Friday, July 11, 2008

Islam in Public Schools

Britain’s slow decline continues:
Two schoolboys were given detention after refusing to kneel down and 'pray to Allah' during a religious education lesson.

Parents were outraged that the two boys from year seven (11 to 12-year-olds) were punished for not wanting to take part in the practical demonstration of how Allah is worshipped.

They said forcing their children to take part in the exercise at Alsager High School, near Stoke-on-Trent - which included wearing Muslim headgear - was a breach of their human rights.
But that can’t happen here, right? We have freedom of religion, strict separation of church and state, all that good stuff that makes people afraid to have a voluntary Bible study after school? Wrong:

The United States Supreme Court has declined to hear a case involving the indoctrination of public school children into Islam. The decision came on the First Monday of October, the opening day of the 2006 Supreme Court term.

Not surprisingly, the controversial case comes from a ruling made by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. But what is surprising, is that hardly anyone has heard of the legal battle.

The lawsuit stems from a state mandated course in California public schools that requires seventh grade students to learn about Islam, the teachings of Muhammad, as well as studying scriptures from the Quran.

Though the course is mandated, the Californian Department of Education allows teachers to exercise their own discretion on how the course on Islam is to be

This discretion encouraged one teacher in the Bryon Union School District to adopt a supplementary “Student Guide” that specifically states:

"From the beginning, you and your classmates will become Muslims."

There's lots more about the specific content of the class at the link, or if you Google "byron school islam." To me, it's pretty appalling that this sort of thing goes on in the name of tolerance. Obviously kids should learn in history class about the impact of Islam on world history, and the same goes for Christianity. But requiring them to act out aspects of any religion for course credit takes multiculturalism WAY too far. And yes, I'd feel the same way about a public school class that required students, in class, to pray to Jesus like an evangelical or cross themselves like a Catholic.

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