Mandated Teaching of Islam in California Public Schools–Truth! & Fiction!
Summary of eRumor: The Truth: It is based on an article written for the ASSIST News Service by Austin Miles, who is described as a chaplain, author, historian, speaker, educator, and veteran master of ceremonies at various events around the country (he was a circus ringmaster). Highlighting concerns over activities in a class about Islam in Excelsior Middle School, the article suggests that the State of California has “embraced Islam,” that a course on Islam has been “stealthily” slipped into the seventh grade statewide, that the course is mandated as are activities such as wearing Islamic garb, adopting a Moslem name, and stating their own Jihad. The article also leaves the impression that students and teachers are not allowed to utter the name of Jesus in a classroom and that students cannot wear crosses.
The message says “Public Schools Embrace Islam – A Shocker.” It focuses on seventh graders in Byron, California, and says that although students in a growing number of public schools cannot wear crosses or utter the name of Jesus, they are being required to attend an intensive three-week course on Islam including mandated study of the tenets of Islam, the important people of Islam, wearing of a robe, adopting a Moslem name, and staging their own Jihad. It says that the California-required course uses a textbook that says a lot more about Islam than about Christianity and quotes a teacher who says she couldn’t teach Christianity like that and can’t even say the name of Jesus in the classroom, but the seventh graders are learning how to pray to Allah.
This eRumor has been explosive, both in terms of how quickly it grew in circulation on the Internet and the reaction it prompted.
It is based on an article written for the ASSIST News Service by Austin Miles, who is described as a chaplain, author, historian, speaker, educator, and veteran master of ceremonies at various events around the country (he was a circus ringmaster).
Highlighting concerns over activities in a class about Islam in Excelsior Middle School, the article suggests that the State of California has “embraced Islam,” that a course on Islam has been “stealthily” slipped into the seventh grade statewide, that the course is mandated as are activities such as wearing Islamic garb, adopting a Moslem name, and stating their own Jihad. The article also leaves the impression that students and teachers are not allowed to utter the name of Jesus in a classroom and that students cannot wear crosses.
Miles interviewed Christina Lemings, a parent of a seventh grader who is also a seventh grade teacher in the Byron Union School District in Contra Costa County, in Northern California. She said that she did not know what was being taught in the class on Islam until her son brought home a flyer from the Excelsior School about it. She told Miles, “they teach Islam as the true religion, and students are taught about Islam and to pray to Allah.” The article says she has quickly learned that in public school, God and Christianity are out (forbidden) but that Islam is in.
At question is what actually happened in the classes about Islam at Excelsior school and to what extent, as the article suggests, are these activities mandated statewide?
If the children were taught to pray to Allah or to participate in any other Islamic devotional activities, that is an outrage deserving of the protest of parents and other concerned Californians.
Lemings says there was prayer to Allah in the class. Other news reports have said that the children were required to pray “in the name of Allah the Compassionate the Merciful” and to stage their own Jihad. Nancie Castro, the principle at the middle school, denies the children were taught to pray or that any of the children was required to participate in the cultural activities of wearing Middle-Eastern clothing or choosing a Moslem name. She told the Contra Costa Times that wearing the clothing was something offered for extra credit. The American Center for Law and Justice in Virginia has written a letter to the Byron School district demanding that parents be given the chance to choose whether their children participate in the required course on Islam. Castro says that when the flyers about the course were sent to parents, three families asked that their children be exempted from that particular portion of the studies and they were given alternate assignments.
Peggy Green, the Superintendent of the Byron Union School district says that the school is merely reflecting the California guidelines for seventh grade and that the students are learning about Islam in the same way that they learn about Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and other major religions. She says that individual teachers will augment the curriculum with various activities and games, including dressing-up and role playing, in order to stimulate class discussion. Green did not specifically say whether there had been prayers to Allah or any other devotional activities encouraged by the teacher at Byron. Green says she and her staff have been fielding calls and other messages to the school about the controversy, many of which have been malignant and threatening.
Lemings, the teacher interviewed by Miles, says she has been troubled by the nature and content of some of the complaints to the school and issued a statement on January 15 saying, “Our schools have wonderful people teaching our children who are walking a fine line trying to comply with their state’s regulations, a vague understanding of the separation of church and state and the possibility of a lawsuit on any given day.” She said she heard some of the recorded messages directed at her principal and school and was ashamed of them and reminded people that the protest was against decisions at the state level and that her concern was over the way the textbook had handled these issues.
Educators with whom TruthOrFiction.com has spoken, however, say that they feel that the article sensationalized the issue and included some misinformation. It left the impression that this new class on Islam had been “slipped” into California public schools and that the state was mandating activities such as had been described as happening in the Byron School District.
Forrest Turpen is the Executive Director of the Christian Educator’s Association International (www.ceai.org). It is a Christian group committed to educators and educational issues in public schools. Turpin says the teaching about Islam has not been “slipped” into the curriculum. Islam has been an important part of history, and therefore an important part of studying history for a long time and is a part of the state guidelines for seventh graders just as teaching about Christianity is a part of the educational guidelines for 6th graders. That is the reason, according to Turpin, why the textbook “Across the Centuries” deals with Islam more than Christianity. It’s a seventh grade text and that is the grade when Islam is studied. “In fact,” says Turpin, “the state of California has been a leader in requiring a balance of teaching about who we are and what has empowered us as a civilization.”
Tom Adams, the administrator for curriculum framework at the state education department, told the Contra Costa Times that state guidelines (for seventh grade) do include a unit on Islamic civilization in the medieval world, however, it should be an academic approach on the historical significance of the religion. It should not be construed as an endorsement of it.
How the guidelines are implemented in the classroom is largely up to the teacher and critics say that in many classrooms, Islam has been emphasized while other religions, such as Christianity and Judaism, have sometimes been hardly touched upon. In an article on WorldNetDaily.com, Diana Lynne said that other parents in California have reported Islam-related activities that have caused them concern. One parent says her daughter was indoctrinated about Islam for four months while in seventh grade in Elk Grove, California. She said one day, she arrived at school to find a banner in front that said “There is one God, Allah, and Mohammad is his prophet.” She says she had also seen children chanting from the Koran and praying.
TruthOrFiction.com also reviewed the portions of the textbook “Across the Centuries” that deal with Islam. The text does present Islam in a positive way, which critics say ignores some of the aspects of Islamic history that aren’t so positive, especially violent conquest.
Another complaint about the text is that it treats the claims of Islam as “fact.” TruthOrFiction.com has reviewed the disputed passages and found that most of them, with a couple of exceptions, are attributed in some way to Moslem belief, rather than stated fact. Several of the disputed passages that are being passed around the Internet are from a section in the text that is under the umbrella title “The Teachings of Islam.” Many of the sentences in that section have no attribution because they are already being presented as Islamic belief.
There is protest from some parents about the suggested student activities in the textbook such as imaging being a Muslim soldier on the way to conquer Syria and journaling thoughts about Islam and being in battle; building a miniature mosque as a class activity; writing about a journey to Mecca; Contemplating why Islam was so attractive to Arabs and others in Southwest Asia. One veteran teacher told TruthOrFiction.com, however, that those kinds of suggested activities are commonly used by teachers and that he doesn’t view them as being in the book in order to favor Islam. He said that there are similar suggestions in the sixth grade textbook including having the students discuss what role the Israelite’s relationship with God played in the formation of their nation, explaining the covenant that the Israelites made with God, imagining being with the Jews when they were conquered by the Babylonians and forced into exile, discussing how Judaism and Christianity are related, how the teachings of Jesus were similar or different from those of other Jews, and doing a presentation of the differences of the religious views of the Sadducees and the Pharisees.
PUBLIC SCHOOLS EMBRACE ISLAM – A SHOCKER
By Reverend Austin Miles
Special to ASSIST News Service
BRENTWOOD, CA (ANS) — As children return to school this week, following the Christmas break, 7th graders in a growing number of public schools, who are not permitted to wear a cross or speak the name of Jesus, will be required to attend an intensive three week course on Islam; a course in which students are mandated to learn the tenets of Islam, study the important figures of the faith, wear a robe, adopt a Muslim name and stage their own Jihad.
In Byron, California, parents were outraged when students came home with their handouts and were told what was being taught. Their complaints to the school principal not only were ignored, but officials of this public school, funded by tax dollars, essentially fluffed them off.
The public schools in California so stealthily slipped this course into the 7th grade curriculum that even another 7th grade teacher, Elizabeth Christina Lemings, was totally in the dark that this was being taught until her son, Joseph, who is a 7th grader in the same school where she teaches, brought home the handouts.
“We could never teach Christianity like this,” Lemings said to ANS during an on-site interview. “We can’t even mention the name of Jesus in the public schools, but over there…,” she pointed to the building next to hers, “they teach Islam as the true religion, and students are taught about Islam and how to pray to Allah.”
Lemings, in her second year of teaching in the Byron (Northern California) Union School District, has been a Christian since 1987. The government school system requires that she teach evolution in her science class with no reference to creationism or any contrasting viewpoint to Darwin’s theory. She quickly learned that God and Christianity are out (forbidden) but that Islam is in.
The textbook used for the Islamic course, Across The Centuries, is published by Houghton-Mifflin (Boston, Ma.). It is described as a Social Studies/History book and has been adopted by the California School System.
In it, Islam is presented broadly in a totally positive manner, whereas the restricted references to Christianity, is centered on The Reformation, Martin Luther and The Catholic Church. Everything Christian is shown in a negative light, with events such as the Inquisition, the Salem witch-hunts, etc. highlighted in bold, black type.
This is proper for a complete study of history. However, there is not one negative to be found about Islam in this one-sided account, such as the wars, massacres, cruelties against Christians and other non-Muslims that Islam has consistently perpetrated over the centuries.
Nor is any mention made of the way Muslims treat their own people, cutting off hands, feet and heads for even the slightest violations of the Islamic tenets of faith, or the shocking way they treat their women.
The ‘miraculous’ events leading up to the Koran, the ‘holy’ book of Islam, and other ‘revelations’ are presented as factual. Any reference of the miraculous regarding Christianity is always set next to a disclaimer stating that; “It was (is) believed by Christians (or an individual such as Martin Luther) that…..,”implying an absence of credibility about the stated event.
For example, the representation that Gabriel the archangel came to Muhammad (Note: not believed to have come to Muhammad) and dictated to him the Koran, a whole new revelation and idea that would surpass all other religions.
What needs to be explained by the Houghton-Mifflin historians, is why Gabriel (which translates, “Man of God”), the archangel of both Christians and Jews, who was a part of all of God’s plan, who interpreted for Daniel the vision of the ram and the he-goat, and comforted him after his prayer with the prophecy of the ‘seventy weeks’ and who heralded the good tidings by declaring the coming of the predicted Messiah, would at that point in time and history, call on Muhammad, one who did not believe in Jehovah God or Jesus as the Son of God, and ‘reveal’ to him the words of the pagan god Allah to lead his people with. How’s that again?
It would be most interesting to have the Houghton-Mifflin experts explain what possessed Gabriel to turn on the God of Abraham and Jesus Christ to lend assistance to what would become a murderous cult with no regard for life, the very antithesis of Christianity. There is a deplorable lack of information here.
And too, the Book of Revelation clearly states that no words should be added or taken away from that book. So this in itself poses a major contradiction and problem.
The faulty textbook, Across the Centuries, has more than its share of deceit. It is stated as fact that Islam, Judaism and Christianity share in common the belief in one god. This is a half- truth, which is the worst kind of lie. Christianity and Judaism worship one God, the God of Abraham. Islam worships one god named Allah. This hook is misleading on the part of Houghton-Mifflin. The publisher apparently is attempting to legitimize Islam.
If this were an authentic history, the textbook would explain that the god of Muhammad was man’s creation. Arabia was a pagan nation that worshiped over 300 gods. One of those was the moon god named, al-ilah. Legend has it that the moon god mated with the sun god and had two daughters, both of whom were worshiped as goddesses. When Muhammad claimed to have had his ‘vision’ and ‘revelation from Gabriel’ he chose
al-ilah as the god to build his army around.
Muhammad shortened the name, al-ilah, to, Allah, and declared that he alone should be worshiped. He forbade the worship of the daughters. To this day, a crescent moon can be found at the front of every mosque, acknowledging that Allah was, and is the moon god. All of this is missing from the Houghton-Mifflin accounts.
It is also to be noted, even though not publicized, that Allah is also known as, The God of War. So why isn’t this important study of Islam included in the history books?
The handouts used in this course, obtained by ANS, are considerable. They include a history of Islam and the life of Muhammad its founder.
Muhammad is portrayed as an extremely moral man who wanted a society of purity. A vast body of historical accounts will refute this image. Historians will show that he had multiple wives, a sexual problem, and among his wives, he took a 10-year-old girl for his pleasure (some accounts list her age as 6).
And Islam promises its followers that those who become suicide bombers, killing themselves and others, will go directly to Allah’s paradise where they will be given 72 virgins for unbridled sexual pleasure for all of eternity.
There are many verses in the Koran that must be memorized in this Public School course and students are taught to pray, “in the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful” and to chant, “Praise to Allah, Lord of Creation.”
There are 25 Islamic terms that must be memorized, six Islamic (Arabic) phrases, 20 Islamic Proverbs to learn along with the Five Pillars of Faith and 10 key Islamic prophets and disciples to be studied.
“Can you imagine the barrage of lawsuits and problems we would have from the ACLU if Christianity were taught in the public schools, and if we tried to teach about the contributions of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and the Apostle Paul?” teacher Elizabeth Lemings lamented. “But when it comes to furthering the Islamic religion in the public schools, there is not one word from the ACLU, People For The American Way or anybody else. This is hypocrisy!”
Even more disturbing; students are to pretend that they are Muslims, wear Muslim clothing to school, stage their own Jihad via a dice game, and pick out a Muslim name (to replace their own) from a list of thirty.
ANS asked some of the students what they thought about this course. All of them felt that “it was fun,” while others described Islam as “a pretty culture.” This included a pastor’s son! Joseph Lemings, 12, said, “the Jihad was like playing a video game,” even though the true violent nature of Jihad was well concealed.
Lemings is disturbed by the “fun” description. She sees it as a tool, not only to engender sympathy and support for the Muslim cause, but for recruitment. “This is not just a class of history of examining culture,” she said. “This course is entirely too specific. It is more about indoctrination.”
Lemings, upon learning of the course on Islam, approached the principal of Intermediate-Excelsior School of Byron, Nancy Castro, requesting the right to teach Christianity in the manner that Islam is taught and for the same length of time.
Castro has not responded to her request. Lemings later received, roundabout, information that the only way she could do this would be to teach the Christianity class (as a Christian Club) after school hours where students would come of their own accord. Otherwise, she would violate the law of (selective) Separation of Church and State. Excuse me?
In an interview with Nancy Castro, the principal of the schools in Byron, she stated to ANS that the Islam course (hidden within “History of Cultures”) reflects California (educational) Standards that meet State requirements.
When asked about the intensity of the Islamic course, Castro stated that the course “is not religion, but Ancient Culture and History. And,” she pointed out, “the text is a State Adopted textbook. We do not endorse any religion, we just make students aware.”
She stated that the textbook is now in use throughout California. When asked if she would allow Christianity to be taught the same way that Islam is taught, Castro stammered before saying that Christianity is already taught in the History and Culture class, “which,” she said, “actually starts in the 6th grade.”
She said that this class started a year ago. The Christianity that is taught is brief, taught as a myth, and strictly negative. This is how it is portrayed in the textbook.
Lemings had stated to ANS that there were many, many parents who protested this course on Islam, especially after September 11th ( which, coincidently, is when the course began).. Nancy Castro contradicted this account.
Asked if there was any response from parents about this course, Castro answered, “Oh a couple of parents called to express concerns, three to be exact.”
Peggy Green, Superintendent of the Byron Union School District did not return calls by press time.
The Muslim’s intentions are clear and the public has been continually notified of that fact. In nearby Fremont, where the majority of the over 150,000 Muslims living in the Bay Area reside, Omar M. Ahmad, chairman of the board of the Council on American-Islamic relations said this at the Flamingo Palace banquet hall: “I urge Muslims not to shirk their duty of sharing the Islamic faith with those who are on the ‘wrong-side’.”
He said that Muslims should not assimilate into American society. “If you choose to live here, you have a responsibility to deliver the message of Islam…Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on earth,” he said.
These quotes were published in the” San Ramon Valley Herald” on July 4, 1998 (ironically on our Independence Day), 3 years, 2 months and 7 days before September 11, 2001. And like everything else, Americans and church leaders didn’t pay any attention to it.
In the same article, Ahmad stated: “Everything we need to know is in the Koran.” And bear in mind that the Koran clearly states that Muslims are obligated to kill Christians, Jews and all other infidels.
So why would the American Public School System and the politicians want to further the Islamic faith, push to have it become the One World Religion and nix Christianity?
Simple. Christians cannot be enslaved. Islam, an oppressive religion of control, cruelty and fear does enslave, which can keep people subdued. This is precisely what the future leaders of the One World Order want to achieve. And the misinformed, make nice, politically correct crowd seem eager to help them accomplish it.
But the greatest driving factor in all of this is money. There are the profiteers and politicians who stand to grow in unspeakable wealth and power by cooperating with the Arabs and finding favor by helping them and their pagan religion take control. They have no compunction in selling us out, and our freedom, to accomplish their goals. These greedy, self-serving investors stand salivating on both sides of the oil pump.**(see below)
Rev. Austin Miles is a chaplain, author, historian, speaker and educator. He has been Master-of-Ceremonies for major events in Madison Square Garden, The Brooklyn Academy of Music, Radio City Music Hall and at the United Nations in New York **where he was M.C. for the opening of the new Libyan Embassy. He was not surprised at the various world leaders he introduced who were there as friends of Libya. But what unsettled him was the number of American financiers and oil men who were there as friends of this terrorist nation.
**Additional ANS stories can be found at www.christianity.com/assistnews
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