometimes uncomfortable, many religions to consider it an important sacrifice.
I wish to emphasize that this is an EXTRA CREDIT assignment and is by no means mandatory. For those unable to fast, they may choose to type a 2 page paper in which they compare different religions that encourage sacrifice during the year. I give my son or daughter permission to fast for one, two or three days.
Final papers for either project are due by Wed. November 26th.
According to seventh grade history teacher Len Cesene, the assignment was for the students to fast during daylight hours for one, two or three days as Muslims do during Ramadan.
In the article, Ponte posed the question “How would the American Civil Liberties Union respond to a public school teacher giving ‘extra credit’ to Jewish and Muslim students if they accepted Christian baptism?”
Ponte points out that in December 2003, attorneys for the New York City schools directed that public school classrooms may display the crescent-and-star symbol of Islam during Ramadan and the Jewish menorah candlestick at Hanukkah. But these same schools were not allowed to display the Nativity scene depicting the birth of Jesus during the Christmas season.
The rationale was that Islamic and Jewish symbols have historic and secular dimensions, but the “suggestion that a creche is a historically accurate representation of an event with secular significance is wholly disingenuous.”
Can students simply opt out? In most schools, they do not have that option. US President Bill Clinton said:
“Students generally do not have a Federal right to be excused from lessons that may be inconsistent with their religious beliefs or practices.”