Schools for Muslims

Education Gadfly links to stories on Islamic education.

Time profiles a suburban Chicago school that sounds like a traditional Catholic school, only Islamic. The school prepares students to be Americans of the Muslim faith.

Jordan is rewriting textbooks and rethinking curricula to downplay jihad, reports the New York Times.

AMMAN, Jordan – By Middle Eastern standards, Jordanian schoolbooks are relatively free of bombast. But some textbooks used here to teach Islamic culture contain nefarious conspiracies that just will not go away.

There is the Western plot to divide the Muslim world. There is the conniving Jew seeking to destroy Islam. And there is the call for a return to the faith in response.

Gadfly also responds to a New York Times op-ed, “The Madrassa Myth.”

Finally, two days after the Times discussed the widespread violent fundamentalism associated with Islamic schools, it published an op-ed asserting that the United States has nothing to fear from madrassas (religious Muslim schools, which are often accused of fostering violent Islamic fundamentalism, see here) because such schools “do not teach the technical or linguistic skills necessary to be an effective terrorist.” The authors, Peter Bergen and Swati Pandey, attempt to prove this by noting that only nine of 75 terrorists behind recent terror attacks were educated at madrassas. Yikes. Even if these schools aren’t teaching the “technical” skills of terrorism, they often imbue young Muslims with a violent interpretation of Islam that fosters and foments these terrorist acts.

Madrassas teach students to memorize the Koran and obey their religious superiors. They’re not big on teaching “critical thinking” skills.

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Comments

  1. Are we to infer that critical thinking and religious observance are antonymic? That doesn’t sound so unreasonable.

  2. It would certainly sound unreasonable to observant Jews and Jesuits, Dave.

  3. Richard Brandshaft says:

    In a way Islam is the same as Christianity or Judaism: fine as long as you confine it to charity and going to church Sunday or Saturday. Not so good if you allow it to impinge on everyday life.

    Jews believe they are God’s chosen people. Catholics believe almost everyone but Catholics are damned (and the Catholics have to be careful). That’s no reason Jews and Catholics can’t get along. Why sweat the small stuff?

    In America, we take that so much for granted that we forget just how evil religion is.

    Deeply religious Ireland is a terrorist nation, the Iran of the West, left out of the Axis Of Evil by “virtue” of being light skinned and Christian. Ulster is the only place in the world where the difference between Catholic and Protestant can still get you killed.

    In Christian American we have the involuntary pregnancy movement. We even restrict medical research for fear allowing it would compromise the rationalization for the involuntary pregnancy movement.

    Islam is just as incompatible with decency as Christianity would be if it weren’t confined to Sunday morning. No one like to put it that way, since the conservatives in control of America are trying to reverse decades, if not centuries, of progress.

  4. Posting for TypeKey victim Bill Leonard:

    Those quoted in the Gadfly link seem moderate enough, by muslim standards, and yet one must wonder: are they that threatened by another culture? Do they really fear Islam is that vulnerable to US secular influences?

    Sure, their kids might show up at school or the dinner table with colored hair. But so what? As a grandfather with adult children in their 30s, I can tell you that’s par for the course; it is a part of virtually every teenager’s quest for an identity. Part of that quest is the trying on of various uniforms — the clothes, the music and all the rest. Our personal experience has been that, if you are clear about your values and your limits — and if you set reasonable limits — you haven’t much to fear in the long run.

    But it strikes me that some degree of rebellion is inevitable, and things such as the forced wearing of headscarves and long, ungainly dresses only squelches that rebellion, allowing it to boil beneath the surface until it explodes at a later time.

    I also wonder about the degree to which this muslim school addresses the realities of most muslim countries on the planet — that is, if there were a glorious present to complement the presumed glorious past, would there be any need for them to be in the US?

    — Bill Leonard

  5. There seems to be something wrong with your Trackbacks. I tried to do a trackback with http://donsingleton.blogspot.com/2005/06/schools-for-muslims.html and http://donsingleton.blogspot.com/2005/06/blogs-for-homeschoolers.html
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  6. Bill Leonard wrote:
    are they that threatened by another culture?

    We’re talking about a culture that believes anyone outside of it should be killed.

    Sure, their kids might show up at school or the dinner table with colored hair. But so what?

    A son might be able to get away with that, but a daughter(if she were even allowed to attend school in the first place) would likely be beaten or killed.

    But it strikes me that some degree of rebellion is inevitable, and things such as the forced wearing of headscarves and long, ungainly dresses only squelches that rebellion, allowing it to boil beneath the surface until it explodes at a later time.

    Explodes, eh? A very appropriate choice of words. 🙂

  7. BadaBing says:

    “In a way Islam is the same as Christianity or Judaism: fine as long as you confine it to charity and going to church Sunday or Saturday. Not so good if you allow it to impinge on everyday life.”

    Excellent observation, Richard. We don’t want any of that Biblical stuff, such as don’t covet, don’t commit adultery, don’t commit murder, Levitical sanitation rites, the story of the good Samaritan, the Sermon on the Mount, the Apostle Paul’s elevation of women, etc., impacting our lives. What kind of society would that beget?

  8. Yes, Badabind, we don’t want any of that Biblical stuff such as “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” When we win a war, we don’t treat the conquered the way Yahweh supposedly told the Hebrews to treat the Midianites. We don’t want laws attempting to enforce “Thou shalt not have any gods before me”, or the cops going down to the Catholic church to break their “graven images”.

    Out of the 10 Commandments, there are only three that the average American wants to see enforced by criminal law – murder, theft, and perjury. And if you think non-Christian societies approved of these, you’re both ignorant and nuts.

    Adultery (which is basically breaking a contract) is more reasonably treated through civil law than by stoning. “Honor thy father and mother” is good advice, but not something you’d want to see enforced in court. If you take “coveting” to mean going green with envy or going deep into debt to keep up with the neighbors, not doing it is good life advice, but if it was enforced in court, we’d need more prisons than housing projects. (That’s one or two commandments depending on which version you look at.) An this leaves four or five commandments that are purely religious.

  9. BadaBing says:

    You’re a secularist, markm, and secularists venerate legality above morality. The way you cite Biblical passages also shows how legalistic (Are you a lawyer?) and Biblically ignorant you are. Note that I said nothing about arresting adulterers or having witches burned at the stake. Secularists such as yourself like to trot that one out to show how cruel and irrational Christianity supposedly is. I know of no pastor or theologian today that would interpret Biblical passages the way you do, taking them out of textual and historical context and, thereby, twisting their meanings.

    Tell me, would you rather live in a society where people strive to be good and to follow moral principals based on their belief in a higher authority than courts, or in a legalistic society in which moral values are relative and the only thing between people and “wrong-doing” is a set of laws?

    I’ll take the former. Aside from the moral imperatives incumbent upon Jews and Christians, believers form their world view around a summum bonum. The Westminster Catechism words it thusly: “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” I submit that people who find meaning in life in a transcendent and supremely good being will generally be better people than those who don’t.

    Since secularism lacks any self-control component, which is a major part of religion, the secularist Left passes more and more laws to control people. This is why there is a direct link between the decline of Judeo-Christian values and the proliferation of federal and state laws designed to control human behavior. Actually, the real moral tyrants are not so-called Bible thumpers but professors and administrators on today’s university campuses, where students are intimidated or shamed into following the party line.

    Incidentally, I recall hearing about a tribe in New Guinea or Africa that thought it honorable to steal from others’ vegetable gardens. Their religion condoned it. All religions are not equal, but I wonder why you bring up “non-Christian societies” anyway since most people are aware that the “Golden Rule” is not confined only to Christianity.

    Or do you take exception to Judaism and Christianity only?

  10. Richard Brandshaft says:

    “Since secularism lacks any self-control component…”
    That, of course, is a major advantage of religion. For example, while a secularist who feels a sexual attraction for children might give in to it, a religious person would be constrained by a higher morality, or at least by fear of hell. That’s why clergymen, who are seeped in religion, never molest children. Oh, wait…

    OK, while a few individuals may be so in the grip of abnormal lusts as to loose all control, religious organizations have a built in safeguard. While secularist bureaucrats instinctively cover things up, religious organizations are composed of people who know they answer to God. They can be expected to deal properly with a few aberrant clergymen. Oh, wait…

    Well, sometimes people, while professing religion, will deviate from the true path.

    OK, that fixes it. People who do bad things are not truly religious. (Just like Muslim terrorists are not true Muslims.) If people who do bad things are not true Christians (or Muslims or Jews), then religious people are good. Whew. BadaBing’s theory is saved. Now if the Catholic hierarchy will just admit they are undercover secularists, all the confusion they generated would be cleared up. But why should they? Secularists have no consciences.

    “…the secularist Left passes more and more laws to control people. This is why there is a direct link between the decline of Judeo-Christian values and the proliferation of federal and state laws designed to control human behavior.”

    Yet more undercover secularists, pretending to be the conservative sex police and the conservative involuntary pregnancy movement.

    “…Actually, the real moral tyrants are not so-called Bible thumpers but professors and administrators on today’s university campuses, where students are intimidated or shamed into following the party line.”

    As every whining, ultra-sensitive, fragile-ego conservative knows, being forced to attend a university where you hold minority opinions is just as horrible as having the weight of the state’s sex police land on you. That’s because conservatives, being secularists, lack the moral support of religion and hence have no spines.

  11. Since secularism lacks any self-control component, which is a major part of religion, the secularist Left passes more and more laws to control people.

    The problem here is not secularism, it’s the Left. And secularism does include self-control; really no civilization, or even life itself, is possible without self-control. It is possible to lead a moral life without needless fears and guilts, such as damnation.

    I wouldn’t call hard-core leftists “secularists” either. Their socio-political belief system is pretty much a religion/cult, but without God.

    The real bottom line is that religious conservatives believe everyone (including themselves) to be stupid, brutal, corrupt, sexually perverted, and generally evil at heart. Leftists (including many so-called liberals) believe everyone to be smart and good, but corruptible by society. To them, everything is a matter of society and tribes, and evil is never personal.

    The reality is that there are good people, and there are bad people.

    This is why there is a direct link between the decline of Judeo-Christian values and the proliferation of federal and state laws designed to control human behavior.

    Proliferation? Of laws against abortion, contraception, pornography, and private sexual behavior (such as “sodomy”). Arguably even the drug laws, which have been the greatest boon to modern mafias?

    What has happened is that one set of repressive laws has replaced another.

    Actually, the real moral tyrants are not so-called Bible thumpers but professors and administrators on today’s university campuses, where students are intimidated or shamed into following the party line.

    Moral tyrants exist everywhere. They are aided and abetted by ordinary people incapable of handling freedom and responsibility, who need Big Government as a moral crutch.

  12. Beeman wrote:
    really no civilization, or even life itself, is possible without self-control.

    Exactly. That’s why the decline of self-control is something to be concerned about. Leftists work to destroy self-control because people who can’t control themselves need someone else to do it for them. Extreme conservatives try to counter it with laws of their own, thinking they’re helping society to restore self-control when all they’re really doing is helping the leftists. Laws are all the leftists have, so the strategy of conservatives(or anyone who loves their freedom) should be to repeal all the laws they can and be very selective about the ones they support. The trouble is politicians don’t think like this.

    Proliferation? Of laws against abortion, contraception, pornography, and private sexual behavior (such as “sodomy”).

    Well, I support a ban on abortion for the same reason I assume you support laws against murder, but I’m with you on the others.

    Arguably even the drug laws, which have been the greatest boon to modern mafias?

    Not arguably, definitely. I’m fairly certain the support on this one is bi-partisan, though, so let’s not go blaming the federal drug ban on conservatives.

  13. nailsagainsttheboard says:

    We are in a war between Jihadist, ‘radical’ Islam and the West (ie. Judaism and Christianity), which is essentially World War 3…unfortunately, the 85% ‘moderates’ of the Religion of Peace do nothing to stop the 15% of Muslims who want the entire planet under Sharia. Vietnam-era tactics will do nothing to stop this cold-blooded murder (beheadings,incineration, homicide bombs, take your pick)…the West needs to use overwhelming force on selected targets, as was done in World War 2. Meanwhile, shut down the madrassas under the Alien and Sedition Act and deport those here with student or religious visas. The INS and Department of Homeland Security are failing the American people, as long as this is allowed to fester. Madrassas are part of the enemy within. For more in depth info on terror cells within the U.S., read Steven Emerson’s books or visit littlegreenfootballs.com for a good start.