I noticed an article in which some parents in Friendswood, Texas were upset that the school district scheduled a presentation in which 2 Muslim women did a cultural exchange presentation to junior high students, apparently without notifying the parents first. The local school district has a policy that parents are to be notified about the topics and purposes of presentations before they happen, so that their kids can opt out. The school didn't do that in this case, so the parents who were upset started a letter writing campaign
One of the mothers quoted in the article did one of those "I'm not prejudiced... BUT" things.
Kim Leago, whose son is an eighth-grader, called the presentation "inappropriate."
"We can't say 'One nation under God' in school, so I definitely don't think [the presentation] was the right choice," she said. "I'm not a prejudiced person ... but Muslims, from what I know of the faith, don't want to be incorporated with Americans. Look at what's going on in the world right now, with the war and with 9/11."
Right. So this woman who says she is not prejudiced apparently doesn't believe that there can be MUSLIM AMERICANS!!!!!! Let's repeat that- AMERICANS WHO HAPPEN TO BE PRACTICE THE ISLAMIC FAITH. And one can easily see what she's implying. You know, there are a lot of religions that want to be *no part of the world* or hold themselves apart for their own traditions. Are Amish people Americans? How about Jehovah's Witnesses? Mormons? Orthodox Jews? Sheesh.
This woman, no doubt, was vigorously voting against having Bible lessons in school, particularly the one that the Texas Legislature passed last year, right? Because, after all, her argument about not having Muslims in to do a presentation that shows the history, culture, etc of Islamic faith would be the same one she would use against having optional Bible lessons that weren't evangelistic in nature. Otherwise, since the Muslims weren't prosletyzing, she could have no complaint about also insisting that the Bible lessons that do the same thing also be kicked out. Unless (as I suspect is 1), she has a bit of angst that the Christian faith isn't ruling the school and has confused geographical and sociological presentations with religious prosletyzing that threatens her own faith and that of her kids.
While reading some more on this, Ifound that the Friendswood School District had composed a letter explaining that, in fact, the presentation was supposed to ONLY be to adults, and was predicated because there was some kind of hate crime in the school, must have been against some Muslim students.
Dear Parents and Community Members:
In response to an incident that occurred between students at Friendswood Junior High School and the perception and fear that it caused to some involved, Robin Lowe, principal, was contacted by the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and told that they considered the incident a hate crime and had reported it to the FBI. Mrs. Lowe and Sherry Green, Deputy Superintendent, attended a meeting with representatives of CAIR. At the meeting, CAIR requested an opportunity to present factual and basic information about Muslims to students at Friendswood Junior High School since the school is predominantly Anglo Christian. Anticipating this request, I instructed Mrs. Green that the district would welcome the presentation to administrators and staff only, but not for a student presentation. This has been the way the District has handled other requests by groups interested in raising our awareness of the culture of our students who are minorities in Friendswood
But look at this. Trish Hanks, who wrote the letter said.
Friendswood is a faith based community and founded on these principles. The school district has always and will continue to honor that heritage.
Is it ever appropriate for a school district to say that? Obviously, faith-based here means Christian, because otherwise there wouldn't be such a fracas over another religion, Islam. A school district, in my opinion, has a duty to remain free of ANY association with a particular religion, while retaining the rights of individuals to express themselves (such as in private prayer, wearing religoius symbols, etc) and it's wrong for the district to tacitly align itself as favoring Christianity. At the same time, if prosletyzing goes on, from whatever religion, Islam or Christianity or any other, the school has a duty to vigorously stop it from happening.