Friday, October 19, 2007

What do Parochial Muslim schools teach?

Miss Kelly investigates:

"... the winning entry in the 8th grade Al-Hamra Religion fair, a Powerpoint presentation about the "History of Islam in America".

"Muslims have played a titanic role in the development of this country." (Interesting word choice, titanic.) The presentation is slide after slide of fabricated history, full of unsubstantiated claims that Muslims were here before Columbus, North African Muslims brought Islam to Native Americans, and Christopher Columbus saw a mosque in Cuba. This is largely based on Saga America, a book by Barry Fells, a Harvard marine biologist, whose "history" has never been accepted by serious scholars and historians. No one - aside from Fells and some deluded Islamists- believes this stuff, because there is no documentation, relics or substantiation of these claims. One of the local proponents of this cult archeology is Salih Yucel, who currently serves as a Muslim Chaplain at Harvard Medical School's Brigham and Women's Hospital, Children's Hospital Boston and North Shore Medical Center. Deafening Silence provides a thorough debunking of the Islamists's misappropriation of Native American culture here. Deafening Silence also skewers the Barry Fells make-believe.

The PowerPoint further goes on to explain that many African slaves became Muslims in order to "confront" the European slave traders. Righhhht. No mention of the far larger Arabic slave trade which enslaved millions more Africans than the Atlantic slave trade did, except to say that "Muslims were also more open to be captured for the slave trade because they moved around Africa a lot for the purpose of spreading Islam." Righhhhht. Someone is hallucinating here. Who is feeding this stuff to 8th graders? More fantastic claims:

"Muslims developed the art of "autobiography" and and their stories, letters, and personal quotations became the primary sources for people today learning about slave experience on ships. The growing collection of Arabic documents that were once buried in libraries and archives provides the solid evidence of African Muslims in the Americas."

Really? Where are these Arabic documents? Buried in which libraries? More details, please. The PowerPoint contrasts the illiterate European Masters with the literacy of the noble Muslim slaves, and exposes the great deceit by American colonists:

"Later the American colonists conjured the idea that they would trick people by saying that the Muslims were Arabs, since everyone knew how smart and clean the Arabs were, so it wouldn't arouse any suspicion."

Tricky American colonists!

This nonsense won a prize at a Religion fair? I'm ever so slightly consoled that it didn't win a prize at the History Fair. Did Bill Bennett, director of the commission on independent schools at the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, read this winning entry?

Somewhat ironically, the second article on Islamic schools I read today was
this one, in the Washington Post:

"An independent government agency that monitors worldwide religious freedom will suggest today that the State Department shut down the 23-year-old Islamic Saudi Academy in Northern Virginia on the grounds it is fomenting hate and religious extremism."

"The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), which advises Congress, the State Department and the president on religious-freedom issues, has issued a 30-page document saying the Saudi Embassy, which operates the 933-student academy, is violating U.S. law. It will explain its findings at 10 a.m. today in Room 538 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building."

"....At issue are textbooks the USCIRF says contain "highly intolerant and discriminatory language, particularly against Jews, Christians and Shi'a Muslims." Its findings are based on a three-year study of Arabic-language textbooks, some of them from the Saudi Academy, by the Center for Religious Freedom in the District."

Hmmm, kind of makes you wonder what sort of Arabic textbooks they use at Al-Hamra, dunnit?


At 7:49 AM EDT, Blogger Unknown said...

That's peculiar that the author would reference Fells; I've read America BC and he makes no assertions about Muslim explorers visiting the Americas prior to Columbus.


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