Middle East studies in the News
Texas School District Assigns Islamic State Recruiting Homework to Teach 'Critical Thinking'
by Lana Shadwick
A high school in one of the largest school districts in the nation, Houston ISD, says that an Islamic State recruiting homework assignment "teaches critical and analytical thinking skills using current events." The assignment was given to ninth graders one school day after the terrorist attacks in Paris.
The homework also had students analyze statements by Osama Bin Laden about the suicide bombing on the USS Cole. Bin Laden was attributed with saying, "If you would have seen it with your own eyes, you would have been very pleased, and your heart would have been filled with joy."
Breitbart News reported on Tuesday about the beating death of Samra Kesinovic, the teenage girl who went to Syria with a friend to join the Islamic State. She was reportedly beat to death when she attempted to escape the radical Islamic group. She had been living with other young female recruits in Raqqa, Syria, the de facto capital of the Islamic State.
Other questions on Islam and other topics were included in the assignment which is attached below.
The 9th grade Geography teacher at Bellaire High School, Jorge Aranda, gave his students the assignment on how to write a Document Based Question. One mother noticed that her daughter's homework included a question about an Islamic State Tumblr blog in which a female recruiter attempts to recruit young women jihadists.
The homework also included an alleged statement by Bin Laden about the seventeen sailors who died in a suicide bombing of the USS Cole. As can be seen below it stated – "The pieces of the bodies of infidels were flying like dust particles. If you would have seen it with your own eyes, you would have been very pleased, and your heart would have been filled with joy."
USA Today reported in 2001 that Bin Laden "applauded the bombing of the USS Cole in Aden, describing the destroyer as a ship of injustice that sailed to its doom." The USS Cole was refueling in a harbor in Yemen on October 12, 2000, when two suicide bombers detonated a small boat full of explosives next to the military vessel. Seventeen American sailors were killed and 39 others were wounded.
The assignment also included statements by President Obama in a speech at Cairo University in June of 2009. It stated in part – "More recently, tension has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a Cold War in which Muslim-majority countries were too often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations. Moreover, the sweeping changes brought by modernity and globalization led many Muslims to view the West as hostile to the traditions of Islam."
The assignment then set forth other issues such as the Keystone XL pipeline, including statements by the National Resources Defense Council, and socialist and presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders' tweet about his opposition to the pipeline. The homework also covered drug trafficking and Mexican cartels and other issues.
A mother of a ninth grade student, Theresa Bosley, told Breitbart Texas, "It's disturbing to me that this specific example is being used especially in light of the recent ISIS killing spree in Paris." She said, "It is dangerous and irresponsible that pro-ISIS recruiting material and propaganda are being taught to impressionable young minds. Especially in light of the recent radical Islamic terrorist attacks in Paris and Lebanon."
The assignment was distributed to the Bellaire High School freshman one school day after the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris.
The mother of the ninth grade teenager told Breitbart Texas, "We see similar incidents in schools across America, such as the ISIS propaganda poster assignment in Utah, and theschool in California where seventh graders were forced to learn a song promoting Islam. All of these together take on the appearance of a planned ISIS indoctrination. If anything, it is the horrifying practices and tactics of ISIS that should be taught as examples."
Bosley added, "There are many other examples that could be used to demonstrate a Document Based Question instead of a jihad recruiting site. I'm guessing that if it was a site about recruiting Christians, it would have been heavily scrutinized and rejected by the school board for religious reasons." She said, "I'm not sure if this is part of an HISD curriculum or a product for this particular class or school. Whatever the case, I don't find it appropriate for our young girls' impressionable minds."
As reported extensively by Breitbart News, the attack in Paris, France, killed over 150 people and wounded hundreds of others on Thursday, November 13. Islamic State terrorists murdered Parisians and others who were dining at a restaurant, sent suicide bombers to a soccer game between France and Germany, and caused other deaths or injuries with an explosion in a bar near the Stade de France stadium. Eight of the attackers were dead, including seven by suicide belts, as reported by Breitbart News.
Breitbart Texas contacted the school district and the principal of Bellaire High School, Michael McDonough.
The media relations department of the huge district responded with the following written statement – "The intent of the assignment was to teach students critical and analytical thinking skills using current events. The district will review the assignment and follow-up with the campus if needed."
As reported by Breitbart News in 2014, the Islamic State has been using social media to lure Western girls to Syria and Iraq for the purpose of procreating with jihadists. Many of the women recruited are from Britain, Australia, and the United States.
The Houston Independent School District is the largest school district in Texas and is the seventh largest school district in the nation. It has 283 schools: 153 elementary schools, 37 middle schools, and 40 high schools. There are 215,000 students in the district and about 100 languages are spoken, according to the district's website. Over 75 percent of the students are economically disadvantaged.
Breitbart Texas' education expert Merrill Hope reported in November 2014, that the Houston Independent School District was adding its first Arabic Language Immersion Magnet School. The HISD school district unanimously approved the plan. Hope alsoreported that the left-of-center media mocked Texas seniors who peacefully protested the opening of the school in August of this year.
Hope and other media outlets reported in October 2014 that parents in the Alvin ISD in Brazoria County, Texas, were outraged by a sixth grade assignment on the terrorist organization Islamic State. At the time these students were given the homework, American journalist James Foley had been butchered by ISIS barbarians.
Merrill Hope has also reported that the father of Texas' "Clock Boy," Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed, "shared another 9/11 'Truther' Facebook post, only this time in Arabic, claiming that the clock incident will lead to spreading Islam in America."
Ahmed Mohamed, or "Clock Boy" as he is referred to, is the 14-year-old teenager from Irving, Texas, who became famous after he brought a disassembled clock that looked like a bomb to school. Breitbart News has reported that he is moving to the Islamic supremacist nation of Qatar. The Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development invited him to join its Young Innovators Program. As reported by Breitbart Texas, the teenager has threatened to sue the City of Irving, and Irving ISD for $15 million for his arrest and suspension.Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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