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Islamic America,
Constitution or Koran?

May 17, 2003 -  Brianna Tull, an eighth-grader, took a day off from school to sing with the Children's Choir where President Bush made an appearance. She was marked "unexcused" and given Fs for the day. As WND reports, "Even though the Westfield-Washington School District allows for absences when the student is having an 'educational experience,' sharing the stage with the president did not meet that criterion."

When Brianna's dad, Ken Tull objected, District Superintendent Mark Keen disagreed:

"I'm not sure what was gained from an educational value," Keen told WRTV. "We're in school for 180 days to provide an education. Going to see the president is certainly an experience, but what did the child learn from that?"

If school superintendents balk at students meeting the President, why are they asking 7th grade students to pretend they are Muslims and interview make-believe companions of "the Prophet Muhammad"? 

The Byron County handout states: "From the beginning, you and your classmates will become Muslims...You will meet, in addition, several important caliphs in Islamic history and have the opportunity to interview them in the MEET THE CALIPHS activity. Finally, during the most important event, you will listen to a companion of Prophet Muhammad explain about Muhammad's life, his teachings, and his influence on the world today."

Apparently, the influence of a living President of the United States doesn't match up to the influence of a dead Muhammad.

But President Bush is in good company. In public school textbooks, Jesus Christ is reduced to a "popular teacher with ideas" and nobody in public school wants to meet with Him either.

Why so much indoctrination and propaganda of Islam in our public schools?  An explanation is provided in the article:

Has the United States become Judeo-Christian-Islamic?
by Mark O'Keefe c.2003

Leading Muslim organizations say it's time for Americans to stop using the phrase "Judeo-Christian" when describing the values and character that define the United States.

Better choices, they say, are "Judeo-Christian-Islamic" or "Abrahamic," referring to Abraham, the patriarch held in common by the monotheistic big three religions.

The new language should be used "in all venues where we normally talk about Judeo-Christian values, starting with the media, academia, statements by politicians and comments made in churches, synagogues and other places," said Agha Saeed, founder and chairman of the American Muslim Alliance, a political group headquartered in Fremont, Calif.

Other national Muslim groups supporting a change include the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Muslim American Society and the American Muslim Council.

The budding movement is largely unformed, and religion watchers question whether it will succeed. Still, the call for new terms shows that words carry huge symbolic importance for Muslims trying to find their role in America after Sept. 11 and the Iraq war.

"These are not just let's-make-you-feel-good words," Saeed said. "These are words that define how we're related to each other."

Others take offense, arguing that to alter the phrase "Judeo-Christian" is political correctness and revisionist history at its worst.

"A lot of the ideas that underpin civil liberties come from Judeo-Christian theology," said the Rev. Ted Haggard of Colorado Springs, Colo., president of the National Association of Evangelicals. "What the Islamic community needs to make are positive contributions to culture and society so we can include them."

Michael Cromartie, vice president of the Washington-based Ethics and Public Policy Center, said a "Judeo-Christian understanding of things like freedom of conscience and liberty" are embodied in the Constitution. "No offense intended," he said, "but Muslims weren't a part of that, even though they're part of the discussion now."

The conflict illustrates the power of words, especially those touching on religion, national history and identity.

In a 2002 survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life and the Pew Research Center for People and the Press, two-thirds of respondents said they consider the United States a "Christian nation" and 58 percent said the strength of American society is based on the religious faith of its people.

But only 14 percent said it is essential that a person believe in "basic Judeo-Christian values" in order to be a good American.

From its founding to the late 1940s, the United States was commonly described as Christian, a trend epitomized by an 1892 Supreme Court ruling in which Justice David Brewer wrote, "This is a Christian nation."

According to a 1984 scholarly article by religion writer Mark Silk, "Judeo-Christian" wasn't used to refer to a common American outlook of values and beliefs until World War II, when the supposedly Christian Nazis and their death camps made future references to "our Christian civilization" sound ominously exclusive.

"`Judeo-Christian,' which in 1952 looked like an incredibly inclusive term, doesn't look very inclusive now," said Silk, now director of the Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College, in Hartford. Conn., in an interview. "So we probably need a new term."

But, Silk acknowledged, "I think Judeo-Christian-Islamic is going to be hard for the public to accept at this moment when you've just had people attacking the United States in the name of Islam."

While "Judeo-Christian" may not be used with the frequency heard in the 1950s, it's still a part of the vernacular, uttered recently by public officials ranging from Republican Attorney General John Ashcroft to Sen. Ted Kennedy, the Massachusetts Democrat.

The movement to drop or change the phrase has some non-Muslim support, including the head of the National Council of Churches.

The Rev. Bob Edgar, general secretary of the council, which represents 36 Christian denominations, said he prefers "Abrahamic" to "Judeo-Christian-Islamic" because it "rolls off the tongue a little easier."

There are other arguments for change, among them these:

-- Numbers. The U.S. Muslim population is growing. Estimates are disputed but range as high as 7 million. This compares to an estimated 5 million Jews.

"Muslims are here, and there are 7 million of them, even though they're largely invisible to most Americans," said Saeed. "This necessitates some discussion about language."

-- History. Some assert that African Muslims were among the slaves brought to America, as dramatized in Alex Haley's "Roots," a 1976 novel with a Muslim main character, Kunta Kinte. In addition, some argue that Islamic ideas helped shape the European West, which produced the values cherished by the Constitution's framers.

[If Africans freely were Muslim, they didnít understand what Islam teaches about them. Mohammed refers to blacks as ďraisin headsĒ. (Sahih Al Bukhary vol. 1, no. 662 and vol. 9, no. 256). In another Hadith, Mohammed is quoted as saying that blacks are, "pug-nosed slaves". (Sahih Moslem vol. 9 pages 46 and 47). Many African-Americans are converting to Islam, but apparently the mosques they attend omit descriptions of Islamís view of them. ~Jen]

"What we call Western culture is in fact based on Muslim Middle East culture, but the average American doesn't know that," said Sharifa Alkhateeb, president of the Washington-based Muslim Education Council.

Alkhateeb, a consultant for textbook companies and school systems across the country, doesn't like "Judeo-Christian-Islamic" because it excludes other minority religions. But she finds "Judeo-Christian" as outdated as calling pluralism and multiculturalism "just having blacks and whites together."

Every time she meets public officials, whether Secretary of State Colin Powell or a small-town legislator, she asks them to include Muslim names and places in their speeches.

"It's exactly in those little things that people gain recognition as human beings or lose it," said Alkhateeb, who is also the founder of the North American Council for Muslim Women. "The Jewish movement in this country made people allergic to mention even a single word that could possibly be construed as anti-Jewish, and people don't even think about such words, much less speak them, now.

"How did that happen? One inch at a time, exactly as Muslims are trying to change the language now."

Osama Siblani, an influential voice among American Muslims and publisher of the Arab-American News in Dearborn, Mich., takes an even broader view.

"I believe we should call this the United States of America, made up of Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Muslims, Christians, Jews and others," said Siblani. "This stuff about language has to stop. We are all just Americans."

[Except for one thing, Mr. Siblani. America's freedom was founded on Christian values. Just as with Turkey, if Muslims gain the majority, our government will be based on the Koran, not the Constitution.  A Judeo-Christian America will be nothing like an Islamic America...but then, you knew that... didn't you, Mr. Siblani?  ~JenT]

(Click here for Mr. O'Keefe's article. Mark O'Keefe can be contacted at mark.okeefe@newhouse.com

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