DAVID SOLWAY ON ISLAMIC SCHOOL PROJECTS:
What we are observing are the effects of a macropolitical strategy, reinforced not only by curricular structures and testing practices, but by the ostensibly innocent maneuvers that feature on the mirco-tier of educational procedures. The nexus between sectarian politics and partisan education is now firmly entrenched in the American cultural mindscape, and we can see how this plays out on the level of primary and high school “learning projects.” We have read accounts of elementary and high school students pledging allegiance in Arabic, observing Muslim holy days, being drilled in Islamic vocabulary, prayers and culture, being taught the five pillars of Islam and world history from an Islamic perspective, reciting the Shahada (“There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is the messenger of Allah”) and being taken on field trips to mosques (but not to churches, synagogues or Hindu temples).
A recent controversy illustrating this tendency involves high school students in Blaine, Minnesota, instructed to perform a song in their Christmas concert that includes the Arabic phrase Allahu Akbar, which CBS considerately explains in its report on the event “means God is Great.” No, not quite. As Carol Brown comments in American Thinker, it means “Allah is supreme. As in Islamic supremacy.” It is also the cry uttered by legions of jihadists as they commit their acts of terror, slaughtering innocents at will. But students, to the detriment of all of us, are not informed about the implications of the phrase.
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