Federal officials are being urged to drop Obama administration policies that give special treatment to Muslim students in violation of the Constitution.
The request comes from the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund, which is opposing in court several school districts over practices favoring Muslims.
The group’s letter is addressed to John Gore, the acting assistant attorney general in the civil rights division of the Justice Department, and Kenneth Marcus, the assistant secretary for civil rights in the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.
The organization is asking the government to rescind policies in which schools “single out a religious sect for preferential treatment or otherwise classify on the basis of religion” and allow “sectarian organizations like CAIR to advance their political or religious agenda in schools.”
It also should define “bullying” and “harassment,” and focus “on an alleged bully’s objectively offensive conduct rather than his motive or intent.”
The letter explains: “To be clear, school districts do have a wide range of constitutionally sound measures to address violence, threats, and abuses. But schools should ensure an equally safe and welcoming educational environment for all students, regardless of religion.”
The letter points out that the current practices, implemented under Obama, include a “Fact Sheet” on how to combat discrimination “against Muslim students.”
There’s also a guidance called “Twenty Plus Things Schools Can Do to Respond to or Prevent Hate Incidents Against Arab-Americans, Muslims, and Sikhs,” which tells schools to identify special concerns of students with those religions and create “cultural awareness learning opportunities” about them.
“In addition, the DOJ has ‘sponsored a series of webinars,’ including ‘Strategies for Educators, Counselors, and Community Members to Bulid Protective Factors for America’s Muslim Youth.”
However, the letter argues, the Free Exercise Clause and the Establishment Clause “prohibit the government from officially preferring one religious group to another.”
‘To that end, the government ‘may not adopt programs or practices which aid or oppose any religion.'”
If fact, the FCDF explained, the government does “not have any similar policies directing school districts to protect Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, or atheist students from bullying.”
“The government should not be encouraging schools to divide students along religious lines,” said Daniel Piedra, FCDF’s executive director. “No doubt educators have a grave responsibility to protect students from bullying, including Muslim students, but the Constitution prohibits school districts from adopting any program that favors or disfavors a particular religion.”
The letter notes the issue is at the center of one of FCDF’s current cases.
Five families and two advocacy groups sued San Diego’s public school district in 2017 because of its “anti-Islamophobia initiative.” The district claimed there was wide-spread bullying of Muslim students.
“In doing so, the district school board relied on surveys provided by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an Islamic advocacy organization. CAIR claimed that after President Donald Trump’s election, a ‘plague’ of Muslim bullying had swept through district schools.”
But the truth was that in 2015 and 2016 there were only two reported incidents of bullying related to Muslim students, the letter says.
“On the other hand, the district reported 11 incidents of anti-Semitic bullying.”
Classifying students according to their religion embodies “stereotypes that treat individuals as the product of their [religion], evaluating their thoughts and efforts – their very worth as citizens – according to a criterion barred to the government by history and the Constitution,” the letter says.
“Given the Supreme Court’s commitment to equality and neutrality, the [government] should rescind any policy or guideline directing public schools to single any religious group for special protections.”
The letter also pulls back the curtain on CAIR’s agenda in schools, paraphrasing founder co-founder Omar Ahmed saying, “Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant.” He said the Quran should be “the highest authority in America.”
And Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR’s spokesman, once said in a newspaper interview: “I wouldn’t want to create the impression that I wouldn’t like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future. But I’m not going to do anything violent to promote that. I’m going to do it through education.”
A further danger is that a religion-based anti-bullying plan “goes beyond an alleged bully’s conduct and instead focuses on his motives (e.g., whether he is ‘Islamophobic’) and ultimately his political or religious beliefs. This Orwellian approach empowers school officials – or even outside groups like CAIR – to ‘re-educate’ the student so that he conforms to institutional expectations,” the letter says.
But schools are to educate, not indoctrinate, the letter states.
in addition to the San Diego case, FCDF has sent a records request to the Gilroy Unified School District in Gilroy, California, because of a possible constitutional violation for allegedly allowing Muslim groups to indoctrinate students.
“Last year, a Muslim high school student complained to school officials she was bullied after Donald Trump got elected and that she was offended by a class assignment that included a Fox News op-ed,” the legal team explained.
“After school board members met with the student’s family, the district engaged in ‘great partnerships’ with the Islamic Networks Group (ING) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) to conduct ‘Islamophobia’ presentations and lecture students at school assemblies about Islam,” the group said.
However, the legal team said courts repeatedly have ruled students suffer spiritual and psychological harm if they are exposed to religious indoctrination in a compulsive educational environment.
FCDF seeks emails between school officials and ING and CAIR since the 2016 election.
The local Gilroy Dispatch reported the student claimed to have been bullied and became a celebrity, sitting down for interviews with the likes of National Geographic.
Shortly after Trump’s election, the Muslim student, a freshman, claimed to have first encountered bullying.
‘The true faith, Islam’
The influence of Islam in public schools has become a nationwide issue.
In May 2017, 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 2017, 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 2017 a high school in Frisco, Texas, 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.