Middle East studies in the News
PBS Lesson Directs Kids to Empathize with Jihadists
by Michael F. Haverluck
A high school lesson plan produced by the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and funded by the United States Department of Education encourages students to empathize with Islamic Palestinian terrorist youth who aspire to be suicide bombers to become martyrs – indicating that because they have little land and are oppressed, they would rather die.
The Leftist curriculum that promotes an anti-Semitic perspective in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict was created to be freely available to all educators in the U.S.
"'Dying to be a Martyr' – that's the name of a lesson plan offered to students and teachers at no cost by the Public Broadcasting Service – a taxpayer-funded nonprofit – and some of the material seems to encourage students to learn to sympathize with radical Islamic terrorists," the Heartland Institute announced.
The Institute's Justin Haskins informed that the goals of the indoctrinating material are overtly divulged by PBS – which allegedly seeks to spread a pro-Muslim worldview.
"The stated 'objectives' for the lesson plan, which is designed for use by students in grades nine through 12, include analyzing 'why the Middle East conflict began and continues today,' discussing 'how religions can unite or divide people and explaining 'why individuals and groups sometimes turn to tactics of terrorism, and evaluate how terrorism affects the world we live in,'" Haskins reported.
A multimedia approach is used to persuade students that Islamic terrorists are the true victims – not the innocent people they mercilessly slaughter in the name of their god, Allah.
"It utilizes videos titled 'Martyrdom,' 'Suicide Bombing' and 'Israel and Palestine,' as well as Internet sites and primary sources 'to examine the roots of the Middle East conflict,'" Breitbart pointed out.
Even though "Part 1" of the lesson begins by reviewing and drawing a comparison-contrast of three world religions, it shifts to focus on Islam – encouraging students to empathize with a cold-blooded murderer.
"At first, students are asked to learn about the connections that all three major faiths – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – have to Israel," Breitbart's Dr. Susan Berry informed. "However, later on in the lesson, students view the video 'Israel and Palestine,' and are asked to focus on 25-year-old Majdi Amer, who built a bomb in 2003 for a suicide bomber in Haifa who ultimately killed 17 people, and wounded 50 more, on a bus. Students are asked to compare Majdi's view of suicide bombing with that of 18-year-old Mohanned Abu Tayyoun, who wavers in carrying out his suicide mission and ultimately goes to jail in Israel."
The next stage of the lesson attempts to justify the Palestinians' animosity towards Israel, which it portrays as giving Palestinians the proverbial shorter end of the stick.
"In 'Part 2,' students are provided with material that is meant to show how the nation of Israel came into existence and to explain the source of the conflict between the people of Palestine and Israel," Haskins explained. "Students examine several important historical documents, including the Balfour Declaration and [anti-Israel] U.N. General Assembly Resolution 181."
Teachers are then instructed to lead students to depict how the current situation in the Middle East makes Israelis and Palestinians feel.
"[D]raw two faces that show emotions – one face for a Palestinian Muslim after seeing these documents, and one face for an Israeli Jew ... (For example, a student may draw a happy face for an Israeli Jew and an angry face for a Palestinian Muslim)," the PBS lesson plan directs students.
The next section of the lesson encourages students to relate with a terrorist.
"It's in 'Part 3' the lesson plan takes a disturbing turn," Haskins continued. "First, students watch a video of 18-year-old Mohanned Abu Tayyoun, a Palestinian terrorist 'who entered Israel carrying a bag of explosives with the intention of carrying out a suicide bombing,' Mohanned 'wavered, however, and returned home without carrying out the mission.'"
Mohanned is then visited in the lesson plan's "Martyrdom" video, where the young Muslim is asked in an interview what made him decide to become a suicide bomber – a question that was asked during his imprisonment in an Israeli jail cell.
"It was my decision – martyrdom leads us to God," Mohanned replied in the PBS video. "I don't want this life. When you become a martyr, your prize for carrying out the operation is going to heaven. ... We Palestinians prefer to die, just kill ourselves, rather than live this worthless life. Our lives are worthless. We are hollow bodies living a pointless life. Israelis enjoy their life. They go out at night. They have cafes and nightclubs. They travel all over the world. They go to America and Britain. We can't even leave Palestine."
The lesson plan then directs teachers to lead students toward the conclusion that Israelis are privileged and Palestinian terrorists are oppressed and afflicted.
"Check for understanding by asking students to respond to the focus question," the teacher's instructions read. "(Mohanned feels he would rather die and by a martyr than live his life, sees his life as hollow – in contrast he sees Israelis as happy, going out, having fun, traveling). Ask your students why Mohanned may feel that way (Answers may include: Palestinians have less land, fewer privileges, cannot come and go as they please.)"
The immorality of mercilessly slaughtering innocent human lives is not discussed in PBS's teacher's guide.
"Nothing in the instructions tells teachers to denounce Mohanned's claims or radical Islamic views, in general," Haskins stressed.
The following section visits a jihadist who actually went through with his murderous plan to become a mass murderer in the name of jihad.
"In Part 4, students are asked to watch a third video interview of an Islamic terrorist," Haskins recounted. "This time, the video includes a terrorist who actually was involved in a suicide bombing."
PBS describes the next video for teachers as such:
"[T]his [video] is taken from an interview with 25-year-old Majdi Amer, who in March 2003 built a bomb and prepared a suicide bomber for a bus bombing in Haifa that killed 17 people and wounded 50," the lesson plan states.
Majdi then answers his interviewer's question asking why he believes there is nothing wrong with killing women and children.
"If the Israelis kill a child in Gaza, I'm ready to kill one in Tel Aviv time," the jihadist replied in the PBS "instruction" video. "If they destroy houses in Gaza, I'll do it in Tel Aviv. If they give me security in my land, then there's no problem."
The lesson plan then instructs teachers to have students analyze each Palestinian jihadist – with the desired response provided in parentheses.
"[Explain] how Majdi and Mohanned's opinions differ from one another, even though they are both Palestinians involved in suicide bombing plots," students are advised. "(Majdi feels that Islam calls for him to defend his land any way he can, he does not recognize the Jewish state, he will kill an Israeli for every Palestinian killed. Mohanned did not see every Jew as an enemy, did not want to kill innocent people, felt that God wanted him to live.)"
Again, the moral depravity of senseless killing is not addressed in the one-sided lesson plan aimed at filling students with feelings of empathy toward the Palestinians' so-called "plight."
"No instructions are provided telling teachers to denounce the radical claims made by Majdi, and there are no other lesson plans describing the conflict from the point of view of the Israelis," Haskins noted.
Islam for all ages
It was revealed late last month that pro-Islamic curriculum is not only being paid for by American taxpayers, but that children from elementary school through high school – grades 5–12 – are being targeted with the problematic program that has gained the backing of state-run schools, America's top educational institution, and the world's foremost global agency.
"'Access Islam' is funded by the Department of Education and is being promoted on various websites," Christian Action Network (CAN) President and Founder Martin Mawyer told Breitbart on March 31. "So, PBS Learning Media is one of the websites that is promoting it. The Smithsonian also promotes it, the Indiana Department of Education promotes it, and even the United Nations promotes it."
Breitbart shared Mawyer's objections to the 10 lesson plans of "Access Islam," which include the "Five Pillars of Islam;" "Salat: Prayer in Muslim Life;" "Ramadan Observance;" "Quran: Sacred Scripture of Islam;" "The Haji: Journey to Mecca;" "Islam in America;" and "Women in Islam."
"When we took a look at the various lesson plans that are being offered, we thought they certainly crossed the line of anything that would be considered constitutional," the Christian leader explained. "When a teacher is expected to quiz their students on such questions as 'What does a Muslim prayer sound like?' 'What do Muslim prayer movements look like?' and 'What are some of the things that Muslims say while they're praying?' this is no longer a question of academia, it's a question of what we would believe is religious indoctrination."
It was then contended by Mawyer that the pro-Islam lesson teaches that Allah is God – while America's public schools would never teach that Jesus Christ is God.
CAN brought up its complaint with U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, PBS President Paula Kerger and Ohio State University President Michael Drake, arguing that Islam receives preferential treatment in public school curriculum when compared with Christianity, Judaism and other world religions.
"The nature of the materials and the lack of any similar materials for other religions such as Judaism, Christianity or Hinduism demonstrate the Establishment Clause violation, because there can be no argument that the materials are for comparative educational purposes," the demand letter reads. "We demand that you immediately remove all such promoted lesson plans from the publicly funded web sites and immediately cease spending public funds on the promotion of the Islamic religious in this or any other manner. Further, we demand that Secretary DeVos issue a public announcement that the past and future use of public funds for these materials including the use of the materials in public schools violates the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution."
Mawyer insists that former President Barack Obama is responsible for the escalating the coverage of Islam in school curriculum – that began in 2005 under former President George W. Bush as a relaying of facts – to outright propaganda after Obama took office in 2009.
"But at that time, it was a program that simply taught students about the traditions, culture, and holidays of Islam," Mawyer impressed about the 2005 curriculum. "Then, it became greatly expanded under the Obama administration. It has continued to develop, and now has had a greater, broader outreach."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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