News Articles

FIRST-PERSON: What are Islamic schools teaching?

PHILADELPHIA (BP)–“Shocked” is how Aisha Sherazi, principal of the Abraar Islamic school in Ottawa, described the reaction of the school’s administration and board on learning that two of its teachers had incited hatred of Jews.

And “shocked” was how Mumtaz Akhtar, president of the Muslim-Community Council of Ottawa-Gatineau, described his own reaction to the front-page news about the Abraar school.

But they may have been the only two persons on the planet to be “shocked” to learn that teachers at an Islamic school are promoting anti-Semitism or other aspects of the Islamist agenda. The fact is, inquiries into Islamic schools repeatedly uncover just such a radical Islamic outlook. Some examples:

— New York City: An investigation by the New York Daily News in 2003 found that books used in the city’s Muslim schools “are rife with inaccuracies, sweeping condemnations of Jews and Christians, and triumphalist declarations of Islam’s supremacy.”

— Los Angeles: The Omar Ibn Khattab Foundation donated 300 Korans (titled “The Meaning of the Holy Quran”) to the city school district in 2001 that within months had to be pulled from school libraries because of their anti-Semitic commentaries. One footnote reads: “The Jews in their arrogance claimed that all wisdom and all knowledge of Allah was enclosed in their hearts…. Their claim was not only arrogance but blasphemy.”

— Ajax, Ontario, 50 kilometers east of Toronto: The Institute of Islamic Learning is a Canadian emulation of the extremist Islamic schools of Pakistan. It focuses exclusively on religious topics, has students memorize the Koran, demands total segregation from the Canadian milieu and requires complete gender separation. Former students complained about the school’s cult-like devotion to its head, Abdul Majid Khan, and complained that it is a “twisted religion.”

Then there are four leading Islamic schools in the Washington, D.C., area:

— The Muslim Community School in Potomac, Md., imbues in its students a sense of alienation from their own country. Seventh-grader Miriam told a Washington Post reporter in 2001, “Being American is just being born in this country.” Eighth-grader Ibrahim announced that, “Being an American means nothing to me.”

— A textbook used at the Islamic Saudi Academy of Alexandria, Va., in 2004, authored and published by the Saudi Ministry of Education, teaches first-graders that “all religions, other than Islam, are false, including that of the Jews [and] Christians.” An ISA class valedictorian, Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, was recently indicted for plotting to assassinate President Bush.

— The U.S. government revoked the visas in 2004 of 16 people affiliated with the Institute for Islamic and Arabic Sciences in America, of Fairfax, Va. In the words of the Washington Post, “That decision followed accusations that the institute, a satellite campus of al-Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University in Riyadh, was promoting a brand of Islam that critics say is intolerant of other strains of the religion as well as Christianity and Judaism.” In addition, the IIASA is under investigation for ties to terrorism.

— The Graduate School of Islamic Social Sciences of Ashburn, Va., referred to as a “purported” educational institution in an affidavit justifying a raid on the school, had its financial records seized in 2002 on suspicions of links to terrorism.

Nor are schools the exception among Islamic institutions in North America. A recent study by Freedom House found a parallel problem of venomous anti-Jewish and anti-Christian materials in U.S. mosques. The most prominent American Muslim organizations, especially the Council on American-Islamic Relations, spew anti-Semitism and hosted a neo-Nazi. The same applies in Canada, where the head of the Canadian Islamic Congress, Mohamed Elmasry, publicly endorsed the murder of all Israelis over the age of 18.

So long as Muslim leaders simply declare themselves, in the spirit of Capt. Renault in the movie “Casablanca,” “shocked, shocked” whenever news of Islamist supremacism leaks out, this cancer will continue unabated. The Islamic schools, the mosques and other Muslim organizations like CAIR and CIC will continue their cat-and-mouse game so long as it works.

It won’t work only when outside pressure is brought to bear on them by politicians, journalists, researchers, moderate Muslims and others. They must state clearly and frequently the unacceptability of Islamist venom. Only then will today’s fraudulent “shocked” reaction finally become sincere.
Daniel Pipes, director of the Philadelphia-based Middle East Forum, is author of numerous books on the troubled region. His website is www.danielpipes.org.

    About the Author

  • Daniel Pipes