Sunday, May 22, 2005

Islam In The Public Schools...The First Two Pillars of Islam

I was reading Cao's piece over on Stop The ACLU the other day, entitled, "Jailed Terrorist Helps Draft Anti-Christian Rules", and I thought it was pretty interesting--so I thought I would dig up just exactly what what was going on in the Byron Union School District vis-a-vis the muslim religion. In case you don't know, the case involved a parent's objections to the methods used in the teaching of Islam to seventh graders in the public schools in California, particularly in the Excelsior School of the Byron Union School District. Judge Hamilton, a notoriously activist judge, granted summary judgment to the school district.

Here are some of the facts of the Eklund v. Byron Union School District case, according to the court, not according to any of the interested parties (you can have our own view of whether the court was actually an "interested" party--I'm just saying these aren't the facts according to the ACLU or the Plaintiffs--they are the uncontested facts the judge used in granting the School District's motion for summary judgment). The italicized portions below are directly from Judge Hamilton's opinion:

"The California State Board of Education requires that seventh grade world history classes contain a unit on Islamic history, culture, and religion (citations omitted)...The state has approved a standard textbook, Across the Centuries, which is used by the Byron School District, but Excelsior teachers are also encouraged to use other instructional methods that they in their professional judgment feel best serve their students.

"Accordingly, some teachers have chosen to supplement the Islam unit with portions of an interactive educational module. This module...suggests a variety of role-playing activities to engage students in the subject matter. The module is premised on having students role-play situations roughly equivalent to the five elements of faith in the Muslim religion."

Note--Although the Plaintiffs in this case challenged only the "interactive educational module," the Across the Centuries textbook is currently the subject of an Administrative Complaint against the San Luis Coastal School District--Plaintiff in that case asserts that even the textbook violates the First Amendment, inasmuch as it contains unqualified statements "of fact," such as:

"The Arabic word Quran can be loosely translated as 'recitation." In fact, the very first word the angel Gabriel spoke to Muhammad was "Recite."

"Ramadan is a holy time, because in this month Muhammad received his first message from Allah."

"From Jerusalem, both Muhammad and Gabriel ascended into heaven, where Muhammad spoke to God." (new paragraph) "These revelations confirmed both Muhammad's belief in one God, or monotheism, and his role as the last messenger in a long line of prophets sent by God. The God he believed in - Allah - is the same God of other monotheistic religions, Judaism and Christianity."

Back to the court: "The Student Guide (distributed by the teacher, Carlin, to the students) states that '[f]rom the beginning [of this module], you and your classmates will become Muslims.' Id. Carlin states that she went over the guide in great detail and specifically emphasized...that the students would not actually become Muslims through their participation...(brackets in original).

"Students...were also encouraged, but not required, to choose a Muslim name....

"For the first two pillars of Islam, Carlin admits that, in the classroom, she read Muslim prayers and portions of the Qu'ran aloud in class, required student groups to recite a line from a Muslim prayer, such as 'In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful,' on their way out of class, and had the students make group banners."

Hmmm...I wonder if a teacher recited the Lord's prayer in class and required the students to say a line or two of it on their way out the door, the court would find that unobjectionable...or if "role-playing" Baptism and Communion would pass muster. There's more, that's just some of the facts of the case through page 4 of the 22-page opinion, and I want to get to the rest of it (and I will), but I'm going to post this for now, just to get a sense of what people think of the actual facts of the case...I will continue with "Pillars" 3-5 later this evening.

"Stop The ACLU" Blogbursters

Your Political Profile

Overall: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal
Social Issues: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal
Personal Responsibility: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal
Fiscal Issues: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal
Ethics: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal
Defense and Crime: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal
How Liberal / Conservative Are You?