U.S. taxpayers are supporting a new government program overseas to teach students about Islam that, according to critics, attempts to convert the impressionable into becoming Muslim.
According to the Gatestone Institute, a non-partisan nonprofit that works on international policy issues and reports to the public, the new program is being run by the Czech Republic but is funded by a grant from the U.S. Embassy in Prague.
A descriptive page found on the website for the project, called “Muslims in the Eyes of Czech Schoolchildren,” attests that the funding is from a U.S. Embassy grant, the Anna Lindh Foundation, the European Commission Representation and the Prague library.
The program, according to coordinator and lecturer Klara Popovova, has the “patronage,” or support, of the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports.
The Obama administration has taken criticism for the president’s bowing repeatedly to foreign dignitaries, including the king of Saudi Arabia, and statements such as the U.S. “no longer” is a Christian nation.
He’s also boasted of Muslim contributions to American history while forcing employers and employees to fund abortion, even if it violates their faith.
The report from Soeren Kern at Gatestone notes that critics are blasting the program for having as its underlying objective the conversion of non-Muslim students to Islam.
It happens, they charge, by bringing proselytizing messages into public schools “under the guise of promoting multiculturalism and fighting ‘Islamophobia.'”
The report notes that the funders even ran an ad recently promising to pay $13 to students ages 15 to 18 if they attend a two-hour presentation “about Islam.”
On the website, one of the students, Agnes, age 6, wrote: “I learned that veiling [in Islam] is often voluntary.” A theology professor noted, “It’s not just a summary of relevant information, but also to promote the development of critical reflection on information. ”
The Gatestone report explains the program moves in phases, teaching Islamic beliefs and practices by first looking at textbook references to Islam, then acquainting “both pupils and teachers with Islam and Muslims.”
Kern explained that a variety of lectures are included.
“One such lecture entitled ‘Paths of Young Czech Women to Islam’ answers questions such as: What makes a young Czech woman want to become a Muslim? It is the main motive always falling in love with a Muslim man or are there other reasons? How does one convert to Islam? How can new Muslims cope with non-Muslim relatives?”
Supporters of the lessons explain online: “The Muslim community in the Czech Republic is small, but it raises strong emotions. Issues relating to Muslims or Islam appear almost daily in television news, newspapers and Internet debates. But the topic is discussed only marginally in regular school lessons. This condition leads to acceptance and subsequent consolidation of prejudices and stereotypes that are supported by latent Islamophobia. We would like this project to contribute to improving the situation. We provide information about Islam that is factually accurate. Students will also have the opportunity to meet with Muslims and get to know them before forming an opinion of them.”
Even though Muslims make up only an estimated one-tenth of one percent of the Czech population, there already have been conflicts. Several women objected to a dress code at a nursing school because there were told to remove their hijab head covering. And more recently, Muslims there have tried to ban a book about Islam.
Gatestone said its research showed that the U.S. taxpayers were promoting Islam in Europe in other ways, such as making contacts with Muslim groups there and working with various Muslim projects.