The “separation of church and state” is certainly upheld in today’s government schools. As for the separation of mosque and state, well, not so much.
A case in point is Chatham Middle School (CMS) in Chatham, New Jersey, where students were shown Islamic propaganda videos that included an explicit call to convert to Islam.
The School District of the Chathams (SDC) now faces a federal lawsuit in the New Jersey District Court by the nonprofit Thomas More Law Center. Filed Jan. 23, the plaintiff is NJ parent Libby Hilsenrath, acting on behalf of her 12-year-old son, a student at CMS. The suit alleges First Amendment violations and names as defendants several officials and teachers at CMS and the school district.
At issue is a seventh-grade World Geography and Cultures class that, Hilsenrath states, ignored Christianity, Judaism, and other religions while treating Islam as objectively true. Particularly egregious is a video the children were shown entitled “What is Islam? A brief introduction for Non-Muslims,” which is clearly designed to proselytize. Just consider the quotations from it below, presented to the students as facts:
• “Allah is the one God who created the heavens and the earth, who has no equal and is all powerful.”
• “Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is the last and final Messenger of God. God gave him the Noble Quran.”
• “Lo, We have sent thee (O Muhammad) with the truth, a bringer of glad tidings and a warner.”
• “What is the Noble Quran? Divine Revelation sent to Muhammad (S) last Prophet of Allah. A Perfect guide for Humanity.”
• “The Noble Quran: Guidance, Mercy and Blessing for all Mankind.”
•“The Noble Quran: Without any doubt and an eloquent guide from Allah.”
• “The Beautiful Quran: Guidance for the wise and sensible.”
• “Islam: A shining beacon against the darkness of repression, segregation, intolerance and racism…”.
The video is slickly made and persuasive, set to a musical version of an Islamic poem named “Qaseedah Burdah.” While the tune is beautiful, the song describes “Christians and Jews as ‘infidels’ and prais[es] Muhammad in gruesome detail for slaughtering them,” according to the legal complaint.
In addition, CMS’s Islamic assignment also included a subtle propaganda cartoon video called 5 Pillars, and a worksheet component that “focused on the shahada, what Hilsenrath calls ‘the Islamic conversion creed and prayer,’” Courthouse News tells us.
And how would a corresponding in-school exposition on Christianity be received? We don’t have to wonder because another CMS parent already found out — the hard way. Appearing last February on Tucker Carlson Tonight beside Hilsenrath, Nancy Gayer explained how, three years earlier, “her son inserted a short Bible quotation in a slideshow, but was unable to present [it] to his class because the teacher pulled him aside to tell him such a mention ‘belongs in Sunday School,’” reported Fox News Insider at the time.
Unfortunately, what also weren’t received well were Hilsenrath’s and Gayer’s complaints. After voicing their concerns about the Islamic propaganda while attending a school board meeting, their request to meet with the district superintendent, Michael LaSusa, was denied. But this just reflects a hostility that Hilsenrath says the school feels toward Christians. As Courthouse News also informs, “When confronted about the curriculum in January 2017, according to the complaint, Chatham’s social studies department chair sent an email where he linked to what he called a ‘priceless’ clip from TV’s ‘The West Wing.’ In the scene, the president character mocks a fundamentalist Christian about various [tenets] of the Old Testament, such as its endorsement of slavery.”
Moreover, Hilsenrath and Gayer stated “they were labeled bigots and xenophobes after their appearance at the school board meeting, and Hilsenrath said her position was compared to that of the Ku Klux Klan,” reported Fox News Insider.
Also interesting, and suspicious, is that no one can say who created the “What is Islam?” video. I couldn’t ferret out the source; the Thomas More Law Center didn’t know; and neither, apparently, did CMS officials or Superintendent LaSusa (whom I contacted). Was it ISIS? That’s highly unlikely, but we’ve no idea. Shouldn’t a school know, however, who created materials it’s showing to children? And why the secrecy?
Whoever it was, it obviously was someone who doesn’t know history — or doesn’t want others to know it. After all, the video contains historical errors that serve to exalt Islamic civilization. For example, the video states that Muslims “created a tradition of…scientific thought”; rediscovered lost sciences “while Europe languished in the dark”; and that the Renaissance was based on the work of Muslim thinkers, with Thomas Aquinas using “the writings of Muslim Scholar Averroes to sow the seeds of the European Renaissance.”
The reality is that Islam’s role in science and philosophy has been greatly exaggerated. In fact, the aforementioned Averroes advanced a notion called “dual truth,” which is contrary to Christian rationality and was wholly rejected by Aquinas. As American Thinker noted in 2006, “Western Christianity's rational tradition developed in the Medieval [sic] era precisely as a result of the outright rejection of the irrationalism inherent in Islamic philosophy, not the embracing of it.”
We can be sure that CMS isn’t teaching that Islam’s prophet, Muhammad, was a warlord and slave owner and trader who used mass murder and torture to achieve his ends; that the Koran has scores of verses calling on Muslims to wage war with nonbelievers; or that the Islamic canon (Koran, Sira, and Hadiths) contains almost 10 times as many words devoted to political violence as does the Old Testament.
The second-to-last message of the “What is Islam” video is, “May God help us all find the true faith, Islam. Ameen.” As for the School District of the Chathams, its website includes the message, “When given the choice between being right or being kind… CHOOSE KIND.” What a shame that with its Islamic teaching it chose to not only be wrong, but, as Hilsenrath’s experience evidences, unkind as well.