School officials in San Diego are claiming they are immune to a lawsuit over their decision to allow a Muslim Brotherhood front group to gain “unprecedented power and influence” to the point of editing what is taught in classrooms.
They contend the complaint is “barred, in part, by principle of non-intervention into academic affairs, as the decisions at issue rested on bona fide academic judgments.”
Further, the school officials claim, they should be reimbursed for legal costs by the parents who were alarmed over the apparent illegal religious indoctrination “as all applicable decisions by the Board of Education of SDUSD were good faith management decisions.”
The lawsuit was brought on behalf of several families in the district after officials adopted a program that, according to the plaintiffs, singled out Muslim students for special privileges and called for school curricula changes to make it more favorable to Islam.
It also allowed the activist Council on American-Islamic Relations into classrooms to teach students “how to be allies” to Muslim students.
The district also paid thousands of dollars for CAIR’s recommended teaching materials, which were distributed to classrooms along with instructions for their use.
The district recently filed its response to the lawsuit brought by the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund, which is working on behalf of parents in the district.
Multiple pages of the school’s response deny any responsibility or knowledge.
School officials ask that the complaint be dismissed and the district be awarded “costs of suit and attorneys’ fees.”
Charles LiMandri, chief counsel of the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund, said: “Simply because San Diego Unified’s school board wants to address bullying does not mean they are free to discriminate on the basis of religion to achieve it. Moreover, there is zero evidence that the bullying of Muslim students is even a compelling issue.”
The district, he said, admitted there is no evidence of any anti-Muslim bullying. He said records disclose that CAIR was the “principal architect” of the school’s pro-Islam campaign to address bullying.
“CAIR officials were even invited by the superintendent to edit and finalize the initiative’s so-called ‘Action Steps’ for implementation. Despite the lack of any evidence of a bullying problem and in the face of widespread outcry by the school community, the district justifies the initiative as being an academic decision made under the sound judgment of the Board of Education,” FCDF said.
LiMandri said San Diego Unified “cannot rely on good faith to demonstrate that singling out a particular religious sect for favorable treatment is constitutional. ”
The Supreme Court has long held that dividing Americans along religious lines is by its very nature odious to a free people whose institutions – including public schools – are founded upon the doctrine of equality,” he said.
Five families and two organizations brought the complaint after the district’s “anti-Islamophobia” initiative became public knowledge.
The plan was for CAIR to teach students “how to become allies to Muslim students” and take a role in revising curriculum to be more “inclusive” of Islam.
“CAIR is notorious for its anti-Israel activism and ties to Islamic terrorism. Indeed, federal prosecutors identified CAIR as a Muslim Brotherhood front group, and the United Arab Emirates officially designates CAIR as a terrorist organization,” FCDF said.
WND reported earlier this month that the legal team was issuing investigative subpoenas to CAIR after a federal judge decided school officials must reveal details of their work with the Islamic advocacy organization.
FCDF is seeking communications between CAIR agents and the school district “as well as documents tracing the Islamic organization’s strategic process for gaining inside access to impressionable schoolchildren.”
“CAIR’s national director testified that proselytizing to schoolchildren is a ‘religious obligation,’ and the purpose of CAIR’s educational outreach, which includes passing out religious propaganda to students during class, is to ‘create a religious educational environment,” the organization said.
Also included in the subpoenas are requests for information about the Islamic Center of San Diego’s involvement in assisting CAIR through resources and information. For example, the wife of the local imam spearheads CAIR’s revisions to SDUSD’s curriculum.
“Allowing a radical religious organization to indoctrinate our public schoolchildren defies common sense and undermines the very history and logic of the First Amendment. We hope these subpoenas will shine more light on SDUSD’s unconstitutional relationship with CAIR,” LiMandri said.
The legal team explained the school board “purported to rescind the initiative last July” but obtained records show that SDUSD is still adopting and implementing CAIR’s program.
It has sought a preliminary injunction, stating: “Despite public statements to the contrary, defendants have strengthened their partnership with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). CAIR’s religious agenda is irrefutable; its divisiveness is undeniable. And strikingly, it prowls the schools not as a wolf in sheep’s clothing – in Justice Scalia’s words, ‘this wolf comes as a wolf.'”
But the program is in conflict with the Establishment Clause’s requirement taht one religious denomination cannot be officially preferred over another.
The FBIhas provided an abundance of evidence that CAIR is a front for the Muslim Brotherhood and its Palestinian branch, Hamas. And even a Persian Gulf state, the United Arab Emirates, has designated the Washington, D.C.-based organization a terrorist group.
‘The true faith, Islam’
The influence of Islam in public schools has become a nationwide issue.
In May, in Groesbeck, Texas, a couple moved their sixth-grade daughter to a new school after they discovered her history homework assignment on Islam.
In late March, as WND reported, a middle school in Chatham, New Jersey, was using a cartoon video to teach the Five Pillars of Islam to seventh-grade students, prompting two parents to obtain legal services to fight the school district, which has ignored their concerns.
WND also reported in March a high school in Frisco, Texas, has set up an Islamic prayer room specifically for Muslim students to pray on campus during school hours. The same type of prayer rooms have been set up in high schools in St. Cloud, Minnesota, and other school districts.
In 2015, parents in Tennessee asked the governor, legislature and state education department to investigate pro-Islam bias in textbooks and other materials.
WND reported in 2012 ACT for America conducted an analysis of 38 textbooks used in the sixth through 12th grades in public schools and found that since the 1990s, discussions of Islam are taking up more and more pages, while the space devoted to Judaism and Christianity has simultaneously decreased.
In 2009, Gilbert T. Sewall, director of the American Textbook Council, a group that reviews history books, told Fox News the texts were “whitewashing” Islamic extremism and key subjects such as jihad, Islamic law and the status of women.
Also in 2009, WND reported the middle school textbook “History Alive! The Medieval World and Beyond,” published by Teachers’ Curriculum Institute, said an Islamic “jihad” is an effort by Muslims to convince “others to take up worthy causes, such as funding medical research.”
In 2006, WND reported a school in Oregon taught Islam by having students study and learn Muslim prayers and dress as Muslims.
WND reported in 2003 a prominent Muslim leader who eventually was convicted on terror-related charges helped write the “Religious Expression in Public Schools” guidelines issued by President Bill Clinton.
In 2001, shortly after the 9/11 attacks, seventh graders in Byron, California, were taught a three-week course on Islam that required them to learn 25 Islamic terms, 20 proverbs, Islam’s Five Pillars of Faith, 10 key Islamic prophets and disciples, recite from the Quran, wear a robe during class, adopt a Muslim name and stage their own “holy war” in a dice game.
Parents went to court to uphold their right to reject the class for their children, but a federal judge ruled against them, and in 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider their appeal.