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There is a question that we all struggle with, and one that many people may find difficult to answer:
When does teaching the facts about Islam morph into becoming religious brainwashing, indoctrination, propaganda or evangelizing?
I don't think many parents are opposed to teaching students about the history of Islam, its achievements, its failures, its struggles and even its victories -- as long as these studies are taught accurately, without political or religious motive, and are not given favorable treatment over other major religions of the world.
Perhaps most of us can agree that this should be the educational standard for presenting the subject of Islam in the public schools. But does such a definition really work?
Even the most obvious attempt at evangelizing public school children into Islam can easily be explained away by some as giving students nothing more than the facts about Islam.
Muslims believe in the Five Pillars of Islam. That's a fact. Islam preaches Allah is the one true God. That's a fact. The Quran teaches that Muslims must accept Muhammad as God's messenger and prophet. That's also a fact.
These are facts, but they can also cross over from presenting the basic tenets of Islam to aggressively pushing religious indoctrination or evangelizing.
For example, let's say a public school teacher said this to his or her class: "The Bible says if you don't repent and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and believe He died on the cross for your sins, then you're going to spend an eternity in hell."
Would such instruction be considered teaching a fact about Christianity or, more likely, an attempt to convert children into the Christian faith?
The answer to that question would probably depend on how the teacher said it. Was it delivered mockingly, seriously, with a wink, dryly, with a fist pounding on the desk, with pointed fingers, perhaps with a smirk or rolling eyes?
Whether presenting facts about religious tenets is considered indoctrination or education is difficult to answer and brings to mind the 1964 U.S. Supreme Court decision that attempted to define what constitutes obscenity.
Justice Potter Stewart, who found it nearly impossible to define when someone's free-speech rights crossed the line into illegal obscenity basically threw up his hands and said, "I know it when I see it."
We find ourselves somewhat it the same predicament when attempting to clearly define the line between education and indoctrination when it comes to presenting the facts about the religious tenets and beliefs of Islam.
Earlier this year our organization, the Christian Action Network, exposed what we considered to be an Islamic indoctrination program funded by the Department of Education. It's called "Access Islam."
In this program, children grades 5-12 are taught the shahada (the Muslim profession of faith), asked to draw posters of the Five Pillars of Islam, told to watch a video on how to pray as a Muslim, were also asked to read Islamic scriptures, explain the meaning of those scriptures and told to explain how Muslims use those verses found in the Quran in their everyday lives.
We found these lesson plans to be clear examples of Islamic indoctrination activities that go well beyond what is legally permissible for public schools when discussing religion.
But our opponents in the media and certain educators disagreed and said the program does no more than teach children the facts about Islam.
I might add that the Department of Education has no similar program that teaches even the most basic tenets of the Christian faith.
So which is it? Is "Access Islam" an example of religious indoctrination? Or is it simply a program that gives children Islamic facts?
First, let's understand the definition of indoctrination.
Indoctrination occurs when you present opinions as fact without presenting opposing views.
Saying that Islam teaches "Allah is the one true God" is of course a fact, but the statement itself is widely disputed by billions of Christians worldwide, who believe the claim is false.
When schools present Islamic beliefs, without balancing those beliefs with opposing views from other religions or even to present secular opposition, then a line has been crossed into indoctrination.
And this is why the public schools should never be used to teach students the tenets of a religion - unless it is presented in an elective religious studies class that teaches comparative religions.
But we all know here that Islam is not being taught to school-age children in religious study classes. No. Islam is being taught in geography, history and social studies classes.
And the tenets of Islam are, in many cases and in many examples, being taught as indisputable facts in these classroom settings.
If you want students in a social studies class to understand the culture of Muslims in the Middle East - and teach them how in certain areas women are forced to wear burqas, hands are chopped off for minor offenses, homosexuals are thrown off tall buildings, that Christians are forbidden to own a Bible or build a church, that's fine. Because these are indisputable facts.
But if you want to give the religious tenets that are used to justify these human rights abuses, then present them in an elective religious studies class where opposing views to these beliefs are equally available.
By giving students a one-sided view of Islamic beliefs, I believe this is nothing more than an attempt to convert our children into Islam and not only that, but in some cases an attempt to turn our children into evangelists for Islam.
When children are asked to draw the Five Pillars of Islam to be displayed in the classroom or posted up-and-down the school hallway, this is attempt to use children to spread the message of Islam.
Clearly, having children engaged in such activity goes well beyond any argument that students are simply learning the basic facts about Islamic beliefs.
And I assure you, that if children were tasked with a project of drawing a poster of John 3:16 to be displayed in the classroom -- and throughout the school -- the ink would not be dry on the poster board before the courts would rule this activity unconstitutional.
There are plenty of examples in the public schools where children have not only been asked to draw posters of the Five Pillars of Islam, but have been asked to draw pictures of the Prophet Muhammad, sing an Islamic song, asked to wear Islamic clothes, draw "There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is His prophet" in calligraphy, construct a 3-D model of a mosque, design an Islamic prayer rug and even be asked to make an Muslim pamphlet to help third grade students understand and accept Islam.
But the problem of Islam in the schools go well beyond giving students the supposed facts about this religion, or getting them to become evangelists for the religion, because students are also being forced to accept as truth the disputed claims of Islam.
For example: In Union County, North Carolina children were told to write the following statements: "Islam, at heart, is a peaceful religion." I think that can be disputed. And then there is this one: "Most Muslims have a stronger faith than the average Christian."
Let me pause right there for a moment.
I don't need a show of hands on this, but how many of you have seen news stories, or even watched videos, of Christians being lined up by Muslim extremists and then beheaded?
Whose faith is actually stronger in those horrible, wretched examples of Islamic butchery?
In Syria, Muslims burned six Christian men who worked at a bakery after they refused to convert to Islam. And as horrible as that sounds, an image that is absolutely frightful and terrifying, what happened next was worse.
I'll read you the words of Alice Assaf as she told them to The New York Post: "After that, they caught some 250 kids and kneaded them like dough in the bakery dough machine. They were put in the dough mixer. They were kneaded. The oldest one of them was four-years-old."
Do not tell me that Muslims have a stronger faith than the average Christian. Last year alone, 7,000 Christians were killed for their faith. Some studies have reported even greater number of Christian martyrdom.
What we are witnessing in the world today is not weakness among Christians, which is the most persecuted faith in the world. Instead, we are witnessing Christian strength, courage, fortitude and faithfulness that is facing a religion that produces gutless cowards who will stab you, run you over with a vehicle, set you on fire, thrown acid in your face, mow you down with a gun, blow you up in an airplane or with an airplane, and even feed you into a dough-making machine.
Words are cheap. And to have our Christian, public school students write, "Most Muslims have a stronger faith than the average Christian," is to force them to engage in a lie, to degrade their own religion and to insult the thousands of Christian martyrs who are now dying every year in defense of their faith.
In LaPlata, Maryland students are told, "Allah is the same god that is worshipped in Christianity and Judaism." This is wrong and not a fact. And in Revere, Massachusetts, children had to write this answer to the question of what is the First Pillar of Islamic belief. They wrote: "I bear witness that there is no God but Allah."
When you require students to write, "I bear witness that there is no God but Allah," this is forcing the students to agree with that statement.
Let's flip the coin for a moment.
If teachers were educating students about white supremacy, would they dare have students write the white supremacist creed, "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children."
Any teacher attempting to do so would be rightfully fired.
But how is this any different than making Christian students write, "I bear witness that there is no God but Allah."
I say, there is no difference.
Perhaps the strangest, saddest and most outrageous lie being taught to students also occurred in LaPlata where students had to write that Muslim conquerors treat those whom they conquer with "tolerance, kindness and respect."
Tell that nonsense to the Yazidis in Iraq who, in 2014, had their homes pillaged, their women raped, their men tortured and killed, and those who were left alive, forced into converting into Islam and made into slaves, or sold as slaves, at the hands of ISIS.
What part of any of this is an act of "tolerance, kindness and respect?"
These Islamic lesson plans, which we are bringing to your attention today, are not about teaching children the facts of Islam. It's about indoctrination and brainwashing, conversion and proselytizing, lies and propaganda.
Jonathan Gruber, the architect of Obama Care, was confident Congress would pass the Affordable Care Act because he believed in "the stupidity of the American voter. "
But Obama Care didn't really pass because of the "stupidity of the American voter," did it?
It passed because of the stupidity of elected officials, highlighted by one of the most stupid political statements ever made by a lawmaker, Nancy Pelosi, who said, "We have to pass it to see what's in it."
We are not a stupid people. We are not ignorant. And we are not easily deceived.
And when educators come against our children and grandchildren in an effort to minimize and defame our Judeo-Christian beliefs, supplant our God and Savior with that of Allah and a false prophet, and try to force-feed children into accepting myth as a fact, rest assure parents will not only see it and know it, but they will also show these educators who really does have the stronger faith.