Parents of San Diego public school students have returned to a federal court in their case against the district’s promotion of Islam, asking the judge to reconsider her denial of their request to halt an “anti-Islamophobia initiative.”
The parents, who are organized as the Citizens For Quality Education San Diego, charge the San Diego Unified School District’s program in partnership with the Council on American-Islamic Relations favors Muslim students in violation of the Constitution.
Ahead of a hearing scheduled for Nov. 26, the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund, on behalf of the parents, have filed a brief in support of a motion asking the Judge Cynthia Bashant to reconsider her denial of a preliminary order to stop the program while the case proceeds.
The brief contends the judge overlooked material facts demonstrating the district is advancing the sectarian agenda of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR. It asserts her conclusion the district no longer is partnering with CAIR is “manifestly erroneous.”
CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator in a terror-funding case and has been designated by the United Arab Emirates as a terror organization. Evidence entered in the terror-funding case showed CAIR is a front group for the Muslim Brotherhood, which advocates a worldwide Islamic caliphate with no tolerance for other religions.
Bashant forbade references to those facts in her courtroom as irrelevant.
The brief contends the judge “ignored the statistics showing no evidence of Islamophobia in the school district and instead held that President Trump’s election was a reason compelling enough to override the parents’ argument that the initiative violates the First Amendment.”
A school district official instructed another to prepare a plan that specifically was based on CAIR’s talking points, the brief asserts.
The district spent more than $1,200 on books that CAIR recommended, and a school official told CAIR, “With any funds left over, we would like to order the other titles that we have given u.”
“Relying on spurious claims of rampant nationwide ‘Islamophobia’ squarely conflicts with Supreme Court precedent,” said Daniel Piedra, FCDF’s executive director. “There is zero evidence of MAGA hat-wearing students prowling the schools and terrorizing Muslim students. No doubt the school district has good intentions, but a religiously preferential school program requires an actual problem in need of solving.”
The school’s deal with CAIR “offers Muslim students special bullying protections and empowers the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a controversial Islamic advocacy organization, to revise school curricula for a more ‘inclusive’ portrayal of Islam. CAIR also is authorized to prosecute students accused of being Islamophobic,” the legal team said.
“Government statistics show schoolchildren of all religions face bullying, not just Muslim students,” Piedra said. “While combating religiously motivated bullying is a compelling interest, any school initiative that singles out a specific religious sect for preferential treatment is unconstitutional.”
School officials voted in April 2017 to enter into a formal partnership with CAIR. Books were purchased and distributed.
Then, amid resistance from parents, the board modified its plan and established an “intercultural” committee, telling CAIR it still was a major partner in the work.
The parents asserted the program violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution and California state law. The plaintiffs pointed out there were almost no complaints of bullying of Muslim students. And there were many more complaints of bullying against other students, including Jewish students.
The parents complained that the district was entangling itself with a religious organization to fight a “Muslim bullying crisis” that didn’t exist.
The entire district reported to the California Department of Education in 2015 and 2016 “just two instances [of bullying] related to Muslim students.”
Even so, the school’s plan included distributing a letter to staff and parents “addressing Islamophobia,” recognizing Muslim holidays, providing special resources during the month of Ramadan, reviewing materials related to Muslim culture and exploring and engaging informal partnerships with the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
The legal team also is raising similar questions about actions of school officials in Seattle.
‘The true faith, Islam’
The influence of Islam in public schools has become a nationwide issue.
In May 2017, in Groesbeck, Texas, a couple moved their sixth-grade daughter to a new school after they discovered her history homework assignment on Islam.
In late March 2017, as WND reported, a middle school in Chatham, New Jersey, was using a cartoon video to teach the Five Pillars of Islam to seventh-grade students, prompting two parents to obtain legal services to fight the school district, which has ignored their concerns.
WND also reported in March 2017 a high school in Frisco, Texas, set up an Islamic prayer room specifically for Muslim students to pray on campus during school hours. The same type of prayer rooms have been set up in high schools in St. Cloud, Minnesota, and other school districts.
In 2015, parents in Tennessee asked the governor, legislature and state education department to investigate pro-Islam bias in textbooks and other materials.
WND reported in 2012 ACT for America conducted an analysis of 38 textbooks used in the sixth through 12th grades in public schools and found that since the 1990s, discussions of Islam are taking up more and more pages, while the space devoted to Judaism and Christianity has simultaneously decreased.
In 2009, Gilbert T. Sewall, director of the American Textbook Council, a group that reviews history books, told Fox News the texts were “whitewashing” Islamic extremism and key subjects such as jihad, Islamic law and the status of women.
Also in 2009, WND reported the middle school textbook “History Alive! The Medieval World and Beyond,” published by Teachers’ Curriculum Institute, said an Islamic “jihad” is an effort by Muslims to convince “others to take up worthy causes, such as funding medical research.”
In 2006, WND reported a school in Oregon taught Islam by having students study and learn Muslim prayers and dress as Muslims.
WND reported in 2003 a prominent Muslim leader who eventually was convicted on terror-related charges helped write the “Religious Expression in Public Schools” guidelines issued by President Bill Clinton.
In 2001, shortly after the 9/11 attacks, seventh graders in Byron, California, were taught a three-week course on Islam that required them to learn 25 Islamic terms, 20 proverbs, Islam’s Five Pillars of Faith, 10 key Islamic prophets and disciples, recite from the Quran, wear a robe during class, adopt a Muslim name and stage their own “holy war” in a dice game.
Parents went to court to uphold their right to reject the class for their children, but a federal judge ruled against them, and in 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider their appeal.