SAN DIEGO, June 20, 2017 —According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, in April of 2017, San Diego Unified School District trustees voted 4-0 to “confront Islamophobia and bullying against Muslim students.”
Naturally, no school should tolerate bullying. But rules against bullying already exist in all public schools. When special attention is given to a particular group, there is usually an agenda attached and the agenda looks rather obvious this time.
In addition to backlash about bullying, SDUSD teachers and administrators will highlight Muslim holidays on their calendars and teach about Islam in social studies classes. There will also be “safe places” at schools for Muslim students in an effort to confront so-called “Islamophobia.”
In the words of Stan Anjan, executive director of Family and Community Engagement, “It’s more of a comprehensive program, not just a curriculum…We’re looking at it from a very integrated and holistic approach” (San Diego Union-Tribune, April 5, 2017).
But the most critical part of this new program is its call for “a different approach in disciplining students who bully Muslim students. Rather than detention, the school will use a restorative justice method involving the student who did the bullying speaking with the other student to restore their relationship” (San Diego Union-Tribune, April 5, 2017).
It may come as no surprise that 150 members of the San Diego chapter of CAIR attended the meetings which preceded the new district ruling.
CAIR’s San Diego executive director Hanif Mohebia, referred to the vote as “an important first step.”
“If we do this right, San Diego Unified School District would be the leading school district in the nation to come up with a robust and beautiful anti-bully and anti-Islamophobic program…I’m really happy we’re going toward the right direction. I am excited, but also careful and cautious because the work ahead is something we will all be responsible for” (San Diego Union-Tribune, April 5, 2017).
Can you just imagine if we tried this with Christianity? Special “safe places” for Christian students? A change in the curriculum to teach about Christianity as part of social studies? Special rules that forbid speaking against Christianity? Would that include a limitation to what teachers can say in the classroom?
Would they have to stop espousing same-sex marriage or evolution or anything else contrary to the Bible since Christian students are offended? Don’t hold your breath! At the first moment of any restriction toward “Biblephobia” the ACLU would be over there faster than an ambulance chasing lawyer on catnip!
Back to Islam: Since this is a rule not only about ‘bullying” but “Islamophobia” our freedom of speech radars should be up.
After all, “Islamophobia” is defined today as any criticism of Islam, its Prophet Mohammad, or the Koran itself.
Since speaking against Islam is prohibited under Sharia Law, perceptive people will wonder if this is a mild version of Sharia being introduced at the school level.
Time will tell but the concern is understandable when we examine our wider American society. In that arena, Sharia has already reared its head in far more obvious ways.
In 2010, Fox News did a story about a court’s refusal to grant a restraining order out of respect for Islam:
“A New Jersey family court judge’s decision not to grant a restraining order to a woman who was sexually abused by her Moroccan husband and forced repeatedly to have sex with him is sounding the alarm for advocates of laws designed to ban Sharia in America.”
“Judge Joseph Charles, in denying the restraining order to the woman after her divorce, ruled that her ex-husband felt he had behaved according to his Muslim beliefs — and that he did not have ‘criminal desire to or intent to sexually assault’ his wife” (Maxim Lott, Fox News, August 5, 2010).
Thankfully, that ruling was overturned by a higher court. But it should send chills up your spine that the lower court judge ruled that way in the first place!
But don’t think for a minute that this was the end of Sharia Law in the United States!
In that same year, 2010, Oklahoma City passed a measure that would forbid courts to take into consideration any law other than the laws of our Constitution. Imagine that! A U.S. State wanting to live only under the U.S. Constitution! This law, known as State Question 755 was passed with a high majority of the vote, 70 percent! It said, “Specifically, the courts shall not consider international law or sharia law.”
A lawsuit was filed by a certain Muneer Awad, who was at the time directing the Oklahoma chapter of CARE (Council on American-Islamic Relations.) Awad claimed that this new law violated his “1st Amendment rights.”
He won the lawsuit and the ruling was upheld by the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals which agreed with the appellate court’s assertion that no example of Sharia Law application had ever been used in an Oklahoma court and thus the law was unnecessary.
If our country is not careful, we will go the way of France and Great Britain who in order to avoid accusations of discrimination have placated to their non-assimilating Muslim culture to the point where they are up to their necks and clueless as to how to get out of it.
Bob Siegel is a weekend radio talk show host on KCBQ and a columnist. Details of his show can be found at www.bobsiegel.net