Tag Archives: Virginia

Christians want Feds to close Islamic school

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I have posted here many times showing the hypocrisy of the religious right when it comes to religious liberty. Time and time again they want our government to provide special rights to their Christian religion but when it comes to liberty for all religions and the non-religious, they throw a hissy fit.

On October 18th, news outlets reported a federal panel wanted to see an Islamic school in Virginia, funded by the government of Saudi Arabia, to be closed because of reports of a textbook used at the school encouraged religious intolerance.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom singled out the Saudi-supported Islamic Saudi Academy (ISA) in Northern Virginia in a broader report that accused Saudi Arabia of promoting Muslim extremism and religious intolerance six years after the Sept. 11 attacks. The panel, created by Congress and authorized only to make recommendations, voiced concern about what the private school was teaching.

The commission report did not make specific criticisms of the school’s curriculum. Commission deputy director Tad Stahnke said the panel wrote to Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir, who is chairman of the academy’s board of directors, asking to see the school’s textbooks but got no answer. Stahnke said the commission did not try to contact ISA staff.

Commissioner Richard Land, head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said he knew enough about ISA’s textbooks to be “very disturbed that this is going on within eyesight of the capital.”

The report relies heavily on a 2006 analysis of Saudi textbooks that found inflammatory passages against Christians, Jews and Shiite Muslims. One example for ninth-graders said that the hour of judgment “will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them.”

Federal panel wants to shut Islamic school in Va.

Noticed how no one having an issue with the textbooks has actually seen one. I saw on CNN where a reporter got a student to give him one but since it was written in Arabic and they would need to have it translated.

Regardless if the claims are true, I need to point out that the school is a private school. Private school curriculum normally isn’t subject to oversight by the federal government and I have never heard of a school being closed because of what is being taught. As long as students are making progress according to state education standards then it is basically hands off.

Then there is the fact that the concern is religiously based:

A review of a sample of official Saudi textbooks for Islamic studies used during the current academic year (2006) reveals that, despite the Saudi government’s statements to the contrary, an ideology of hatred toward Christians and Jews and Muslims who do not follow Wahhabi doctrine remains in this area of the public school system. The texts teach a dualistic vision, dividing the world into true believers of Islam (the “monotheists”) and unbelievers (the “polytheists” and “infidels”).

Saudi Arabia also distributes its religion texts worldwide to numerous Islamic schools and madrassas that it does not directly operate. Undeterred by Wahhabism’s historically fringe status, Saudi Arabia is trying to assert itself as the world’s authoritative voice on Islam — a sort of “Vatican” for Islam, as several Saudi officials have stated– and these textbooks are integral to this effort. As the report of the commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks observed, “Even in affluent countries, Saudi-funded Wahhabi schools are often the only Islamic schools” available.

This is a Saudi textbook. (After the intolerance was removed.)

Here is an example (translated from a book):

FIRST GRADE

” Every religion other than Islam is false.”

“Fill in the blanks with the appropriate words (Islam, hellfire): Every religion other than ______________ is false. Whoever dies outside of Islam enters ____________.”

The example was correct as of 2006 so it is probable the books used at the Islamic Saudi Academy might contain the same type of religious indoctrination.

If the people concerned about the school get the federal government to close it, then I want to see them close Christian schools that teach condoms don’t work, evolution is false, abortion is murder, and man lived with the dinosaurs.

Crap would hit the fan then wouldn’t it?

I say if the federal government isn’t going to close a Christian school for teaching lies about science then they need to leave the Islamic Saudi Academy alone.

Some teachers in one Virginia school district reject church state separation

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Conservative Internet news site WorldNetDaily posted a story yesterday about some teachers in Albemarle School District in Virginia, who are refusing orders from the administration to pass out adverts for the children’s summer camp called Camp Quest. The camp is the first summer camp that caters to atheists, humanists, and freethinkers.

I remember when I was in school, getting flyers for different community groups like the Boy Scouts, advertising their events or asking you to join or what have you. Of course when I was in grade school, the Gideons came to class and passed out New Testaments to all of us.

Basically what the incident in Virginia tells us is some Christians want special treatment for themselves and not for any non-Christians.

The teachers’ representative told WND several teachers simply didn’t hand out the latest promotion, and of course now fear retaliation if their supervisors find out.

The representative said the teachers were “disgusted” with the latest addition to the pile of information that they call the “backpack express.”

That encompasses the community-related handouts that are sent home with students, and typically involve “pretty tame” programs such as community events and scouting programs.

“They do put a disclaimer there, that the school doesn’t’ support it,” the representative said. “But we are expected to send this stuff home in childrens’ backpacks. It’s still coming from me and my classroom.”

“I took a stand and did not send it home,” the representative said. “Other teachers did the same thing.”

The school disclaimer says: “The Albemarle County Public Schools neither endorses nor sponsors the organization or activity represented in this material. The distribution or display of this material is provided as a community service and is not printed at taxpayers’ expense.”

The teachers’ representative said it might work for the students to pick up such ads on their way out of the building, but students and parents perceive that information provided in the teacher’s classroom comes from that teacher.

“I think what frightens me the most ? who knows what’s next,” the representative said. “I thought this was pretty offensive and pretty outrageous.”

Teachers rebel over atheism promotion

One key sentence stood out for me in the article:

The court concluded that could not be allowed, but its decision didn’t address the religious rights of employees ordered to distribute material they consider objectionable.

The WorldNetDaily has it all wrong. Teachers don’t have a “right” to decide not to hand out something “they” find objectionable. Teachers, as well as administrators, are considered agents of the state (through compulsory education attendance laws and previous court cases) and any action they take is seen as an act of the state. If a teacher is so offended by what they are asked to do as part of their contracted job and duty as an agent of the state, then maybe they don’t need to work in a public school. There are plenty of sectarian private schools that might make them feel better.

Of course teachers weren’t offended or outraged back 2006 when two students at Hollymead Elementary School, sought permission to distribute fliers about their church’s Vacation Bible School to their peers via “backpack mail.”

Their request was turned down because the district had a rule against distributing material that was for partisan, sectarian, religious or political purposes.

Seems reasonable.

Well the parents of the students got the Liberty Counsel involved. It is a religious right legal group supported at the time by Rev. Jerry Fawell. After that group got involved the district changed their policy and allowed the Bible school flyer.

That led to a flyer for a Holiday event put on by a Unitarian congregation that promoted a look at the Pagan roots of holidays. The UU church wanted equal time and thanks to the Liberty Counsel, they got it.

The WorldNetDaily article on the Pagan flyer (there is a link to that article in the article about the Camp Quest flyer) fails to mention that the flyer was sent home with students because Fawell and his Liberty Counsel opened the door to get their Bible school flyer sent home.

For further reading:
Backpack Blowback: Religious Right Activists Want Preferential Treatment From Public School Forum They Created

*Note* Thanks to a tip I was able to include the information on this issue from the American’s United blog that makes clear that WorldNetDaily and the so-called rebellious teachers are misleading people about this issue.