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.
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
"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
by Mark O'Keefe
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,
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
"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
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
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
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
"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
[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?
for Mr. O'Keefe's article. Mark O'Keefe can be contacted at