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Islam's recruitment in
 America's schools rages on
The Two Faces of Islamist Educators

10/20/04 Revised
by Jen Shroder
Watchful parents were successful in circumventing another Islamic campaign attempting to recruit their children in public school. In Tulsa, Oklahoma a firestorm was brewing.  Local residents reported that Michael DelGiorno, radio host of KFAQ(AM 1170) courageously led the charge:

"Allah is not the God of this nation, but this is exactly the agenda of Islam: to change our government from within, through politics and through tolerance and inclusion -- alter our culture. But make no mistake about it, their goal is not to be one of many gods and one of many religions, itís to be THE god and THE religion of the entire Earth."

The controversy began when the Middle East Policy Council (MEPC) started pitching the "Arab World Studies Notebook" curriculum to Tulsa school officials, according to parents. One parent said, "When [radio host] DelGiorno read from the first lesson today, I nearly dropped my coffee."

William J. Bennetta, President of The Textbook League, gives a description of tactics used in the notebook similar to the ones battled over in California's curriculum. He said the notebook is not aimed at most teachers, but "aimed at that sorry subpopulation of teachers who, for want of education or want of intelligence, will believe almost anything and will question nothing. It is aimed at teachers who never have absorbed the concepts of evidence and reason, who know nothing of historiography, and who can be treated as dupes."

The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation appears to agree. In a study titled "The Stealth Curriculum: Manipulating America's History Teachers," they conclude their review of the "Arab World Notebook":

"One can only wonder if this has ever been questioned by the teachers who use its materials, or if they feel they must agree to any claim made by Muslims as an 'alternative perspective' or risk being labeled insensitive, Eurocentric, or racist."

Sandra Stotsky, former senior associate commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Education, described the "Arab World Studies Notebook" as "propaganda."

Controversy erupted over the 540-page book with claims that Muslim explorers preceded Christopher Columbus to North America, married into the Algonquin tribe, resulting in the births of tribal Chief Abdul-Rahim and Chief Abdallah Ibn Malik.

Director of the Algonquin Nation Secretariat, Peter DiGangi, called the book "preposterous" and "outlandish," saying nothing in the tribe's written or oral history support the claims.

DiGangi said the guide's author, Audrey Shabbas, and MEPC were unresponsive to his objections for six months until Shabbas said "the passage was removed immediately from subsequent copies," and that she was "giving careful and thoughtful attention" on how to notify the 1,200 teachers who have been given copies of the book in the past five years.

"There was no [scholarly] peer review," said Mr. DiGangi, who says he was never contacted after lodging his complaint. "It was so outlandish. It never should have gone to press."

When confronted by Campus-Watch, Shabbas gracefully wrote, "I bow to the knowledge of the Algonquin Nation about their own history," but posted on al-Jazeerah's website, Shabbas "questions the motives of those who censured the offending paragraph." She said, "The Arab World Studies Notebook is exactly what its meant to be, and no apologies need to be made for it." She also said, "What's interesting is the motive of the folks that brought this to the attention of the Algonquin Indians."

Bennetta toured the MEPC website and found  more inconsistencies that roused his suspicions. The website said that the notebook is a "work so highly regarded that educators in California were permitted to purchase it with state funding."

Bennetta contacted Suzanne C. Rios, California DOE Administrator. Rios said her office has no record of any approval and called the MEPC's executive director on September 22, told him that the claim in question was false advertising, and told him that they "wanted it taken off IMMEDIATELY!" However as of October 7, the advertising remains.

Chester E. Finn Jr., Fordham Foundation president said, "We know staggeringly little about how good these materials and workshops are."

Shabbas defends the notebook with words too often bandied by liberals:

"We are first of all educators committed to multiculturalism ... that is allowing people to speak for themselves and making our classrooms a safe place where all voices can be nurtured and heard."

But watchful parents in Tulsa were not buying what Shabbas was "trying to nurture" in the hearts and minds of their children. They quickly mobilized and voiced their objections to the superintendent. At least one parent had contacted the Pacific Justice Institute, a Christian legal organization. However legal procedures were not necessary. After an onslaught of emails and phone calls about the curriculum, the superintendent announced the school district had no intention of incorporating any new books concerning Arab World Studies.

Congratulations to the vigilant parents in Tulsa. Would that all Americans would seek to protect their children as you have. In the words of Michael DelGiorno,

"Christians you better start speaking up, and standing up for whatís right, itís all ready too late in MichiganÖ How much longer before it's too late right here at home?"






See also News Coverage of Islam in Public Schools