An Ol' Broad's Ramblings
TIZA has many characteristics that suggest a religious school. It shares the headquarters building of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, whose mission is “establishing Islam in Minnesota.” The building also houses a mosque. TIZA’s executive director, Asad Zaman, is a Muslim imam, or religious leader, and its sponsor is an organization called Islamic Relief.
Students pray daily, the cafeteria serves halal food – permissible under Islamic law — and “Islamic Studies” is offered at the end of the school day.
Wait a minute. Taxpayer funded schools refuse to allow Christian students to lead others in prayer, to say “G-d” at graduation ceremonies, to perform a Christian song in a talent show, or any number of Christian activities, but it’s ok for the students of this particular taxpayer funded school to pray to Mecca on a regular basis?
The department is set up to operate on a “complaint basis,” and “since 2004, we haven’t gotten a single complaint about TIZA,” Brown said. In 2004, he sent two letters to the school inquiring about religious activity reported by visiting department staffers and in a news article. Brown was satisfied with Zaman’s assurance that prayer is “voluntary” and “student-led,” he said. The department did not attempt to confirm this independently, and did not ask how 5- to 11-year-olds could be initiating prayer. (At the time, TIZA was a K-5 school.)
Uh huh. Knowing five years old proclivity to doing anything other than play, eat, sleep and generally be five year old, I find it hard to believe that just automatically jump during a certain time of the day to go pray….UNLESS of course, it’s been drilled into them, by both parents and teachers.
TIZA’s operation as a public, taxpayer-funded school is troubling on several fronts. TIZA is skirting the law by operating what is essentially an Islamic school at taxpayer expense. The Department of Education has failed to provide the oversight necessary to catch these illegalities, and appears to lack the tools to do so. In addition, there’s a double standard at work here — if TIZA were a Christian school, it would likely be gone in a heartbeat.
Oh, you betcha! There would be groups like the ACLU and Freedom From Religion all up in arms, threatening expensive lawsuits in order to shut down anything that vaguely resembles Christian doctrine.
I’m all for the 1st Amendment. If one taxpayer funded school is going to focus on Islam, then other taxpayer funded schools should be able to teach Christianity and Bible based lessons, or the Torah, or any number of the various religions which are dominant in this country. All, or none!
On a side note: I don’t believe any of our Founding Fathers were Muslim. If I remember correctly, there was actually a bit of battling going on back then with “pirates”.
H/T: silent E speaks