Not only do Islamists want to censure the handling of Islamic topics at U.S. universities, as I noted in “Islamists Police the Classroom [at the University of South Florida],” but they also wish to do the same at grammar schools. More ominously yet, they wish to transform public schools at all levels into venues for spreading Islam.
An undated posting at www.SoundVision.com posts a page titled “18 Tips for Imams and Community Leaders.” The 15th tip, “Establish a parents' committee to monitor public schools,” has special interest. It starts by asking if the local public school is teaching 10-year-olds that Muslims are terrorists and misogynists? If so, parents are advised to set up a committee “to monitor public school curriculum and developments” and arrange for Muslims to deliver talks about Islam and Muslims. For instance, as Ramadan approaches, a parent should explain the holiday to the school or in a social studies class. When a high-profile “incident of terrorism where Muslims are the perpetrators” takes place, the committee should ask to discuss Islam and terrorism. More broadly, the committee should lobby on behalf of Muslim concerns.
Another website points to a far deeper agenda, that of da‘wa, or using taxpayer-funded schools to proselytize for Islam. www.DawaNet.com’s goals are summed up by an article it hosts: “How to Make America an Islamic Nation.” But what concerns us is a page, “Dawa in public schools,” that portrays public schools as “fertile grounds where the seeds of Islam can be sowed inside the hearts of non-Muslim students. Muslim students should take ample advantage of this opportunity and present to their schoolmates the beautiful beliefs of Islam.” This, the website asserts, is best achieved through both direct and indirect steps. Direct means overt da‘wa:
· Host Islamic exhibitions.
· Start an Islamic newsletter.
· Set up “Dawa tables” offering Islamic literature.
· Carry “Dawa flyers” from the Islamic Circle of North America and pass them out to non-Muslims.
· Place advertisements in the school paper with a toll-free telephone number for non-Muslims to call to learn more about Islam.
· Establish one-to-one contacts with non-Muslim students (along gender lines: “It is advised that brothers work with non-Muslim boys and sisters work with non-Muslim girls”).
Indirect partially means creating a good image for Islam:
· Found Muslim groups that portray Islam “in a positive way,” such as a Muslim Students Association, Islamic Circle, or Quran Study Group.
· Engage in “simple actions that reflect living Islam,” such as saying “Insha Allah” (God willing), praying, and wearing Islamic-style clothing.
· Take advantage of disasters to set up a disaster relief assistance booth to give “a very positive picture of Islam and Muslims.”
Or indirect means increasing consciousness of Islam:
· Make use of the school newspaper: “Being a writer will give you ample opportunity to provide Islamically oriented articles which will Insha Allah [if God wishes] open the hearts and minds of readers.” Ideally, an article on Islam should appear in each issue. If the school does not allow overt preaching, “Alhamdu lillah, there are ways to circumvent this problem,’ such as reporting on Islamic events or writing about Islamic holidays. “This way, you are still presenting an aspect of Islam without coming across as a preacher.” DawaNet.com also coyly instructs its adepts “to have a good rapport with the editor and the writing staff of the paper.”
· Lobby to include Islamic dates on the school calendar.
· Add books and magazines on Islam written by Muslims to the school library; if the library does not purchase them, raise the money to donate them.
· Incorporate Islam into class projects. For example, “for a speech class, if there is freedom to choose a topic, an Islamic topic should be selected. Similar opportunities can be created in history, social science, writing and other classes.”
DawaNet.com concludes by reminding Muslims that the will of Allah, faith, and Muslim creativity combined to win victories in the past and can again in the future:
Schools and campuses are no exceptions as places where Islam can be victorious. … We should use every opportunity to sensitize non-Muslim peers and school staff to Islam and to establish an environment in which everywhere a non-Muslim turns, he notices Islam portrayed in a positive way, is influenced by it and eventually accepts Islam.
(1) This is a total perversion of the American public space, a blatant effort to suborn it to serve Islamic missionary purposes.
(2) Such an attempt by Islamists hardly comes as a surprise but rather complements their already in-place campaign to exploit textbooks and curricula supplements for da‘wa purposes.
(3) The “multikulti” spirit so prevalent in American schools today means that too many parents, teachers, and administrators find themselves virtually helpless to stand up to this assault on the traditional values of the public school.
Daniel Pipes (www.DanielPipes.org) is director of the Middle East Forum and author of Miniatures (Transaction Publishers).