The Christian Science Monitor did its bit Friday for the left’s propaganda barrage, reminding us all that America is a benighted, sinister land full of racism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia, such that only Old Joe and his henchmen can save us. The Monitor painted a picture of an innocent World Cultures and Geography class in a New Jersey public school teaching about Islam and getting accused by racist redneck yahoos of proselytizing for Islam. As far as the Monitor is concerned, it’s a story of evil Trump followers hating the sainted Other; in reality, however, it reveals how Islamic indoctrination is becoming increasingly common and accepted in public schools.
At Chatham Middle School in New Jersey, students were shown “a five-minute video introduction to Islam that included statements like ‘Allah is the one God,’ The Quran is a ‘Perfect guide for Humanity,’ and ‘May God help us all find the true faith, Islam.’” Now just imagine what would have happened if a public school had been found to be teaching that “Jesus is the Son of God,” “the Bible is a perfect guide for humanity,” and “May God help us all find the true faith, Christianity.” But when it comes to the left’s favored religion, it’s a different situation altogether.
In January 2017, the Monitor notes, a parent, Libby Hilsenrath, “was reviewing her son’s schoolwork when she learned about the Islam-related unit.” When she saw this flagrant proselytizing, she “complained to the school district and [by now you can be sure that the Christian Science Monitor writer was literally shaking] appeared on Fox News to discuss her concerns.”
The result? Death threats, of course, fitting nicely into the left’s propaganda narrative of violent right-wingers menacing doe-eyed, peaceful, daisy-picking leftists. According to another parent, Melissa Cavallo, “the threats were serious enough to have police at the middle school and the district administration building.”
True to form for a leftist propaganda organ, the Monitor doesn’t consider the question of whether the Chatham Middle School material did actually proselytize for Islam and thus had no business in a public school. Instead, its story is all about the hatred, racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia supposedly displayed by those who raised concerns, and how important it is for children to learn about diversity – especially “those living in homogenous areas.”
Actually, the commitment to reject homogeneity and embrace “multiculturalism” that has now taken over K-12 education in America has been a godsend for Muslims anxious to use schools and textbooks to proselytize for Islam. Worried about appearing insufficiently “tolerant” and “inclusive,” too many public schools and individual teachers have succumbed to an organized campaign by U.S.-based Islamic organizations and their primary benefactor, Saudi Arabia, to present a view of Islam that whitewashes its violent history and intolerant doctrines.
Many of the Islamic groups that are now allowed to evaluate American public school textbooks for their presentation on Islamic doctrine and history are Saudi-funded. They make sure that the Islamic instruction in these textbooks presents a picture of Islam that is so pristine and whitewashed that it sometimes crosses the boundary from mere pro-Muslim bias into outright Islamic proselytizing.
The taboo about teaching religion in the public schools, so zealously established and so well policed in strictures against Christian prayer by the ACLU and the Supreme Court over the last few decades, is now increasingly set aside in American public schools, where presentations on Islam frequently cross the line between teaching facts about the religion and teaching the religion as fact.
In May 2018, a Mountain Ridge Middle School in Gerrardstown, W.V., instructed students to copy out the Islamic profession of faith (shahada) under the guise of using it as a calligraphy exercise. Parent Rich Penkoski recounted: “I saw the assignment of writing the Shahada in Arabic. Their excuse was calligraphy. I was like, ‘Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!’ First of all, calligraphy was invented in China 3,000 years prior to Muhammad. The fact that they were trying to get my daughter to write that disturbed me. I said, ‘That is not happening. My daughter is not doing that.’ My daughter told me that if she didn’t do the assignment, then she was going to get a [detention] slip.”
Mountain Ridge Principal Ron Branch contradicted Penkoski, claiming that Christianity and Judaism were given “equitable treatment” in the same class. Penkoski’s daughter Brielle, however, said that the class spent much less time on Christianity and Judaism than it did on Islam. Penkoski pointed out that the accompanying exercises were also less extensive for Christianity and Judaism than they were for Islam: “Notice no Bible verses, no reciting the Ten Commandments or the Lord’s Prayer. [There’s] no practicing writing in Hebrew as compared to the Islamic packet.”
Meanwhile, high school students in Newton, Mass., in October 2017, according to Fox News, “pretended to be Muslims in the ‘Islamic’ city of Jerusalem as part of a class assignment.” The assignment also included a pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel article. Judicial Watch Senior Investigator Bill Marshall remarked: “Citizens of Newton have been waging a minor war with school officials for years now, trying to get them to use balanced curriculum in their teaching materials on the subject of Islam and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” Dr. Bill Saxton, chairman of Citizens for National Security, said that the assignment was a “purposeful attempt to indoctrinate our impressionable high-schoolers with the ‘virtues’ of Islam at the expense of Christianity, Judaism and other religions.”
There are innumerable other examples of this from all over the country. It should come as no surprise that encroachments of Islam in our public schools have been constant and growing under the reign of multiculturalism, which insists on respect for every culture except one’s own. The embarrassment, regret, and even self-hatred mandated by multiculturalism in American public school students for decades now have created a vacuum, which Muslims have shown themselves to be all too eager to fill. Certainly those who are furthering the Islamization of the schools would deny that they would like to see Islamic law implemented in the United States, and would indignantly reject the claim that their efforts were furthering that end in any way. They would say that they are doing it all for tolerance, pluralism, and multiculturalism.
Unfortunately, in the end, both lead straight to the authoritarianism that the left is so eagerly embracing today.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 21 books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is Rating America’s Presidents: An America-First Look at Who Is Best, Who Is Overrated, and Who Was An Absolute Disaster. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.