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Judge rules Islamic education OK in California classrooms

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Desertdog, Dec 13, 2003.

  1. Desertdog

    Desertdog Well-Known Member

    udge rules Islamic education OK in California classrooms

    Judge rules Islamic education OK in California classrooms
    Dismisses suit opposing requirement students recite Quran, pray to Allah
    Posted: December 13, 2003
    1:00 a.m. Eastern

    © 2003 WorldNetDaily.com

    Requiring seventh-grade students to pretend they're Muslims, wear Islamic garb, memorize verses from the Quran, pray to Allah and even to play "jihad games" in California public schools has been legally upheld by a federal judge, who has dismissed a highly publicized lawsuit brought by several Christian students and their parents.

    As WND reported in July of last year, the suit was filed by the Thomas More Law Center against the Byron Union School District and various school officials to stop the use of the "Islam simulation" materials and methods used in the Excelsior Elementary School in Byron, Calif.

    In her 22-page ruling announced Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton said Excelsior is not indoctrinating students about Islam when it requires them to adopt Muslim names and pray to Allah as part of a history and geography class, but rather is just teaching them about the Muslim religion.

    When WorldNetDaily first reported the story in January 2002 – shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks committed by 19 Islamist terrorists – major controversy ensued nationwide.

    The World History and Geography class in question is part of a curriculum being taught to seventh-graders all over the state, and is included in the state's curriculum standards required by the state board of education. Although the standards outline what subjects should be taught and will be included in state assessment tests, they don't mandate how they're to be taught.

    In the three-week course, Excelsior teacher Brooke Carlin had students assume Islamic names, recite prayers in class, memorize and recite verses from the Quran, and had them simulate Ramadan fasting by going without something for a day. The final test required students to critique Muslim culture.

    The Islam simulations at Excelsior are outlined in the state-adopted textbook "Across the Centuries," published by Houghton Mifflin, which prompts students to imagine they are Islamic soldiers and Muslims on a Mecca pilgrimage. The lawsuit also alleges students were encouraged to use such phrases in their speech as "Allah Akbar," which is Arabic for "God is great," and were required to fast during lunch period to simulate fasting during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

    Nevertheless, the judge ruled the program was devoid of "any devotional or religious intent," and as therefore educational, not religious in nature.

    'Double standard' decried

    However, Richard Thompson, chief counsel for Thomas More, points to what he calls an obvious double standard.

    "While public schools prohibit Christian students from reading the Bible, praying, displaying the Ten Commandments, and even mentioning the word 'God,' students in California are being indoctrinated into the religion of Islam," he told WND on filing the lawsuit. "Public schools would never tolerate teaching Christianity in this way. Just imagine the ACLU’s outcry if students were told that they had to pray the Lord's Prayer, memorize the Ten Commandments, use such phrases as 'Jesus is the Messiah,' and fast during Lent," he added.

    According to Thompson, "Although it is constitutional for public schools to have an instructional program about comparative religion or teach about religion and utilize religious books such as the Bible in courses about our history and culture, the Byron Union School District crossed way over the constitutional line when it coerced impressionable 12-year-olds to engage in particular religious rituals and worship, simulated or not."

    However, Byron Superintendent Peggy Green defended the program: "Dressing up in costume, role-playing and simulation games are all used to stimulate class discussion and are common teaching practices used in other subjects as well."

    And Excelsior Principal Nancie Castro maintained, "At no point do we teach or endorse religion; we teach about religions' impact from a historical context. ... This is the state-approved curriculum, using state-adopted textbooks and has been part of the instructional program in California for over a decade."

    Appealing to the 9th Circuit?

    Yesterday, Thompson told WND that his legal team believed from the start that, regardless of who won the first round, this case would go to appeal – and that is exactly where he wants it to go. With some irony, Thompson points out that the appeal would go to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

    "This is the court that said, in the 'Under God' Pledge case, that the mere expression 'One nation under God' [recited in a public school] violates the Constitution," said Thompson. "It will be very interesting to see how they deal with this Byron School District case where students are basically required to become Muslims for three weeks!"

    While the Thomas More Law Center is intent on appealing the case, it is awaiting word from the plaintiffs as to their intent.
  2. Chris Rhines

    Chris Rhines Well-Known Member

    Hey, you turn your kids over to the government educational centers, you shouldn't complain about the 'education' they get...

    - Chris
  3. Mark Tyson

    Mark Tyson Well-Known Member

    Teaching about different faiths is one thing. This kind of crosses the line into promoting a religion - inappropriate.
  4. Andrew Rothman

    Andrew Rothman Well-Known Member

    Waaaaaay over the line.

    It is entirely possible and very appropriate to teach ABOUT a religion. It is also appropriate to utilize role-playing in the classroom.

    It is, however, phenomenally bad judgement to have students role-play being religious.

    By the way, here's a somewhat more balanced article:
    And an old Washington Times article reprint:
  5. Desertdog

    Desertdog Well-Known Member

    This was the basis for the lawsuit, and the judge said that teaching Islam and role playing as Muslims was fine.
    Think how the judge would reacted if the children had dressed and role played as the apostles.:cuss:
    Equal protection under the law?:barf:
  6. MicroBalrog

    MicroBalrog member

    What's the big fuss all about?:confused: :confused: :confused:
  7. clubsoda22

    clubsoda22 member


    A "Jihad Games" Simulator! :rolleyes:

    Check it out, i'm the fastest draw in the middle east ::click:: KABOOOM!!!
  8. greyhound

    greyhound Well-Known Member

    You can say that again. I never in my life thought it would be important to know what a fatwa was, or dar-al-Islam compared to dar-al-harb, or what dhimmi was, or the difference between Sunni and Shiite, or mullah and imam, and what Sharia meant etc, etc. All that changed on 9/11.

    CAIR, AIM, etc should seriously stop to reflect that the average American knows MUCH more about Islam since 9/11, both the good and the bad, as in all things. They can whine all they want and try to cover up the bad, but the average American knows a snow job when they see one. But we are also fair, and do not taint all Muslims with the views of a small minority; but unlike CAIR, AIM, etc we don't deny thet exist.
  9. c_yeager

    c_yeager Well-Known Member

    The really sad part of this is that having people play dress up and ape the motions of ones religion is generally pretty offensive. I would imagine that Muslims at large arent any less pissed off about this than the rest of us. Personally i would be pretty ticked if a school in a predominantly Islamic area had their kids dress up with pope-hats and make a mockery of MY religion too.
  10. jimpeel

    jimpeel Well-Known Member

    So when they teach the kids about California Mexican history do they have the kids dress in serapes and sombreros, say "Hola", "Vaya co Dios", and "Adios", and take siestas at 2PM?
  11. longeyes

    longeyes member

    Apparently anyone but a judge can tell the difference between education and indoctrination.
  12. Moparmike

    Moparmike Well-Known Member

    Wait. Let me get this straight. Kids were required to participate in religious activities in a secular environment in the name of cultural learning? ***? Like others have said, if a teacher required kids to dress up as priests and nuns, and sing hymns, the ACLU would riot! People would go apesh...err...apecrap! Yet if its something besides Christianity its not religion, its "cultural enhancement." Yay doublespeak. I still havent recieved my doubleplusgood TV yet.:rolleyes:

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