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Teaching Islam in Public Schools
Kansas City Star (hat tip Little Green Footballs) ^

Posted on 10/10/2004 6:07:29 AM PDT by tdewey10

Posted on Sat, Oct. 09, 2004

Teaching Ramadan in public schools

Accurate lessons in demand after 9/11

By HOLLY LEBOWITZ ROSSI

Religion News Service

During the next few weeks, multicultural trainer Afeefa Syeed will bring third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students from a Muslim academy in Herndon, Va., to nearby public schools to share the practices and beliefs of their holiest month, Ramadan.

Syeed and the children will present the call to prayer in Arabic, display prayer rugs and offer tastes of dates. In countless other classrooms across the country, similar efforts will be made to educate students about the time of fasting and spiritual reflection for adherents of the world's second-largest religion.

Ramadan, which likely will begin Oct. 15, depending on the sighting of the new moon, is making more appearances in public school classrooms, thanks to a series of new teacher training initiatives, an increased fascination with Islam and the assurance that schools, if careful, can educate impressionable children about religion without crossing a constitutional line.

The Council on Islamic Education, a nonprofit organization based in California, plans to release an updated version of its booklet “Muslim Holidays,” which was first published in 1997, for the more than 4,000 teachers nationwide who have used it.

The booklet, which contains lesson plan ideas and historical and cultural background on Ramadan and other Muslim holidays, also outlines the various state regulations governing instruction about religion in public schools and discusses accommodations that schools can make to enable Muslim students to observe the holiday.

Muslim educators note tremendous progress in education about Ramadan and Islam in general in public schools, particularly since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 — perpetrated by extremist Muslims — brought Islam into the national spotlight.

Another reason for this success, some say, is an increased general awareness in public education circles of what is constitutionally appropriate to teach about religion.

In 1995, President Clinton released “Religious Expression in Public Schools: A Statement of Principles,” guidelines on promoting the free exercise of religion in schools without endorsing a particular faith. The Freedom Forum First Amendment Center in Arlington, Va., subsequently launched a series of training initiatives to remind public school officials nationwide of the regulations concerning religion in schools.

Unlike the political situation, which has become divisive in some ways, “the educational arena came out unscathed” by increased attention on Islam since Sept. 11, said Shabbir Mansuri, founding director of the Council on Islamic Education.

Whereas Ramadan used to garner only cursory attention from public school teachers, Muslim education consultants say, interest in deeper understanding of the holiday has spiked.

“They want to know accurate information,” said Sharifa Alkhateeb, president of the Washington-based Muslim Education Council.

For teachers and administrators, as well as fellow students, explaining Ramadan helps the school accommodate the religious requirements of the holiday.

For example, at puberty, children begin to participate in the daily fast, which lasts from sunrise to sundown each day of the month. Many schools arrange for Muslim students to sit in the library during lunchtime so that they are not surrounded by food as they fast.

Educators cite Ramadan as a good opportunity to teach students about Islam and its practice. But teaching Ramadan in public schools has not been without controversy. Last year a federal judge said that the Byron Union School District in California could continue a three-week curriculum that emphasized role-playing exercises requiring, among other things, seventh-grade students to recite Muslim prayers.

Despite the ruling in the district's favor, the school suspended the program because of the outcry the lawsuit spawned.

Crucial to avoiding these kinds of problems, say educators, is understanding the difference between “teaching” and “teaching about” religion.

Role-playing exercises that require students to recite sacred words or imitate Muslim prayer practices simply are not appropriate.

“It is a wonderful method in teaching history, but when it comes to religion, we will have to modify it a bit,” Mansuri said.

Syeed, who also uses a globe in her presentation to show students that Muslims live all over the world, says her lesson plan “The Seven S's of Ramadan” highlights aspects of Islam that children of other faith backgrounds can relate to, like patience, peace and gratitude.

“It's really just to define who we are on our own terms and make the connection with a much larger, universal aspect,” she said.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Front Page News; News/Current Events; US: Kansas; US: Virginia; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: afeefasyeed; alfatih; alfatihacademy; alkhateeb; cie; constitution; diversityeducation; fairfaxcounty; fatih; herndon; herndonva; islam; islamofascism; mansuri; mec; ramadam; religon; shabbirmansuri; sharifaalkhateeb; syeed
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Unbelievable. I want to know if in addition to the Islamic "Call for Prayer" if they have a Catholic Mass, Christian Hymns, Jewish reading of the Torah. Somehow I think not.

I do not understand the liberal attempts to embrace Islam and allow it into public schools. Don't they get the fact that a hell of a lot of them want to kill us?

1 posted on 10/10/2004 6:07:30 AM PDT by tdewey10
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To: tdewey10

The reason liberals love Islam is that anyone who hates America as much as libs do must be ok in their book.


2 posted on 10/10/2004 6:09:43 AM PDT by keyesguy
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To: tdewey10

It's only fair to present an alternative program showing how Christians attempting to share their view of life with Muslims in Muslim countries are beaten, jailed and for good show, a mock beheading or two.


3 posted on 10/10/2004 6:11:12 AM PDT by CROSSHIGHWAYMAN (Anybody but Kerry!!)
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To: tdewey10

Why isn't the American Criminal Liberties Union crying foul and filing suit to prevent this? Some Freeper in KC needs to file an injunction against this.


4 posted on 10/10/2004 6:11:35 AM PDT by hometoroost
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To: tdewey10

Why isn't the American Criminal Liberties Union crying foul and filing suit to prevent this? Some Freeper in KC needs to file an injunction against this.


5 posted on 10/10/2004 6:12:12 AM PDT by hometoroost
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To: tdewey10

Do we get to teach fast and abstinence for Lent, or what the significance of the fast is?


6 posted on 10/10/2004 6:13:19 AM PDT by OpusatFR (Let me repeat this: the web means never having to swill leftist garbage again. Got it?)
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To: tdewey10

Do we get to teach fast and abstinence for Lent, or what the significance of the fast is?


7 posted on 10/10/2004 6:13:42 AM PDT by OpusatFR (Let me repeat this: the web means never having to swill leftist garbage again. Got it?)
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To: tdewey10

When a teacher in a public school cannot wear a crucifix in class, how can this be allowed? This is pandering to a terrorist cult. Muslims are trying to worm their way into every facet of American life. There they will lay in wait to slit our throats.


8 posted on 10/10/2004 6:14:12 AM PDT by ArmedNReady (Islam, The Cancer On Humanity.)
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To: Alabama MOM

Here is a good reason to Home School.


9 posted on 10/10/2004 6:14:48 AM PDT by nw_arizona_granny (On this day your Prayers are needed!!!!!!!)
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To: hometoroost
because this fits the ACLU's goals of helping to destroy everything this country was founded on.
10 posted on 10/10/2004 6:14:54 AM PDT by blackeagle
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To: hometoroost

Ah the AC--we don't care if we have potential terrorists on the watch list among our active membership--it's about the principles, not the money, really, really, really--LU.


11 posted on 10/10/2004 6:15:29 AM PDT by tdewey10 (But Monks working by candlelight in the dark ages could produce kerning)
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To: tdewey10; Calpernia; Velveeta; SevenofNine; Donna Lee Nardo; Letitring; DAVEY CROCKETT; lacylu; ...

Ping


12 posted on 10/10/2004 6:16:26 AM PDT by nw_arizona_granny (On this day your Prayers are needed!!!!!!!)
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To: tdewey10

The ACLU will stop this.

Won't they.

Won't they?

[More of our new cultural diversity---ABC (anything but Christianity).]


13 posted on 10/10/2004 6:16:33 AM PDT by TomGuy (His VN crumbling, he says 'move on'. So now, John Kerry is running on Bob KerrEy's Senate record.)
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To: tdewey10
...Muslims live all over the world, ...

So do Christians, but if a kid brings a Bible to class he gets suspended.

These liberals are pathetic.

Why isn't someone suing the the Herndon schools and everyone connected with this idiocy? If the liberals want a separation of church and state then they'd better have a separation of mosque and state too.

Are the muslims, or the liberals, going to tell the children how killing Jews and Christians in part of their religion?

14 posted on 10/10/2004 6:17:03 AM PDT by Noachian (A Democrat, by definition, is a Socialist.)
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To: keyesguy
The reason liberals love Islam is that anyone who hates America as much as libs do must be ok in their book.

Exactly, since otherwise liberals are hostile to religion.

Now that said, I would have no problem with lessons about Islam, even with the demos, as long as they did Hinduism, Shintoism, Confucius, Various versions of the aboriginal American's Great Spirit, Christianity and Judaism as well. Of course that wouldn't leave much time for science reading and math.

15 posted on 10/10/2004 6:17:57 AM PDT by El Gato (Federal Judges can twist the Constitution into anything.. Or so they think.)
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To: OpusatFR

Ping. Great point.


16 posted on 10/10/2004 6:18:34 AM PDT by tdewey10 (But Monks working by candlelight in the dark ages could produce kerning)
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To: keyesguy
The reason liberals love Islam is that anyone who hates America as much as libs do must be ok in their book.

Excellent point. "My enemy's enemy is my friend. and I will deal with that head chopping thingy later."

17 posted on 10/10/2004 6:19:25 AM PDT by Comus (We don't care how you did it up North.)
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To: tdewey10

I insist on equal time for snake handlers.


18 posted on 10/10/2004 6:21:15 AM PDT by AngrySpud (Behold, I am The Anti-Crust ... Anti-Hillary)
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To: tdewey10

Certainly the children should see at least one of the beheadings "done in the name of Islam" and for good measure throw in some videos of Taliban executions of women and the recent hanging of a 12 year old girl in Iran who was executed for having a "sharp tongue"...that's the true face of modern Islam.


19 posted on 10/10/2004 6:21:59 AM PDT by The Great RJ
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To: tdewey10
Merely another way for the Fifth Column to undermine America, and let the enemy, which is Islam/ Muslims, destroy it from within.

Coupled with massive vote fraud, this treason and sedition by liberals and liberal-demokkkRATs, will lead to another civil war for control of the courts, schools, unions and the rest of America, where this vermin hides.

20 posted on 10/10/2004 6:23:05 AM PDT by 7.62 x 51mm ( veni vidi vino visa "I came, I saw, I drank wine, I shopped")
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