Thursday, June 12, 2008

Common Sense Breaks Through in Orlando

Radical Islam has become adept at using the language of multicultural inclusiveness to proselytize surreptitiously in schools and other public institutions.

Muslims are invited into schools, supposedly to provide information about Islamic culture, and then — surprise! — they preach to the children and attempt to spread their religion.

In schools where even the faintest whiff of Christianity is forbidden, in which wearing a cross can get a student suspended, and where the word “Christmas” is never used to designate the winter school break, Muslim outreach volunteers encourage students to create halal meals, try on the hijab, copy out verses from the Koran, and practice fasting during Ramadan.

One such incident occurred back in April in Seminole County, Florida. It might have passed unnoticed in Ann Arbor or Palm Springs, but not in Florida Cracker country. Here’s a report from the local TV station WFTV shortly after the incident occurred:

Some high school students in a Seminole County public school got a lesson in Islam. Outraged parents at Lake Brantley High School called Channel 9 after an Islamic group visited the classroom.

Parents say the discussion violated the separation of church and state, because, they said, the discussion touched on specific elements of Islam and the Koran. Students in one particular class at Lake Brantley High School didn’t have a choice about whether they wanted to be involved.

It was just the second day of a new class at Lake Brantley High School called “Family Dynamics,” but students said guest speakers were there to talk about something else.

“She said, ‘Mom, three Muslim ladies came in and talked about Islam today in school,’“ said parent Lisa Wagner.
- - - - - - - - -
Wagner’s daughter was one of about 35 in the class who heard from the Academy for Learning Islam. The school district said it invited the group to talk about cultural diversity, but the conversation went beyond that.

“I just felt like it shouldn’t have been available in the classroom at all. Religion should be separate from school,” Wagner said.

“Would three nuns be allowed to come into a classroom and talk about Jesus and the Bible?” WFTV reporter Eric Rasmussen asked Regina Klaers with Seminole County Public Schools on Thursday.

“If those three nuns came in to talk about how their religion has affected history, yes,” she said.

However, district officials admit the in-class discussion at Lake Brantley may have crossed the line. The leader of the Muslim group showed Eyewitness News the presentation students were supposed to see and said his volunteers knew they weren’t supposed to talk about religion.

Now that the wheels of bureaucracy have finished grinding, the Islamic group responsible for the “cultural education” has been banned from Seminole County schools. According to yesterday’s Orlando Sentinel:

Islamic group banned after visit to Seminole classroom prompts complaints

An Islamic group has been banned from visiting classrooms in Seminole County schools after officials said it crossed the line between telling students about the Muslim culture and pushing its religion.

The flap over the Academy for Learning Islam’s visit to Lake Brantley High School also has caused the school system to re-evaluate who it lets into county classrooms to present educational programs and what they can talk about. By fall, teachers will have stricter guidelines.

Speakers on religion, drugs, alcohol and nearly 50 other touchy topics will get closer scrutiny before they can speak on campuses, Superintendent Bill Vogel said.

“We got complaints that their presentation moved from cultural diversity to a religious focus,” Vogel said.


In addition to the Lake Brantley High visit, the Sanford-based academy also presented programs at Crooms Academy, Sanford Middle, Seminole High, Wicklow Elementary and Wekiva Elementary this past school year, officials said.

They received no complaints about those presentations by the group that says one of its goals is to spread understanding of Islam among mainstream Americans.

But a ruckus arose after three representatives of the Islamic group showed up at teacher Alison Henderson’s family dynamics class at Lake Brantley in late April. Henderson had requested the program through the school district’s speakers bureau, but the three were substitutes for the originally scheduled speaker, officials said.

This is an intriguing part of the story. Would the original speakers have presented the material in a different manner? If so, was the switch part of a deliberate strategy?

Regina Klaers, spokeswoman for Seminole schools, said things went well until a question-and-answer period after a PowerPoint presentation.

“The conversation went awry,” Klaers said. “It became a discussion of religion and not culture.”

Hasnain Kassamali, who heads the academy, said there was no intent to push his religion.

“We were trying to share some of our culture and explain why we do some of the things we do,” Kassamali said.

For example, he said, students often wonder why Islamic women wear head scarves, and that is among things that speakers from his group explain.

Responding to such questions can’t help but touch on the fact that the hijab is a religious symbol, and must necessarily explain on what that symbol means. It’s the equivalent of a Christian explaining what the cross means, and we all know what would happen to anyone who tried to do that in an American public school.

But Alan Kornman, who led those complaining to the School Board about the academy, said the Muslim group clearly wants to convert students to Islam. He heads the Central Florida chapter of the United American Committee, a right-leaning watchdog group that says it wants to alert Americans to the threats of Islamic extremism.

“Hasnain Kassamali is well aware of the rules of the speakers bureau program but chose to do a bait and switch under the guise of diversity and multiculturalism to further his Islamic faith and political doctrine,” Kornman said.

Good for the Seminole County School Board.

Central Florida is obviously out of step with the larger multicultural society, thanks to the tireless vigilance of groups like the UAC.


randian said...

Wow, I'm surprised. I guess there are parts of Florida that are paying attention. CAIR over in Tampa (HIllsborough County, southwest of Orlando) operates pretty much unchallenged, and plenty of Islamic radicals are found in Tampa's universities (including the now infamous Sami al-Arian).

blogagog said...

I didn't expect them to do the right thing. Good job!

heroyalwhyness said...

Yes, it is good to read this outcome, so far.

Quote: Speakers on religion, drugs, alcohol and nearly 50 other touchy topics will get closer scrutiny before they can speak on campuses, Superintendent Bill Vogel said.

WHO is going to vet these speakers?

There is another similar incident from Texas which would do well to follow in this Florida districts footsteps by banning such indoctrination. The outcome here was far from perfect . . .

Friendswood School background story

Dhimmi Watch: Principal who had CAIR lead assembly leaves school

Yes, the principal was re-assigned, sort of . . .Mrs.Penny LOWE (Lowe-Burke is her married name) was promoted to the 'administrative job' of Testing/Curriculum Coordinator - not exactly reflecting the type of assignment one would expect after being disciplined for insubordination. [Note: The Friendswood school district board approved the assembly for staff only. Claiming a 'misunderstanding' the entire student population of Friendswood middle school was mandated to attend the assembly by the principal whose sister's family is muslim.]

Follow up with video.

At the video link, there is a female holocaust survivor, Chaja Verveer,(30 yr. community resident) speaking of the danger of hatred, prejudice and apathy and their terrible consequences. She was upset with those who complained and were 'stereotyping' and 'intolerant of other cultures'. Few were as fortunate as she to survive such ignorant and extreme tolerance over 60 years ago. How ironic it is to hear a holocaust survivor ask this generation to tolerate a doctrine so extremely intolerant and antisemitic as Nazism - Islam.

Perhaps a visit with the family of Ariel Sellouk would enlighten.

Independent Accountant said...

I have been following the Friendswood story in the Houston Chronicle. It's more than time, CAIR was not permitted to speak anywhere without an opposing party present, like say an Israeli diplomat or a member of the BJP from India. CAIR gets a pass wherever it goes.

Zenster said...

herroyalwhyness: Claiming a 'misunderstanding' the entire student population of Friendswood middle school was mandated to attend the assembly by the principal whose sister's family is muslim.
[emphasis added]

Q'elle surprise!

Perhaps a visit with the family of Ariel Sellouk would enlighten.

From the linked article:

After apparently undergoing a religious awakening, a Saudi Arabian student in Houston killed his Jewish friend by slashing his throat.

Mohammed Ali Alayed, 23, pleaded guilty to the Aug. 6 attack on Ariel Sellouk, also 23, who almost was decapitated with a knife, the Houston Chronicle reported.

Houston police said they could not find evidence the slaying was tied to race or religion.

Clueless, effing clueless. A black and white case of SJS (Sudden Jihad Syndrome), pure and simple.

Rather than the Sellouk family, I would suggest a speaking appearance by Smadar Haran.

The Religion of Peace offers only the peace of the grave.

JohnLobenstein said...

This is not an intentional double post.

This may be somewhat off topic. It does however, discuss and highlight the efforts of the multiculturists and Islamic sympathizers to indoctrinate the American public. It also reminds us that Muslims define a dialog as – they speak we listen. But we dare not speak, especially critically.

New York Times isn't sure that free speech is such a good idea

JohnLobenstein said...

You can't have religion in public schools, unless it's Islam

"...While everyone is too busy with hurricane predictions and political cheesecake videos to pay any attention to the rapid erosion of the freedom of speech, the stealth jihad proceeds apace in another arena: the Islamization of American public schools.
"Islam in America's public schools: Education or indoctrination?," by Cinnamon Stillwell in the San Francisco Chronicle, June 11 (thanks to all who sent this in):
With fatal terrorist attacks on the decline worldwide and al Qaeda apparently in disarray, it would seem a time for optimism in the global war on terrorism. But the war has simply shifted to a different arena. Islamists, or those who believe that Islam is a political and religious system that must dominate all others, are focusing less on the military and more on the ideological. It turns out that Western liberal democracies can be subverted without firing a shot.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the educational realm. Islamists have taken what's come to be known as the "soft jihad" into America's classrooms and children in K-12 are the first casualties. Whether it is textbooks, curriculum, classroom exercises, film screenings, speakers or teacher training, public education in America is under assault.
Capitalizing on the post-9/11 demand for Arabic instruction, some public, charter and voucher-funded private schools are inappropriately using taxpayer dollars to implement a religious curriculum. They are also bringing in outside speakers with Islamist ties or sympathies. As a result, not only are children receiving a biased education, but possible violations of the First Amendment's Establishment Clause abound. Consider the following cases: ..."