Laura Armstrong: Parents must band together and say no to the ‘Islamizing’ of public schools
September 25, 2011 01:31 AM | 5575 views | 27 27 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When I wrote last week about sheltering my young children from the twisted ideology behind the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, I never imagined less than a week later our own relatively conservative school system would be the focus of a major controversy centering on “Islamizing” America’s public school curriculum.

The controversy began last week, when the MDJ broke the story of a Campbell Middle School parent going public, questioning a lesson linking Middle Eastern culture with the school’s dress code. The seventh grade teacher involved used a portion of a lesson that seemed to promote Islam.

School officials responding to the parent’s complaint told education writer Lindsay Field that they had looked at the lesson and re-evaluated its appropriateness and context.

“The dad was correct,” Area Superintendent Dale Gaddis explained. “Since then, we’ve decided to select better materials. The issues that we had, we actually took care of. We worked with the teacher … and with our curriculum folks to verify the material and how it should be used.”

But instead of putting the issue to rest, the red flags did not stop unfurling around the blogosphere among people concerned about creeping shariah, stealth jihad and encroachment of Islamic tenets into America’s public schools.

The supplemental materials in question, created by Roswell-based InspirEd Educators, Inc., were copyrighted, and the MDJ reprinted some short excerpts with permission. But it was the intrepid freedom fighter Pamela Geller who found more on the Henry County school district’s website and re-posted for her national audience. Geller’s Atlas Shrugs (www.atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com) is a popular source of information for patriots and truth seekers since 9/11, and Geller’s new book is titled “Stop the Islamization of America: A practical guide to the resistance.” Geller’s a bulldog when it comes to shining the light on radical Islam’s tactics here at home, and she’s led in the fight against the NYC ground zero mega-mosque

Meanwhile, “My name is Ahlima” was the lesson our kids were assigned. Written in a narrative style reminiscent of the popular American Girl doll stories, Ahlima is a fictional, 20-year-old woman who loves life under the abuyah (black veil) and promotes a rosy and incomplete picture of life as an Islamic woman to our impressionable seventh-graders. Her words go far beyond fashion advice or culture. Ahlima feels safe under Shariah law and lectures well on its virtues — but forgets its evils.

To be sure, Ahlima’s disrespect for Western women is apparent to adults. The character brags about her upcoming marriage (she’ll be the second wife, as though seventh-graders really get that) and promotes Islamic polygamy “because the prophet was trying to raise women up. He was very loving to women when many other men in his day were not.”

There’s a lot more, and CCSD spokesman Jay Dillon did confirm that the lesson in question is being used in other districts around Georgia.

He also reminded me that Cobb parents had the opportunity to review the supplemental materials, the same way we can review textbooks. Which leads me back to our lone parent whistle blower.

What a service he’s done for us all.

Now that he’s put himself out there, it’s time for us to back him up if we agree with his concerns.

Dillon told me any curriculum materials identified as possibly inappropriate should be brought to the attention of the superintendent or his designee, in this case Pamela Dingle, director of K-12 Curriculum. The administrative rule says any material in question will be returned to the selection committee for re-consideration. He did not specify when that would happen. I hope that will be a question for you to ask.

To go on record against introducing Ahlima to students, you should write to Ms. Dingle, politely please, at 514 Glover Street, Marietta, GA 30060. Of course, I’m sure your elected officials wouldn’t mind hearing from you either.

If you do write, remember that our district’s not alone in dealing with such issues.

Just last week in Puyallup, Wash., a Muslim organization attempted to get special consideration and to gain access to students, to “ease fears” and teach about their religion.

Puyallup parents stood together and just said no, taking responsibility for their schools. I hope our community will stand up and do the same. And I hope those responsible for introducing Ahlima to our kids will go read Pamela Geller. Because they are absolutely clueless.

Lbarmstrong3378@comcast.net
Comments
(27)
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A.r.
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October 05, 2011
Honestly, I'm much more worried about the "Christianzing" of schools than anything else. As in, not have to worry about internet filters that block searches for all religions except Christianity, getting grief for wanting to take another girl to prom or wear a tux instead, flyers for GSA mysteriously vanishing, etc.

Teaching that there's more to the middle east and Muslims than OH NOEZ TERRORISM =/= forcing Sharia law down the throats of the poor innocent children. Especially since radical Islam is actually a fairly new movement from a historical standpoint.
Constantly Amazed
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October 04, 2011
anonymous wrote on Saturday, Oct 01 at 08:15 AM »

"Just show me where it is in this "geography section" that they discussed or even mentioned, Christianity."

In the section on "religions of the Middle East" where they discuss Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.

What's your point?
anonymous
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October 01, 2011
Constantly Amazed, Wednesday, Sep 28 at 08:35 PM » Just show me where it is in this "geography section" that they discussed or even mentioned, Christianity.
in the middle
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September 29, 2011
As a teacher, when I cover Islam I feel as though I have to tread lightly to stay politically correct. I tell kids it's a religion of peace, even though personally I disagree about it being "peaceful". I feel like I am lying to my kids. I understand that the religion is misunderstood at times, but I hate teaching about it and making it seem as though it is so great. I also feel I have to be very careful in how I apporach it when I have Muslim kids in my class.

I feel that a lot of stuff we teach, esp as a history teacher, that we have to walk on egg shells as to not upset anyone or be accussed of using our position to influence kids. It is hard to act "numb" as if you don't care one way or another. I personally would NEVER use the type of lesson that was used at CMS.
Constantly Amazed
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September 28, 2011
"Islamizing" of public schools. Seriously? A three week geography section on the Middle East and all of a sudden students are being exposed *gasp* to Islam and are going begin asking for copies of the Koran in their Christmas stockings? How, in the interest of educating our children about the world in which we leave, do you morons intend to teach the Middle East while avoiding the fact that many of their governments are theocracies governed by Sharia law? Knowledge is power people, quit being sheep and start thinking for yourselves.
Mostly a mom
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September 27, 2011
The incident you refer to, "Just a Mom" happened at Lost Mountain Middle, and my child was there too. She said it was some local coach who came to talk.

Here's my question: If a coach -- which is about as culturally American as you can get -- comes to school to talk about his religion, isn't it a religious lesson? Because his culture is American, right? So they're hiding behind the culture argument, but that doesn't hold water.
ChucklesToo
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September 27, 2011
Thank the LORD Ms. Geller escaped Islam to come here and WARN us about the evils of this so called religion. Its a CULT! And the moderates are just as guilty or more so. For not speaking up or renouncing their religion.
Cobb Parent
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September 27, 2011
I disagree with that lesson being put into books. If they want to teach about muslims, they should deal with the norm as opposed to the extremes. That will do nothing but scare people who only know about the religion based upon on what they're "told" on tv. Based upon what I've read in the comments my statement is proving to be true.
just a mom
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September 27, 2011
I was talking about this last night at the table, and my son opened his eyes wide and told me that they had a lecture by "a man who went on a trip to Mecca" in their classroom at a west Cobb school. They learned all about Muslims and how they all have to go, and I would like to know why does the Muslim religion get a pass to appear in our classrooms diguised as a cultural lesson? Where is the balance? There is none!

This would not have concerned me before I read about the Islamic invasion of Europe, how their sharia law is taking over their court system and how their police cannot even go into Muslim neighborhoods for fear of violence. I believe this will happen here also, and they are trying to gain accpetance of their intolerant, racist way of life (not assimilating, staying separate, not accepting other's religions, even burning christian churches around the world). Of course there are many, many peace-loving Muslims, but their religion does not deserve special treatment in our schools. They do not accpet the western culture, so why should we accpet theirs?
Wondering why
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September 26, 2011
Why is that we can't teach Christianity in school, but we can teach Islam?
Steve Rhinehart
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September 26, 2011
The bleeding heart PC crowd has made it illegal to teach Christianity in public schools, so we'll be damned if we're going to let you teach Islam. You want to teach a religion that makes women like cattle, decrees that you chop off your duaghter's head if she gets raped, or otherwise "shames the family", allows a man to take a preteen girl as ONE of his wives, practices gentital mutilation on young girls and is taught to kill you without a second thought, then go to some country where that religion is practiced,. Keep it out of our schools and our country.
anonymous
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September 26, 2011
I've had an opportunity to review the course materials and have read the entire passage in question. It presents a very one-sided view of a Muslim woman's role and Sharia. It neglects to inform the readers of rights Saudi women don't have, such as voting or driving a car. It neglects to advise readers of the harsh realities of Islamic life and severe, cruel punishments that go along with it.

The whole thing is age-inappropriate. We don't teach enough about our own government by 7th grade for those kids to understand the separation of church and state, so they can't possibly be ready to understand the dual role of Islam as both religion and law. They are also not ready to understand polygamy.
Pat Dawson
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September 26, 2011
Thanks Laura for bringing some local attention to these issues. We sure need it, and we need for people to understand the distinction between theoretical Islam and political Islam. We can tolerate the former, but the latter is inimical to our Constitution. I think the debate is much clearer when people understand that fact.
Jim Stoll
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September 26, 2011
Thank you Laura for telling it like it is. If all of you people with phony names think Islam is so great, why don't you go to any middle east Muslim country and try is on for awhile, particularly if you're a woman. Our government forces our children to take "under God" out of the pledge of allegiance when reciting it is school, refuses to allow prayer and forces us to remove all symbols of our Christian religion from public buildings and then secretly allows the teaching of the alleged benefits of another religion to grade school children in our schools. What rock have you been living under. If that isn't "Stealth Jihad", pray tell me what it is. If you think they should be allowed to teach it, at least demand the tell the truth in the process.
to anonymous
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September 26, 2011
You might brush up on your reading comprehension. The suggestion was that the adults in denial read Pamela Geller, not the children.
just sayin
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September 26, 2011
Saudi Arabia isn't all bad! Look on the bright side. They don't have abortion, flag burning or gay marriage. They don't permit drinking or sin, they support female modesty, capital punishment and will never have a leader of the minority race. Sounds like the kind of place conservatives could really get behing.
Justtobesure
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September 26, 2011
Just to be sure that you're really tolerant and open-minded, how would you feel if Michelle Duggar and her family came to the school to teach the girls her views on "modesty" and "marriage?"
hard pressed
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September 26, 2011
I am hard-pressed to understand why this material was being taught in the first place. If you are going to tell these kids something, let it be truthful. For instance, women in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to drive, women are second place citizens, many mistreated. Honor killings, etc. I think the whole thing is outrageous and furthermore, the decision makers need to be fired.

anonymous
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September 25, 2011
This is outrageous. It is hard to understand how some islam appeasers are trying to justify for example polygamy, considering polygamy is illegal in the US. Also, it is hard to understand why a textbook is trying to justify sharia, under which homosexuals get executed, women have fewer rights, apostates are getting killed and non-muslims like Christians and Jews are oppressed. Is that what the Georgia school system is trying to teach our children? This is not acceptable.
jeweytunes
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September 25, 2011
THANK YOU, Laura, for getting this out there. I saw it on Pam Gellar's website, and as a resident of Marietta I decided to come here to read the whole original article. Political correctness will be our nation's downfall...
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