Middle East studies in the News
Judge Strikes 'Scandalous' Reference to Group's Terror Ties
The FBI has provided an abundance of evidence that the Council on American-Islamic Relations is a front for the Muslim Brotherhood and its Palestinian branch, Hamas.
And even a Persian Gulf state, the United Arab Emirates, has designated the Washington, D.C.-based organization a terrorist group, putting it in the same category as al-Qaida and ISIS.
But when parents suing the San Diego Unified School District for its alliance with CAIR in an anti-bullying and "anti-Islamophobia" program inserted a reference to CAIR's terrorist ties in their complaint, a federal judge objected.
San Diego school officials complained that the citation of CAIR's formation by Hamas operatives in the United States as a propaganda organ and the fact that more than a dozen former CAIR figures have been charged with terrorism-related crimes is "impertinent, immaterial and scandalous," designed only to "inflame the public," reported the Investigative Project on Terrorism, IPT.
U.S. District Judge Cynthia Bashant agreed, striking references to CAIR's radical ties because they are "likely intended to 'besmirch' Defendants and cast them in a derogatory light based on SDUSD's relationship with CAIR."
As WND reported, parents, represented by the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund, or FCDF, sued San Diego schools last May over the "anti-Islamophobia" campaign, which featured curriculum and materials published by CAIR. FCDF later revised its complaint to focus on CAIR's radical Islamic origin. The complaint asserted the school district's partnership with CAIR violated the First Amendment's Establishment Clause, the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and California law.
Under pressure from the lawsuit, the school board voted in July to stop its formal partnership with CAIR, directing staff instead to form a partnership with the Anti-Defamation League "to assist in creating respectful, inclusive and safe learning environments and communities."
But FCDF continued with the suit, expressing concern that CAIR might partner with the school district on other programs.
The complaint points out that the FBI cut off non-investigative contact with CAIR in 2008. The bureau, at the time, explained that "until we can resolve whether there continues to be a connection between CAIR or its executives and Hamas, the FBI does not view CAIR as an appropriate liaison partner."
The FBI's evidence of CAIR's ties to Hamas was presented in a Hamas-funding case in which CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator. CAIR has sued the authors of a WND Books exposé, "Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That's Conspiring to Islamize America," which documented the group's radical ties.
The bureau's non-contact policy remains in effect, FCDF points out, which is relevant because CAIR has made "prioritized public schools as ground zero to advance its religious mission."
The school district, in effect, gave "a divisive religious group ... unprecedented decision-making authority" in a public school program.
But the judge argued that CAIR's relationship with Hamas, "whether true or not," predates its work with the school district and is "superfluous historical allegations that should be stricken," reported IPT.
The judge did, however, preserve provisions in FCDF's amended complaint concerning CAIR's hostility to Israel and allegations it "promotes discriminatory bias against non-Muslim students on the basis of their religion."
The judge said that while these assertions may be "distasteful" and "unsavory," those provisions could call into question the "objectivity and accuracy" of CAIR-provided instructional materials.
As WND reported, when the San Diego school board partnered with CAIR, it touted it as an organization that "has been involved in constructive civic engagement, promotes cultural tolerance and understanding, as well as justice and equality."
CAIR's San Diego director told the school board in April his organization wanted the district's program to become a national model.
"The plan itself is a great first step," he said. "I truly believe that if we do this right, San Diego Unified School District would be the leading school district in the nation to come up with a robust and beautiful anti-bullying and anti-Islamophobia program."
'The true faith, Islam'
The influence of Islam in public schools has become a nationwide issue.
In May, in Groesbeck, Texas, a couple moved their sixth-grade daughter to a new school after they discovered her history homework assignment on Islam.
In late March, as WND reported, a middle school in Chatham, New Jersey, was using a cartoon video to teach the Five Pillars of Islam to seventh-grade students, prompting two parents to obtain legal services to fight the school district, which has ignored their concerns.
WND also reported in March a high school in Frisco, Texas, has set up an Islamic prayer room specifically for Muslim students to pray on campus during school hours. The same type of prayer rooms have been set up in high schools in St. Cloud, Minnesota, and other school districts.
In 2015, parents in Tennessee asked the governor, legislature and state education department to investigate pro-Islam bias in textbooks and other materials.
WND reported in 2012 ACT for America conducted an analysis of 38 textbooks used in the sixth through 12th grades in public schools and found that since the 1990s, discussions of Islam are taking up more and more pages, while the space devoted to Judaism and Christianity has simultaneously decreased.
In 2009, Gilbert T. Sewall, director of the American Textbook Council, a group that reviews history books, told Fox News the texts were "whitewashing" Islamic extremism and key subjects such as jihad, Islamic law and the status of women.
Also in 2009, WND reported the middle school textbook "History Alive! The Medieval World and Beyond," published by Teachers' Curriculum Institute, said an Islamic "jihad" is an effort by Muslims to convince "others to take up worthy causes, such as funding medical research."
In 2006, WND reported a school in Oregon taught Islam by having students study and learn Muslim prayers and dress as Muslims.
WND reported in 2003 a prominent Muslim leader who eventually was convicted on terror-related charges helped write the "Religious Expression in Public Schools" guidelines issued by President Bill Clinton.
In 2001, shortly after the 9/11 attacks, seventh graders in Byron, California, were taught a three-week course on Islam that required them to learn 25 Islamic terms, 20 proverbs, Islam's Five Pillars of Faith, 10 key Islamic prophets and disciples, recite from the Quran, wear a robe during class, adopt a Muslim name and stage their own "holy war" in a dice game.
Parents went to court to uphold their right to reject the class for their children, but a federal just ruled against them, and in 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider their appeal.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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