At Royal Oak Intermediate
School in Covina, California, students in Len Cesene's seventh grade history
class fasted last week to celebrate the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Mr.
Cesene's 12 and 13-year old students are the latest to become part of a growing
Islamic indoctrination sweeping through America's schools.
Mr. Cesene's letter to parents explained that, "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."
Outraged by the assignment of religious fasting in a public school, the American
Middle-East Christian Association (AMECA) exercised its First Amendment right
to organize a protest outside of Royal Oak Intermediate School. In a press
release, AMECA spokesman Steve Klein emphasized that no Islamic country in
the world has the right of free speech.
But when it comes to religious expression in the public square, there is
an evident double standard. As Klein noted, "America's Christian children
had better not even utter the name Jesus Christ in public schools without
persecution and prosecution by the 'separation of church and state' zealots."
Christian author and radio talk show host Bob Morey organized several hundred
people to participate in the protest. "What would Muslim parents feel if
their students came home with a letter from their public school teacher [saying]
that next Thursday they're bringing in a priest to baptize all the Muslim
children?" Morey asked in the Los Angeles Times.
In the months after September 11, Islamic education became a popular trend
in schools. But today, in many classrooms, students are not merely being
taught about Islam; they are required to become practicing Muslims for days
and even weeks.
In many California schools, middle school students are required to take a
three-week course in which students adopt a Muslim name, wear a robe, learn
the fundamental tenets of Islam, and stage their own Jihad. According to
ASSIST News Service, students must learn to pray "in the name of Allah, the
Compassionate, the Merciful," and they must chant, "Praise to Allah, Lord
of Creation." For nearly a month, young and vulnerable minds are saturated
with a curriculum of Arabic phrases, Koran verses, and proverbs.
Students cannot say "one nation under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, but
they can shout prayers and praises to Allah. The name of Jesus in a public
school -- spoken reverently -- is thought of with greater disdain by politically
correct educators than is the name of Jesus taken in vain. But the name and
life of Mohammed is thoroughly drilled into students' minds.
And teachers are being trained to teach - and preach - Islam.
For the past two years in Connecticut, public school teachers have attended
the Teachers' Institute on Middle Eastern Studies, a weeklong conference
about Islamic religious beliefs and culture sponsored in part by the U.S.
Department of Education. Two members of Congress from Connecticut deplored
the irresponsible use of federal funds for the conference. The Middle East
Forum calls the institute "one-sided and extremist" and notes one seminar
that focuses on "Israel's state-sponsored terrorism." A professor at Central
Connecticut State University calls the presentation "more inflammatory than
Since September 11, the National Education Association has drenched teachers
with a flow of pro-Islamic propaganda. The NEA website includes recommendations
that schools and teachers "invite speakers and show videos on the Arab world
and Islam." In 2002, the NEA released a curriculum guide called "Tolerance
in Times of Trial," encouraging teachers to deliberately disassociate Islam
America is not an Islamic nation, nor should it be. None of the world's Islamic
countries are particularly free or prosperous, and America is.
That doesn't mean that schools should avoid the subject of Islam. It should
be an important part of classes in world history. But Ramadan fasts, robes,
prayers to Allah, and radical conferences for teachers are dangerously unjust.
Our public schools have assaulted the Christian faith time and again, and
the present hyper-glorification of Islam only exacerbates the confusion to
which young students are now subjected. We must decide, with finality, whether
we will be a people reflective of our Christian heritage in ordered liberty,
or whether we will deepen our wounds already inflicted by the poisonous doctrines
of multiculturalism and moral relativism.
While America decides, parents must be vigilant. They must beware of the radical Islamization of their children's schools.
Hans Zeiger is a Seattle Times
columnist and conservative activist. He is president of the Scout Honor Coalition
and a student at Hillsdale College in Michigan.