My latest Campus Watch column, which is posted at SFGate.com (the San Francisco Chronicle online), examines the teaching of Islam and Islamic history in America's public schools and finds ample cause for concern. Arabic instruction, Saudi funding, and Middle East studies also come into play. It begins like so:
With fatal terrorist attacks on the decline worldwide and al Qaeda apparently in disarray, it would seem a time for optimism in the global war on terrorism. But the war has simply shifted to a different arena. Islamists, or those who believe that Islam is a political and religious system that must dominate all others, are focusing less on the military and more on the ideological. It turns out that Western liberal democracies can be subverted without firing a shot.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the educational realm. Islamists have taken what's come to be known as the "soft jihad" into America's classrooms and children in K-12 are the first casualties. Whether it is textbooks, curriculum, classroom exercises, film screenings, speakers or teacher training, public education in America is under assault.
Update (6/12): Hot on the heels of the above-referenced column, which includes mention of the Islamic Saudi Academy (ISA) in Fairfax, Virginia, comes news that the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has released its findings from a review of the school's textbooks and found that they promote hatred, intolerance, and violence.
Several related articles can be found in the Campus Watch "Middle East Studies in the News" section and in terms of the broader subject, we have set up a category titled, "Islam in the Classroom," to which we will be adding over time.
As far as the Middle East studies connection to the ISA story, former ISA social studies teacher (her husband still teaches there) Susan Douglass is an "education consultant" for the Saudi-funded Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University. Douglass is in charge of the center's "professional development workshops" for training K-12 teachers for instruction in Islam or Islamic history. Considering the center and its director John Esposito's penchant for apologias, Douglass' employment starts to make sense. So does her involvement with approving Islam textbooks via the ideologically suspect Council on Islamic Education.
For information on all this and more, read "Islam in America's Public Schools: Education or Indoctrination?"