April 04, 2005

Updates On Islam And Anti-Americanism In US Public Education

by Jerome du Bois

This post touches briefly on five topics: (1) The ongoing Carnivals of Educations' silences (so far) on the privileging of Islam in public schools; (2) Scottsdale School Board updates; (3) where do these textbooks come from?; (4) where is Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, founder of the Phoenix-based American Islamic Forum For Democracy, on this textbook issue?; and (5) West Seattle Marine smear update: cowards still hiding.

The Carnival of Education

Catherine and I have been burned by school administrators, she much more deeply than I, so we tend to avoid anything having to do with teaching. But we will sound the alarm about those who oppose the Western Way, those who would demote us to dhimmis, wherever they are --even in middle and high schools. Students are among those who will create the future, so we come to the defense of their minds against the retrograde drag of any moribund creed, whether it be Islam or Creationism or Marxism or just plain hard-left looniness. That's why we've been posting the education pieces.

Yesterday I checked out all eight editions of the nascent Carnival of Education (all links at the end of Carnival #8. Most of the postings didn't interest me, naturally, except the few about Intelligent Design and evolution. But imagine my surprise to find not a word, not a whisper, about Islam and its associated pushy loudmouths, continually warping every door they manage to pry open. I know that students from Kentucky to California have for years been having to live Ramadan for passing grades, and will do so this year as well. Across The Centuries, a textbook which distorts Islam, has been used in over 1,000 school districts for at least six years. Nobody's got a problem with that? Well--

Catherine advises me not to hold my breath. She says, "It costs a lot to be a teacher. Don't expect any one of them to stand up for America if it means jeopardizing their career."

I believe her, because I know what it cost her to keep her integrity and self-respect in the face of arbitrary power and cronyism. We'll see what future Carnivals of Education bring.

SUSD Travels Back Across The Centuries To The Dark Ages

Apparently the Scottsdale Unified School District Board members, in their meeting March 29, ignored the issue of the persistent privileging of Islam in their "Excelling" schools.

Perhaps they're distracted by a possible construction corruption scandal. During Tuesday's meeting the Board unveiled two new models for old schools, supervised by one William Johnson. The next day the Board announced a special closed meeting to consider Mr. Johnson's future; April 1, in fact. If you examine the meeting's agenda items (see previous link), you see this:

VI. ACTION ITEMS (Possible Board Action Required)

A. Discussion on Job Description for Internal Auditor

B. Discussion on Appointment of Committee Members for the Selection Committee for External Construction Auditor

C. Additional Discussion on Arizona School Boards Association (ASBA) Delegate Assembly Proposals

D. Delegation of Authority to a Hearing Officer to Hear Appeals to the Governing Board Concerning Bid Protests

E. Selection of an Attorney to Represent the Governing Board With Respect to the Bid Protest Filed by Chess Education Association.

Internal and external auditors, hearing officers, bid protests, and an attorney. Sounds delightful, except for Mr. William Johnson.

As of April 4, no news about Mr. Johnson's fate. With $217 million in the balance, maybe the little matter of the standards of truth, and separation of state and religion, inside those new facilities, can damn well wait.

But no, they can't. So far as we know, nobody --not even FISH, whose email to Daniel Pipes first brought this taqiyya to my attention-- nobody is stepping forth to object to the reinstallment of a seventh-grade textbook which distorts history, especially Muslim history. This has happened, even though Across The Centuries has become barnacled with criticism since its first publication. I know SUSD is using this book for a fact, because on March 6th the Epshteyns from Solomania, who wrote to SUSD on the issue of History Alive! another egregious text, received the following reply from SUSD Board President Christine Schild:

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Epshteyn,

Thank you for sharing your concerns with the Governing Board.

According to the District's social studies curriculum specialist, the District never adopted History Alive as its official text.

Although some parent groups acquired some or all of the textbooks published by TCI to provide supplementary materials at some of our middle schools, the District adopted Across the Centuries (Houghton Mifflin) in 1999 as its primary social studies text.

Best wishes,

Christine Schild

Scottsdale USD Governing Board President

So there you go. I won't rehash the chapter and verse about this book, just one quote from Serge Trifkovic:

Troubling and controversial statements start with the very first page of Lesson 1 (“Muhammad and Islam”). The first verses of the Qur’an, we are told, “were revealed” to Muhammad in AD 610, and the initial revelation came from “a being he later identified as the angel Gabriel.” Such straightforward, quasi-factual statements concerning unprovable tenets of the Muslim faith would befit a textbook used in a Pakistani medressa, but not one used in an American public school. Likewise, on p. 59 we are told as fact that the God Muhammad believed in—Allah—“is the same God of other monotheistic religions, Judaism and Christianity.” This assertion, which most theologians and philosophers of religion would consider hugely controversial at best, is made in the form of a matter-of-fact statement that does not allow for ambiguity or doubt.

I don't even believe in God, and I find that offensive.

Who pushes these books?

By the way, you ask, where do these textbooks emerge from? I didn't even have to do much digging to bring up two names for your perusal:

First, Susan L. Douglass. Let Paul Sperry of WorldNetDaily, writing May 3, 2004, introduce her:

A top textbook consultant shaping classroom education on Islam in American public schools recently worked for a school funded and controlled by the Saudi government, which propagates a rigidly anti-Western strain of Islam, a WorldNetDaily investigation reveals.

The consultant, Susan L. Douglass, has also praised Pakistan's madrassa schools as "proud symbols of learning," even after the U.S. government blamed them for fueling the rise of the Taliban and al-Qaida.

Douglass, routinely described as a "scholar" or "historian," has edited manuscripts of world history textbooks used by middle and high school students across the country. She's also advised state education boards on curriculum standards dealing with world religion, and has helped train thousands of public school teachers on Islamic instruction.

In effect, she is responsible for teaching millions of American children about Islam, experts say, while operating in relative obscurity.

WorldNetDaily has learned that up until last year Douglass taught social studies at the Islamic Saudi Academy in Alexandria, Va., which teaches Wahhabism through textbooks that condemn Jews and Christians as infidels and enemies of Islam. Her husband, Usama Amer, still teaches at the grades 2-12 school, a spokeswoman there confirmed. Both are practicing Muslims.

Notice how she keeps her American moniker. It's cover.

Second, behold Abdurahman Alamoudi, who seemed to sail around Washington DC on a magic carpet. On January 14, 2004, Max Vernon of Newsmax wrote:

Abdurahman Alamoudi, an alleged senior terrorist operative, is behind bars on an 18-count indictment. But he can take satisfaction in the fact that a court in California has just given the green light to schools following ACLU’s religion-in-the-classroom guidelines, which he helped to formulate.

A federal judge judge has now upheld the constitutionality of an intensive three-week course in California government schools that requires children to choose a Muslim name, wear Islamic garb, memorize verses from the Koraan, pray to Allah, play “jihad games, and simulate worship activities related to the Five Pillars of Islam.”

Earlier, on December 1, 2003, Robert Spencer on JihadWatch posted this excerpt from a Washington Post story published the day before:

"Perhaps no other arrest since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks has so shaken the U.S. Muslim community or so reverberated through Washington's political elite. Alamoudi is no youthful jihadi, no dirty-bomb conspirator. He is a well-heeled advocate who had represented American Muslims in White House meetings. He had helped found the Pentagon's Muslim chaplain program. He also was a pillar of the local Muslim community, generously donating to charitable events and running a free health clinic in Falls Church.

"In nearly two dozen interviews, Alamoudi's friends, his former colleagues and U.S. officials depict him as a man savvy enough to enjoy great success working the U.S. political system but too naive or stubborn to abide by American financial practices.

"U.S. officials suspect him of more sinister intentions. They said Alamoudi cultivated a moderate image that masks support for a radical agenda he long privately espoused. They point to his contacts with people the United States has designated terrorist sponsors, a statement of support for a 1994 terrorist attack and his association with groups suspected of funneling money to terrorists. They also question the destination of millions of dollars that passed through his personal bank accounts. . . ."

[Sounds like he'd fit right in at the Scottsdale Unified School District, actually.]

They write the books that make the kids bang heads. They serve the ones who want to make us dead.

Where Is Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser On This Textbook Issue?

Phoenix physician M. Zuhdi Jasser projects in his writings a pro-American, militantly confrontational attitude toward Islamofascism. He is a former Navy Lieutenant Commander and currently a specialist in internal medicine. He founded the American Islamic Forum For Democracy, and is he best known, so far, for organizing the still one-and-only Moderate Muslim March Against Terrorism, last year in Phoenix, which had a pitiful turnout and has not been repeated since, anywhere in America. Still, he tries, it seems.

But he pisses me off. On March 15, he wrote in approval of Karen Hughes as a top public diplomat. I agree, but then he writes this:

As a proud American Muslim working feverishly for Muslim reform and against the theocrats, I have always wondered how it is that our nation, which has the world's most skilled campaigners and communicators could not mount a more concerted and effective effort to counter the radical propaganda of freedom-hating Islamist militants.

From the secular Arab despots to the militant Islamists who lead with hate, America has allowed the Islamic world to swallow the Jihadist propaganda of Al Jazeera and its ilk with hardly a concerted rebuttal.

Excuse me. Allowed? I guess it was yet another one of our jobs, another unspoken obligation, even though every time we tried to help some poor country some clowns started screaming hegemony! imperialism! America wants to rule the world! Remember those days, doctor? or was that before your time? No, wait, it's still happening, idnit?

The people of the Islamic world, used to swallowing all kinds of things, need to take responsibility for their own minds and actions --just as rational human has had to do since we knew enough to recognize one another as persons, and as the Iranians and Lebanese are just now beginning to do. As for "concerted rebuttal," he dispenses with a phrase dozens of organizations and individuals worldwide, including Americans, from ADL to MEMRI to Jeff Jarvis, from the Kurdish resistance to bloodied Iranian students to all the Middle Eastern bloggers, both in prison and out, who have been fighting the good fight for over twenty years now. They weren't waiting for America, though they often had the help and support of Americans, and they don't need to be "concerted." This is the network age.

At the end of his Karen Hughes piece, he makes an astounding statement:

For those of us who enjoy and cherish the freedoms of America as Muslims, we know that there is nothing more Islamic than American democracy.

American democracy is not only compatible with Islam, they are nearly identical, according to this man.

Riiight. So when we hold up the USA next to Islamic societies, we see similar pictures? Where? Turkey? Doctor . . . your eyes need work.

Or not. Two months after 9/11, according to the Jewish News of Greater Phoenix:

Zuhdi Jasser explains the importance of using precise vocabulary. He says that even though the alleged perpetrators of the attacks describe themselves as Muslim, "the fact that (the term 'Muslim') is being used at all dignifies fanatical, psychopathic people by using the adjective they (chose) to use."

"Why not call them 'plain old criminals'?" he asks.

Their reward is for "other people to accept what they falsely pretend they are," adds Mohamed Jasser. "Do not grant them their wish. Do not reward them for their crime."

I am taking Mohamed Jasser's advice about false pretenses. These days, Dr. Zuhdi Jasser does acknowledge that the 9/11 terrorists were Islamist fanatics. But let's not leave that earlier story behind just yet.

The story concerns a Muslim-Jewish group, 12 of each, male and female, who had been meeting regularly since the summer of 1999, in the spirit of understanding. No politics were mentioned. They met in homes mostly, but once they met in a synagogue on Yom Kippur, the holiest Jewish holiday, where the Muslims made a presentation and a good time was had by all.

Later in the article, we read this:

Though they originally met at Temple Kol Ami, they do not have immediate plans to visit or meet at a mosque.

"Unfortunately, I can do that only when I have a mosque in the area that I can turn to the group and say, 'that (mosque) comes close to what I believe a mosque should be,' " explains Mohamed Jasser.

Zuhdi Jasser is concerned about the content of the sermons in the mosques. He says too many are "political," and they should instead focus on the values and religious teachings found in the Koran.

Ahmad agrees. "Sermons should stay within the teachings of Islam, not political agendas, and include lessons about improving our behaviors."

Zuhdi Jasser says he is hesitant to get the leader of a mosque --the imam-- involved in the dialogue group. He explains by saying that Islam by nature should be non-hierarchical; anyone can lead worship or classes. He fears an imam would attempt to take a leadership role in the dialogue group they have fostered.

"I believe it is inappropriate for this type of group . . . to get the leadership of a mosque involved and running it, when in fact that's not what this group is all about. This is a grassroots community group," says Jasser.

Sounds like the good doctor knows his people well. That was November 2001. I doubt it has changed much. Freedom House just published in January 2005 a disheartening report about radical Saudi Wahhabist books and articles in a dozen sampled mosques nationwide. It's been going on for years. (The AIFD website calls attention to this report.)

Reading Dr. Jasser's pieces in pluggedin, and on the AIFD website, I see the word "pluralism" a lot, and some obvious condemnation --Hamas, Hezbollah, UBL. A lot of easy targets. Sometimes I find it niggling. On September 16, 2003, he posted:

Does anyone else find a glaring inconsistency in stories like the one Monday about the "traveler who was duct taped by passengers" after he was noisily reading from the Bible during a flight out of Los Angeles? If this were a "Muslim" reading from the Koran, I would hazard to guess that the word "Islam" and "Muslim" would have made its way into the news stories about this a few times. The words "Christianity" or "Christian" appeared zero times. I guess sensitivities about how it might offend other, more normal, Christians prevailed.

Does anyone else think this is picking gnat shit out of pepper? Nobody knew if the guy was "Christian," and these days, what does that even mean? Some Christians don't consider other Christians Christian, after all.

But I myself run the risk of my distasteful metaphor. Let's get serious. Dr. Jasser has said nothing about Amina Wadud, a Viriginia Commonwealth University professor of Islamic Studies who must now broadcast her classes by video, since she led a mixed-gender prayer service in a mosque, as a de facto imam, and began receiving threats. That was announced April 2. Jasser says nothing about the visit of King Abdullah of Jordan to Washington DC (or his UN reps to East Timor, complete with pedophiles) --a man who presides over an abbatoir of dismemberment, sodomy, multi-generational tribal darkness.

More prosaically and locally, he hasn't said a thing about the Islamic distortions in two social-studies textbooks right in the middle of his bailiwick. I'll email him, and see what I can find out.

While A Marine Takes A Stand, West Seattle High 'Students Take A Stand' Stay in Hiding, Along With The Adults

The latest news about the West Seattle High School anti-American skit, witnessed via ambush by Marine Major Terry Thomas, is posted by Stefan Sharkansky at the Stranger, March 31st:

. . . The fact that faculty guided the prejudiced production reflects a dysfunction in the school's management and work ethic. It's wholly inappropriate for public school teachers to indoctrinate their captive and impressionable audience with their personal ideological agendas.

Now school officials are bumbling to explain what happened and to apologize to the veterans and to the public at large.

Thomas obtained a meeting with and a personal apology from School Board President Brita Butler-Wall, but the board has yet to take public action.

Thanks to Thomas' letter, West Seattle High School Principal Susan Dersé also issued a letter to the school's families in which she explained the event, acknowledging that faculty advisors and administrators were in charge.

Of course it's appropriate for high schools to discuss controversial topics, such as the war in Iraq. But Dersé's letter appears to be a lot of words without much follow-up. The letter indicated that she is "continuing to work with those students and their advisors in understanding this sensitive issue" and that "our school … honor[s] and celebrate[s] our veterans every year and in many ways." When I asked Dersé exactly how she's following up with the students and advisors and how the school celebrates veterans, her only response was that I had permission to quote from her letter. Nor was I allowed to speak with any staff members involved in the event. I wanted to ask them whether they're also teaching the students that Americans freed and healed Saddam's political prisoners, saved Kurds and other minorities from ethnic cleansing, and initiated the first-ever real elections in that part of the world. After all, most parents who send their kids to public school expect the teachers to expose the students to a realistic balance of facts, not just force-feed a diet of bogus anti-military propaganda.

He was not allowed to speak to the staff members involved.

So let's hold up role models. On the right, the Major, stepping up and investigating the incident. On the left, how many? --two dozen?-- reasoning human beings, students, teachers, administrators, all afraid to stand up for something they purportedly believe strongly. I find the lack of depth of their convictions disturbing, and every one of them a bad example for anyone of any age. Jeebus: who are you people? This is the real world, not your psychodrama stage. The rest of us are not here so you can work out your twisted agenda on us. Get with the solution, or stay in your holes.

Posted by Jerome at April 4, 2005 07:50 AM | TrackBack