Precinct 333

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Muslims Offended -- What Else Is New?

The friendly terrorist-supporters at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (which has had at least three board members or employees convicted on terrorism-related charges) has sent a letter of complaint to the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools after a Houston area school received a letter from the 238 member group's director, Edd Burleson, that asked questions it believed to be "alarmingly intolerant and hostile attitude toward Islam and Muslims." The group is joined in its concerns by the ACLU and the Anti-Defamation League.
In his correspondence, Burleson quoted a verse from the Quran as calling on Muslims to be violent toward Christians and Jews. He noted that most TAPPS member schools are Christian. "Why do you wish to join an organization whose membership is basically in total disagreement with your religious beliefs?" he asked in the two-page letter, which included 10 questions.

He asks about the school's attitude toward "the spread of Islam in America" and the goals of the school "in this regard."

Finally, he suggests that some TAPPS members may not be tolerant of Muslims: "Why do you think that the current member schools of TAPPS will not be biased against your school, based on the fundamental difference in your religion and Christianity, since about 90% of TAPPS schools embrace Christianity?"

I think the first point is legitimate. Given the incredible anti-Semitic and anti-Christian nature of much of Islam today, raising the question of how the school and its students will interact with other member schools is legitimate. The Quran does include calls for violence against non-Muslims which have been used in recent years to justify certain unpleasant incidents involving the World Trade Center, Pentagon, commercial aircraft, US diplomatic compounds in other countries and US military installations and personnel around the world. Does the admission of the school to TAPPS constitute a threat to the safety of students from other schools?

The second point is probably irrelevant. Most of the schools in TAPPS have an explicit mission about spreading the Christian religion and its influence. Unless the question is again related to the use of violence, it does not particularly make sense to focus on such a mission on the part of an Islamic school while not doing so with regard to Christian schools.

The third is an interesting question. Dar-Ul-Arqam would be putting its students in a potentially hostile environment, given the radically different ethos it strives to impart. Given current realities, is membership in TAPPS beneficial. And given that many of the schools are evangelical in nature, does it make sense that Muslim students should be participating in a league in which most of their fellow students view Islam as a Satanic counterfeit? Is Dar-Ul-Arqam prepared to deal with the difficulties of other students expressing religious beliefs that by Muslim standards are blasphemous (which Muslims are required to punish by killing the offender)? Or what about the issue of Christian students "witnessing" to students from Dar-Ul-Arqam, given that a Muslim who apostasizes is to be punished with death under Islamic law, as is one who seeks to convert a Muslim to another religion? Or are students from the other 238 schools to be muzzled on religious matters to avoid offending the beliefs and practices of Islam? For that matter, what about the obvious issues that come up when the Islamic school is scheduled to compete against a team called the Crusaders? Will schools be expected to change their team names to avoid giving offense to the Muslim school?

All-in-all, Burleson raised good points in a poor way. But I suppose it could be worse. He could have asked if the school would be traveling to events via jet, and if students would be bringing their "improvised explosive devices" to TAPPS events. Given the support that Dar-Ul-Arqam is receiving from CAIR, those might not be bad questions after all.


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