Middle East studies in the News
Education Jihad: Promoting Islam in American Schools [incl. Debbie Almontaser]
by Janet Levy
For decades, organizations and individuals have undermined our American education system by attacking our beliefs in a constitutional republic and our fundamental Judeo-Christian principles. These have been supplanted with a "multicultural" viewpoint, which has taken the place of traditional American perspectives and values with accommodation and appeasement of protected minorities depicted as victims of the dominant culture. Oil-rich Arab-Muslim nations, including Saudi Arabia and its Muslim Brotherhood cohorts, have used multiculturalism to target impressionable youths in our public schools, promote Islam, and advance Islamic political agendas. Under the subterfuge of promoting a multicultural educational environment, these agents have replaced time-honored educational materials of American ideals and historical perspectives with anti-American, anti-Israel, anti-Judeo-Christian, and pro-Islamic rhetoric.
This re-engineering of the education system to disproportionately highlight the virtues and contributions of Islamic ideology is part of "civilizational jihad," the enemy's term for the subversion of our society. It was defined in the 1991 Muslim Brotherhood document "An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America," presented as evidence in the 2008 Holy Land Foundation terrorism trial. The document calls for the stealth takeover of North America through infiltration of all of society, with the ultimate goal of destroying the U.S. and turning it into a Muslim nation.
Over the past 40-plus years, this infiltration has occurred in education, with the Saudi royal family contributing billions in gifts and endowments to U.S. universities to spread anti-American and anti-Israel propaganda. Through creation of Middle East studies centers at top institutions of higher learning, the Saudis have influenced curricula and textbook content. Those involved include several Muslim Brotherhood affiliates and Islamist organizations, such as the Institute on Religion and Civil Values (formerly the Council on Islamic Education), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Institute of Islamic Information and Education (IIIE), the International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT), Saudi-endowed Islamic and Middle East studies centers, and others. Their activities within our public schools include seminars and training programs for teachers, textbook creation and editing, curriculum development, lesson plans, student worksheets, and instructional videos.
Saudi success comes mainly from exploitation of Title VI of the Higher Education Act, which authorizes federal grants to university programs, including Middle East studies centers. Title VI grantees must produce outreach programs for our nation's educators, and pro-Islamic organizations have attained legitimacy by partnering with top universities. Using U.S. taxpayer-subsidized lesson plans and seminars for America's K-12 teachers with the imprimatur of schools like Harvard, infiltrators easily integrated Islamic perspectives into the K-12 curriculum, avoiding public vetting and government oversight. Materials promoting Islam, denigrating Judaism and Christianity, and criticizing alleged American prejudice against the Muslim world insidiously made their way into American education. Some of the materials in use go so far as to blame America for terrorism and decry prejudice against Muslims in the U.S.
One of the key teaching resources promoted by Harvard's Center for Middle Eastern Studies outreach program was the controversial, propaganda-laden "Arab World Studies Notebook," a factually incorrect textbook purported to promote "the Arab point of view." The text is almost devoid of citations and promotes a pro-Islam, Muslim-centric view of history. According to a recent report by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), "Indoctrinating Our Youth: How a U.S. Public School Curriculum Skews the Arab-Israeli Conflict and Islam," the widely used text erroneously cites Jerusalem as "an Arab city" and fails to acknowledge ancient Judaic and Christian ties to the Israeli capital. It fallaciously claims that Islam's ties are "equally long and much deeper," even though Islam emerged only in the 7th century A.D. The Jewish Telegraph Agency (JTA) noted that the "notebook" implies that Jews have undue impact on U.S. foreign policy and that Israel was created after American Jewish lobbying. It also proposes the supremacy of Islam and denigrates beliefs held by Jews and Christians, suggesting that the Quran "synthesizes and perfects earlier revelations."
Meanwhile, a key Islamic educational textbook author has been Muslim convert Susan Douglass. A principal researcher and writer for the Institute on Religion and Civil Values (IRCV), Douglass was also an educational consultant for the Saudi-funded Georgetown University Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding and a member of the editorial board of the Muslim Brotherhood's ISNA. The IIIT, created expressly to influence higher education, teachers, and textbooks, published books written by Douglass used in American schools. Douglass reviewed world history textbooks of three major publishers – McGraw Hill, Houghton Mifflin, and Prentice Hall – and was allowed to present a view promoting Islam and in accordance with IRCV recommendations. Douglass and the IRCV have had a major impact on the textbook presentation of Islam, minimizing its violent aspects and making the ideology attractive to non-Muslim children. Douglass was also instrumental in developing standards for teaching religion in public schools and providing teacher and curriculum guidelines.
Douglas and her husband previously taught at the Islamic Saudi Academy in Alexandria, Virginia, dubbed "Terror High" by some media outlets. In 2007, the school was found in violation of federal law by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) for using discriminatory materials that teach students to "hate" Jews, Christians, and other "unbelievers" and that espouse violent jihad as a religious duty for Muslims.
The organization for which Douglass has been an author, the Institute on Religion and Civic Values, is a national non-profit with a mission "to support and strengthen American public education" by drawing on "civic, ethical and educational principles in Islam." The group's leadership and collaborators are connected to Muslim Brotherhood organizations such as IIIT, CAIR, and the Muslim American Society (MAS), among others. IRCV focuses on portraying a positive view of Islam in K-12 education and vetting textbooks. It developed a curriculum manual for students to "simulate becoming Muslims"; was instrumental in minimizing the teaching of Judaism, Christianity, and other faiths; and changed the educational approach in many schools from informational teaching on Islam to indoctrination and proselytizing.
Meanwhile, yet another organization, The Institute of Islamic Information and Education, an ISNA branch, began in Chicago as far back as1985 to convey the Islamic message throughout North America, open non-Muslims to Islam, and "remove fabricated materials from circulation." It evaluates educational materials for their portrayal of Islam and monitors books, publishers, authors, and school districts for anything deemed "misinformation" and "misperceptions" of Islam and Muslims. The institute also produces and distributes dawa booklets and videos.
In 2011 in the Newton, Massachusetts school district, the Muslim push came to a head. Parents expressed concern about divergence from factual, objective accounts of history and current events, as well as one-sided materials designed to indoctrinate students in specific political agendas. Research by Newton parents revealed that the concept of jihad was presented solely as an inner personal struggle of spiritual discipline and not the predominant, traditional obligation to wage war in Allah's name and bring the world under Islam. Texts presented Islam as peaceful and tolerant. Parents found that Islam received significantly more study time than was devoted to the avowed "false beliefs" of Christianity and Judaism. Parental complaints about the controversial curriculum were characterized by school officials as "McCarthyesque." School officials accused parents of jeopardizing academic freedom and defended the materials.
CAMERA examined the materials and concurred that textbooks and lesson plans focused on teaching students about Islam and presenting foundational Islamic beliefs, historical Islamic expansion, and the so-called Islamic "Golden Age." Missing were negative aspects of Islamic history and societal practices, including the extensive and longstanding Arab-Muslim slave trade, honor killings, stoning of accused adulteresses, and treatment of women as property. Muslim women were falsely claimed to have more autonomy than Western women, and extensive Muslim bigotry in the U.S. was presented. Terrorism was falsely described as a deviation and misinterpretation of the tenets of the faith. CAMERA published a monograph on its findings, further alarming parents with the many anti-American, anti-Judeo-Christian, pro-Islamic materials existent within the Newton school district.
Another Islamic indoctrination program, "Access Islam," has been instituted in various school systems nationwide. Produced with assistance from Shabbir Mansuri, founding director of IRCV, and CAIR-affiliated Debbie Almontaser, and funded by the U.S. Department of Education, "Access Islam" teaches students how to follow the five pillars of Islam and instills the belief that Allah is G-d. According to the Christian Action Network (CAN), students must learn and interpret verses from the Quran. A video features a Christian convert to Islam who jubilantly explains how he now worships the one true G-d, in a direct slam against Christianity and Judaism. Wherever "Access Islam" is presented, similar programs are not provided on Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, or any other religion.
All of the school programs cited above represent a multi-pronged approach to destroy Western civilization and impose an Islamist worldview through university endowments, educator indoctrination, and development of history textbooks and curricula for K-12 students. Under the guise of teaching history and promoting multiculturalism, American students are indoctrinated in the supremacy of Islam above all other faiths. In several cases, federal courts have upheld the right of public schools to indoctrinate students in the Muslim religion and its spiritual practices, categorically denying the same privilege to Christian doctrine. In light of this doctrinal push, parents must be vigilant and steadfast as stewards of their children's educational and moral development. Schools and administrators must be held accountable.
When President Trump recently presented the 2018 budget, he recognized Title VI as a vehicle to promote anti-American, anti-Israel, and pro-Islamic propaganda and eliminated its funding. It remains to be seen if Congress implements his request and eliminates this insidious program.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.
Campus Watch contact e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org