Over the past several years we have seen a growing number of examples where Islam has been pervading our public school system. Atheists and other activists continue to fight any vestiges of Christianity in the public schools, but I’ve yet to see them take the same stance to fight the growing teaching of Islam.
We’ve seen schools require students to recite the Muslim Call to Prayer, learn that Allah is God Almighty, study the prophet Mohammed and even have a girls’ only prom for Muslim students. Yet, none of the same groups that fight against any teaching of Christianity in the schools seem to be complaining about the increased teaching of Islam. The only ones to complain are Christians and no one takes their complaints seriously anymore.
Now I strongly suspect that Islam will soon pervade the Syracuse school district. Mayor Stephane Miner, a liberal Democrat, just appointed Mark Muhammad to the city’s school board. Muhammad is a leader with the Nation of Islam and he has been extremely critical of staff members of the city’s schools.
Supposedly, Miner appointed Muhammad to the school board to help ease some of the racial tension and to help improve the sagging academic performance. Yet it is these very reasons that are causing some to question the mayor’s actions.
One of the beliefs of the Nation of Islam is that black and white students should be segregated from each other. How does this view help resolve or ease some of the racial tensions? Even the Southern Poverty Law Center, who labels many Christian and conservative groups as being domestic terrorists, has a negative view of Muhammad. They claim that he hates whites and is very anti-Semitic.
The Nation of Islam, led by radical Louis Farrakhan, believes that the goal of the US government is to kill several million people worldwide and that part of that effort is being carried out using the AIDS virus in Africa to kill blacks. Farrakhan has stated:
“…a significant portion of each lecture prophesying the imminent downfall of the United States and advising America to heed his warnings or face divine punishment through severe weather, natural disasters, and world wars.”
“…nobody becomes president of the United States without going before Israel or AIPAC and promising the Zionists everything that you think will allow you access to their wealth, their influence, and their power.”
“You hate the fact that our rule is going to come whether you like it or not … You know this, so you want to feed us all the filth we can eat, all the debauchery we can stand, so you are now bringing the privacy of sex into public view in your movies, in your magazines, in your newspapers.”
“…you’ll see the end (of the white race) by 2050.”
“Separation will save you. Separation will give you more time as a white person on this earth.”
To achieve his separation, Farrakhan advocates that the US government turn over millions of acres of land to blacks to live on.
Additionally, his harsh criticism of the district’s faculty is causing others to question the wisdom of placing him on the school board. Bob Gardino, a retired Syracuse school teacher wrote a letter to the editor of The Post Standard which was published on Syracuse.com. His letter reads:
To the Editor:
Mayor Miner’s recent appointment of Mark Muhammed to the board of education was not a wise choice. I have known Mr. Muhammed for many years dating back to when he was a student at Henninger High School where I began to know him as a student of sincere dedication, intelligence and commitment. With that said, you may ask why am I disappointed in his selection.
Mr. Muhammed’s recent comments at Syracuse Board of Education meetings denigrating the staff of the Syracuse schools were given as a private community member, and he has every right to believe very passionately what he has said. But a candidate for the board of education would never use such pejorative language if he is to represent the community of Syracuse at the board of education table.
His diatribes were blatantly insulting. He was not just critical, but so demeaning that gasps could be heard from school staff present at those meetings. Will he be able to jump the divide of those personal and highly negative statements to the reasonableness he needs to have as a board member? I’m not sure.
Second, the relationship between Superintendent Sharon Contreras and board members must be one of objectivity. The superintendent is an employee of the city and the board of education. Distance and objectivity are keys to the relationship between Ms. Contreras and every board member.
Superintendent Contreras spoke at a Christ the King Retreat House meeting as an invited guest some months ago. Mark Muhammed made introductory comments and facilitated the question and answer period. His introduction of the superintendent to the audience was disconcerting. Comments such as: “I really love Superintendent Contreras, I really love her,” were far beyond the objectivity he must have to judge her decisions she will be asking him to vote on. Will he be able to jump from irrational adulation to reasoned objectivity? I’m not sure.
The swiftness and opaqueness of the appointment signal the belief that politics was key. Hiding the process from the community and even some board members does not bode well for the selection.
More importantly, it does not signal a healthy choice for governance of our schools.
A reporter for the Post Standard confronted Muhammad on his views and appointment asking:
“I have seen some comments suggesting that you are not an appropriate education commissioner because of your involvement with the Nation of Islam. One of the points someone raised, for example, was the NOI’s advocacy of separate schools for blacks and whites. How would you speak to that concern?”
Muhammad danced around part of the question replying:
“I would say that I am probably the best person to address some of these (race) issues. This whole problem of race we want to ignore. But it is central, an important part of the discussion that we don’t want to have.”
“I don’t think by avoiding the discussion we make progress. I think we make progress by having those conversations that are uncomfortable for us to have.”
The appointment of Muhammad will only serve to further the racial divide of the Syracuse community and open the doors for some of the more radical views of Islam to be taught to local students. You really have to question the wisdom or the agenda of Mayor Miner in making this appointment. Since Farrakhan has been a visitor to the White House, was the mayor urged by Obama to make the appointment? Is this part of Obama’s radical Muslim agenda? Why else would Miner have taken this action?