A few days ago, I read an article on Breitbart.com about a family in Manhattan Beach, California, who are taking their son out of middle school because the school is teaching Islam. According to the article, the school wasn’t teaching the history of islam, it was teaching its tenets. (Link to article: http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-California/2014/10/31/Parents-Pull-Son- From-Class-Because-School-Is-Teaching-Islam)
I don’t like to make a judgment until I hear from the source, so I decided to go to their school board meeting to find out exactly what their position was. I expected there to be a lot of interest in this, possibly, even, a standing-room-only crowd, and was very surprised that was not the case. There were only about 30 people at the meeting.
I read the agenda, which said if you wanted to speak, you just needed to go to the microphone. Apparently, that’s not quite how it’s done in reality. You have to sign up to speak, and, not knowing that, I wasn’t able to speak. However, several others spoke quite eloquently, and said most of what I had intended to say.
I looked at the members of the school board as they took their seats. They looked like average Americans. They were pleasant people of varying ages, warmly greeting each other, not at all radical-looking.
The meeting started with the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by what the choir director called a “multi-cultural choir” singing the national anthem. I found it particularly odd that he called it a “multi-cultural” choir. I wonder why it’s necessary to point that out. I’m sure we are capable of recognizing the different races in the group. Besides, aren’t we all Americans, no matter where we come from? They were a choir from one of the district schools, and, normally, they would be introduced as such. I wondered if the “multi-cultural” thing was a district policy, or something the choir director chose to do.
The meeting began on a pleasant note. A science teacher from the middle school, Maggie Mabery, had been chosen as one of California’s five “Teacher of the Year” candidates. She will go to Washington DC to be considered for the top “Teacher of the Year” award. Various people spoke about her, and why she had been chosen. She was given an orchid lei and a bouquet of flowers. She spoke about how honored and excited she was to be considered. It was not hard to see why she’d be a favorite teacher. She was very bubbly and enthusiastic. I wondered if, as a science teacher, she was teaching anthropogenic global warming. There was a break in the proceedings, so everyone could have coffee and cake in honor of Mrs. Mabery.
When the meeting was called back to order, a young woman, Allison Arvin, spoke about the activities and events at the elementary schools and the high school. She was followed by another young woman, Rebecca Rawson, who spoke about the activities and events happening at the middle school. This was followed by the public comments section.
First to speak was a gentleman named Gary, who said he came to voice his concern about Islam being taught to the students in the middle school. He read the article that appeared on Breitbart.com, and told them he believed them to be reasonable people, and wanted them to explain their position on this. One of the members said he would answer Gary’s question through an email. I was puzzled why they couldn’t answer his question immediately. Surely, they knew about the KTLA interview with the father of the boy taken out of their middle school, and the article in Breitbart. They must have expected some questions about it.
After Gary spoke, the member of the board who said he would reply via email spoke to Gary privately. Next, a husband and wife voiced their objection to Islam being taught at all. They pointed out that Sharia law is part of Islam, and urged the board to read the Qur’an. They said the Qur’an says unbelievers must convert or die. They brought materials they passed out to the board members. I watched the board’s reaction to what they were saying. Some were less than attentive, but a few looked interested. Gary left the meeting after the couple spoke. I followed him out, and gave him my card. I asked if he would forward me the email from the board member, and wondered what the board member had said to him privately. Gary said the board member told him the lessons on Islam were part of a comparative religion course. I have a feeling that will be the board’s official position. Of the approximately thirty people inattendance, about ten were there to object to the teaching of Islam. Many of them were from ACT.
My concern is that teaching Islam as a “comparative religion” implies it is the morally equivalent to other religions. They aren’t teaching Islam in context. Islam isn’t just a religion, it is a political philosophy, and a set of laws. Sharia is the law of Islam, and it can’t be separated from the religious part. The definition of an Islamic state (Arabic: الدولةالسلمية al-dawlah al-islamīyah) is a government which is based in Islamic religious law (Sharia).
Islam is the only religion that says non-believers must convert or die. This is not a misinterpretation of Islamic scripture, it is what the Qur’an says. There is no “New Testament” to the Qur’an, where Mohamed returns, and tells his followers to love their neighbors. Qur’an 9:123 says “Murder those of the disbelievers and let them find harshness in you.” Qur’an 2:191 says “Kill them wherever you find them and drive them out from wherever they drove you out.” Qur’an 2:193 says “Fight them on until there is no more tumult and religion becomes that of Allah.”
What also concerns me is that the people serving on the school board aren’t ignorant. They know Islam is behind every terrorist act in the United States in the last 20 years. I would expect at least a few of them to be concerned about teaching Islam as the moral equivalent of other religions, not including Sharia law, or explaining that it is a theocracy. Actually, I would expect ALL of them to be concerned.