Public school students at Friendswood Junior High in the Houston area have been roped into Islamic training by representatives from the Council on American-Islamic Relations during class time, prompting religious leaders to protest over Principal Robin Lowe's actions.
Pastor Dave Welch, spokesman for the Houston Area Pastor Council, confirmed the indoctrination had taken place and called it "unacceptable."
"The failure of the principal of Friendswood Junior High to respect simple procedures requiring parental notification for such a potentially controversial subject, to not only approve but participate personally in a religious indoctrination session led by representatives of a group with well-known links to terrorist organizations and her cavalier response when confronted, raises serious questions about her fitness to serve in that role," the pastors' organization said.
According to a parent, whose name was withheld, the children were given the Islamic indoctrination during time that was supposed to be used for a physical education class.
"I am simply trying to get the word out to those whose kids may not have told them about an Islamic presentation that all kids were required to attend," wrote the parent, who was working to assemble protests to the school board.
WND previously has reported how public school textbooks used across the nation have begun promoting Islam, teaching even the religious doctrines.
WND also has reported on several other schools that have taught Islam as a required subject.
In the Texas case, a school e-mail to parents provided only a half-hearted acknowledgement that such mandatory religious indoctrination might not have been the best decision.
"In hindsight, a note should have been sent home to parents indicating the purpose and content of the presentation in time for parents to contact me with questions or concerns or requests to exempt their child," the school note from Lowe said. "This will be our practice in the future, should we ever have another presentation of a similar nature."
School officials also said the "Islamic Awareness" presentation was "to increase understanding of the Islamic culture in response to racially motivated comments that have been made to students on campus."
The pastors said in a statement: "According to students who were forced to attend these sessions, these Islamic evangelists taught them:
- Adam, Noah and Jesus are prophets
- There is one god, his name is Allah
- The 5 Pillars of Islam
- How to pray five times a day
- Islamic religious garb"
The pastors noted that the principal's claim there were "comments" to students on campus was unverified. Nor does that excuse or justify "this infringement upon the religious beliefs of students and parents of the community nor the violation of school policy and possibly state and/or federal law," they said.
"We do not believe that this unapproved action by Principal Robin Lowe represents the school district and certainly not the majority of students or parents in the Friendswood community. Our commitment is to support all appropriate administrative, legal and political remedies to assure that this will not happen again and these Islamic activist organizations are kept out of our schools," the pastors said.
The parent reported the presentation was 30 to 40 minutes long and handled by two Muslim women from CAIR's Houston office. CAIR, as WND has reported, is spinoff of the defunct Islamic Association for Palestine, launched by Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook and former university professor Sami al-Arian, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to provide services to Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Among the convicted CAIR staffers are former communications specialist Randall Todd "Ismail" Royer, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison on charges he trained in Virginia for holy war against the U.S. and sent several members to Pakistan to join a Kashmiri terrorist group with reported ties to al-Qaida; and Bassem Khafagi, who was arrested in January 2003 while serving as CAIR's director of community relations and convicted on fraud and terrorism charges in connection with a probe of the Islamic Assembly of North America, an organization suspected of aiding Saudi sheiks tied to Osama bin Laden. In October 2006, Ghassan Elashi, a member of the founding board of directors of the Texas branch of CAIR, was sentenced to nearly seven years in prison for financial ties to a high-ranking terrorist.
The parent reported Lowe told students her sister, niece and nephew were Muslim.
But the parent complained the Muslims "were given full attention of our kids, during academic school time, to present their religious beliefs. … This was put right at the end of the school year … which will most likely prevent a Christian response."
There also was no parental notification, and students were required to attend.
"The kids did not even know they were having an assembly or what topic it pertained to until they entered the gym," the parent wrote. "I send my kids to school for academics. … I teach them religion at home."