There was plenty of drama at the Homeland Security Committee hearing earlier this month with Rep. Keith Ellison's (D-Minn.) tearful testimony leading media coverage. Ellison, the first Muslim-American to be elected to Congress, was among those Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) invited to testify at the March 10 hearing to investigate possible terrorist recruitment within the American Muslim community. Ellison complained to the committee that the proceeding was "the very heart of scapegoating."
Nevertheless, committee chairman King has declared that the hearings will continue. The committee will investigate radicalization of Muslim Americans in U.S. prisons, strategies of al-Qaeda and other organizations to recruit Americans, and how the Department of Homeland Security plans to address the "increasing radicalization of individuals within the United States," reported Yahoo News.
King's committee should also investigate the Islamist indoctrination taking place in America's schools.
The fact is, government schools have been using textbooks that glorify Islam and denigrate Christianity for some time. Such materials give children a favorable view of Islam and a negative view of Christianity and the Judeo-Christian heritage.
In June 2008, after two years of painstaking study, the American Textbook Council (founded in 1989 as an independent national research organization) released a 48-page report entitled "Islam in the Classroom: What the Textbooks Tell Us." The report summarized the Council's detailed evaluation of the major history and social science texts in use in government schools in 2006.
Of particular significance is the portion of the Council's report regarding seventh-grade world history textbooks, since many seventh-grade curricula, following the lead of California schools, now require students to receive instruction and engage in activities to learn about Islamic history, culture, the Qur'an, and the religious practices of Muslims.
The report notes that "textbooks reviewed avoid all conflict and bloodshed in describing Islam's push out of Arabia and rapid conquest of most of the Mediterranean world. They fail to explain how Islam spread in the seventh and eighth centuries. Islam appears out of nowhere, spreads smoothly and by implication without conflict. Once it was common to say that Islam was spread by the sword. Now, textbooks implied, it moved peacefully, with traders. Islam is brought to apparently willing populations."
It was the Clinton administration that opened the door to teaching about the history and religious practices of Muslims. In 1995, President Bill Clinton directed his Secretary of Education, Richard W. Riley, to prepare guidelines for religious expression and activities in America's schools. The guidelines, set forth in "Religious Expression in Public Schools," declared that government schools may not provide religious instruction as such, but they may "teach about religion." The kicker, however, as ACT! for America has reported, was the additional statement that "...students generally do not have a Federal right to be excused from lessons that may be inconsistent with their religious beliefs or practices" [emphasis added].
Thus, parents who may object to their children being compelled to assume a Muslim name and recite prayers to Allah as part of their "learning activities" have no recourse and may not withdraw their children from these activities.
One highly publicized case was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2006, but the Court rejected the appeal "without comment" and let stand the ruling by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco in favor of the school district.
The suit brought by Christian students and their parents challenged the content of a seventh-grade history course at Excelsior Middle School in Byron, California, in the fall of 2001. The teacher was supposedly following an instructional guide when she told students they would pretend to be Muslims for three weeks in order to learn what Muslims believe. According to news reports, during this time they were required to wear Muslim dress, memorize verses from the Qur'an, pray to Allah, simulate Ramadan by fasting, use the phrase "Allah Akbar" (Allah is great), and play "jihad games."
The federal judge in the Ninth Circuit ruled that such activities constitute teaching "about religion" and declared the program devoid of "any devotional or religious intent," and therefore educational, not religious in nature.
Stories of similar cases rarely get reported. But one writer, Cinnamon Stillwell, shared a number of examples of Islamist influence in schools in a 2008 opinion article in The San Francisco Chronicle. In "Islam in America's Public Schools: Education or Indoctrination?" Stillwell writes: "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."
What can parents do? The first step is to find out what's happening in your child's school. Take a look at the textbooks for history, geography and/or social studies. Gateways to Better Education has an excellent article, "How to Evaluate Your Child's Textbooks," that will help you identify the assumptions, biases, and opinions disguised as facts that result in unbalanced and slanted textbooks. Find out if your child's textbooks are presenting a "politically correct" view of Islam while denigrating Christianity and the Judeo-Christian heritage.
Equip yourself with the facts of what's happening in your children's school and classrooms and then speak to the appropriate teacher and the school principal. You'll find additional pointers on how to do so at the Gateways to Better Education website.
As parents and concerned citizens, we cannot sit idly by. As Stillwell writes: "Probably the single greatest weapon in the arsenal of those trying to fight the misuse of America's public schools is community involvement." Over 80 percent of Christian parents send their children to government-controlled schools. If even 20 percent of these parents took an active role in the fight against indoctrination in the public schools, substantial improvements would be made.
Are you willing to be a part of that 20 percent?