By Sheila Musaji
May 2, 2012
Pamela Geller just published an article bemoaning an all girls prom at Hamtramck High School in Michigan. Geller, ever on the alert for “creeping Sharia”, “civilization jihad”, “Islamization of America”, and other nonsense, saw an article in the New York Times that set off her finely tuned radar for devious Muslim plots.
She introduced the NYT article on the event with her own commentary:
“This shocking New York Times article describes a girl only, public school prom especially created to accommodate the religious practices of observant, female Muslim students. Further proof of the Islamization [sic] of America, as outlined in my book. Get the practical guide to the resistance.
Emailer Jared Silverstein queries,
“Is this diversity and imposition of religion as argued in many cases by the ACLU and progressives in First Amendment cases, or the selective allowance of the imposition of religion on others? With the push for secularism and diversity, would any other ethnic group have received this glowing review from the NYT of a prom based on ethnic and religious restraints? Observant Orthodox Jewish women are under similar constraints as those described in the article on observant Muslim women students. How would the NYT react if there was a prom which catered to them?”
Another giant leap backwards. Imposing Islam on the public square. Read. The. book. Here. Imagine the lather the NY Times would have worked itself into if this had been Christian girls, or worse, Jewish girls imposing their faith on the public school.”
Geller identified the event in her title as taking place in New Jersey, only the first of many errors. Notice how many times she used this “shocking” story as an opportunity to sell her book, pointing out other such plots.
Actually, the event was planned by students themselves, and financed by students themselves, and held in a rented hall. The students raised money through bake sales, etc. The school has a large Muslim population, and the girl who began putting this together did so after discovering that approximately 65% of the female students were not able to attend the coed prom.
Whatever Geller and her email correspondent think, this is perfectly reasonable to everyone except those who are so filled with hatred against Muslims that they see evil Muslim plots to “impose Islam” everywhere.
Geller and her fellow Islamophobes have a problem with Muslims doing anything at all. Anytime a Muslim steps outside their house, and Geller finds out about it, it is likely to be turned into a sensational story. Here are just a few similar ridiculous claims about other equally nonsensical Muslim plots:
An Eid Celebration for Muslim Special Needs Kids was described as a “stealth jihad”. A children’s page in a newspaper focusing on Eid was described as a toxic propaganda plot, A Muslim doctor had a heart attack and died at the wheel of his car which then crashed into a shopping mall and this was described as “vehicular jihad”. A Muslim cab driver objects to what he considers pornographic ads on the roof of his cab, and that becomes a stealth-jihad plot to impose Sharia on America. Any Muslim who has sued an employer for violation of their rights under the EEOC is engaged in employment jihad, or litigation]http://barenakedislam.wordpress.com/2011/07/13/litigation-jihad-hire-a-muslim-woman-only-if-you-enjoy-getting-sued/]litigation jihad [/URL]. Muslim environmentalists are actually engaged in “civilizational jihad”. Crescent moons anywhere are seen as “Islamic Crescents” and described as “cultural jihad”. A cartoon series “the 99” aimed at young Muslims was also described as “cultural jihad”. Then there was the bumper sticker jihad, Thanksgiving turkey jihad, an incredible paisley scarf jihad, marriage to important men jihad, spit jihad, fashion jihad, spelling bee jihad, rape jihad, population jihad, postage stamp jihad, public school jihad. Christina Abraham (a Muslim) has a name that is not recognizably Muslim enough for Geller - I guess we also have to include stealth name jihad.
You get the idea, these folks are stark raving mad!
Reasonable religious accommodation is something we all need to support. For example, when the High School Activities Association (CHSAA) in Colorado was holding a final event on a Saturday, CAIR asked them to change the date to accommodate Jewish basketball players whose faith prohibits playing games on their Sabbath, which is observed on Saturdays. This is another example of a perfectly reasonable religious accommodation. *** Would Geller object to this?
There are Jewish student unions in schools across the countries that organize events for their members. For example, in Atlanta, Georgia 400 teens in 15 greater Atlanta JSU high school clubs competed to build the best sukkah out of gingerbread and colorful candy treats. These hands on activities facilitated Rabbi Chaim Neiditch’s Sukkoth overview and teen discussions about the significance and fun of Sukkoth. Many of the teens also shook the lulav and etrog (the four species). It was a first-ever Sukkoth celebration for many. It was a sweet, fun and memorable one for all! Would Geller object to this?
I don’t object.
In my article Religious Accommodation or Creeping Sharia? I discussed other examples of Geller and her fellow Islamophobes’ paranoia on this topic. In that article, I said:
When an Australian hospital decided to remove symbols of any particular faith from the chapel where people of many different faiths come to pray except during religious service of any particular faith - Robert Spencer called that “dhimmitude”. His partner, Pamela Geller has called requests for religious accommodation for Muslim students “imposing Sharia”. In fact, when a Michigan high school football team held practices after the fast of Ramadan opened because most of the school’s students were Muslim, she called that “imposing Islam on our secular society”.
Pamela Geller published an article Imposing Islam in Your Public School in Six Easy Steps. She opens with Check out this “instruction sheet” to Muslims on how to islamicize their public schools. There is no separation of mosque and state—mosque is state in Islam. If this guide shows us anything, it’s what idiots they take us for. This is, of course, an outrage. None of this should be introduced into the public school. If this is what Muslim parents want, they should send their children to madrassah.
What is it that she found so alarming and saw as “imposing Islam”? It is a simple guide for Muslim parents as to how to approach their child’s school to ask for religious accommodation for their own child - for example to have the day off school for a religious holiday, or to be excused from some strenuous activity during Ramadan. And, what is the first thing that this guide tells parents - first know the law - “Knowing what laws and regulations govern the issue of religious accommodation is crucial before attempting to reach the right authorities. It is also important to understand what is defined as a “reasonable limit” on religious freedom.”
Good advice for all parents. Actually, the issue of requesting religious accommodation comes up for members of many religious groups, not just Muslims. And “reasonable accommodation” is a principle that is honored under the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. The Anti Defamation League (ADL) also produces such a guide called Religion in the Public Schools Geller and many other bigots who call themselves “patriots” need to do a remedial course in the Constitution.
Recently, when an organization of private schools called TAPPS refused a Muslim schools application to join, Brigitte Gabriel’s ACT For America, Houston Chapter published an article titled Well, good! Texas School system stops Islam getting a nose under the tent.
Here is a report from The Times of Israel about another incident involving TAPPS and a Jewish school:
The Robert M. Beren Academy of Houston, an Orthodox Jewish high school, fielding a superb basketball team, had battled its way to the semi-finals of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS). Ironically, although TAPPS was a sports league of private and religious schools, the association was determined not to honor any Sabbath except the Christian Sunday. Moreover, the semi-final playoffs were deliberately scheduled for March 2, a Friday night, which meant that Orthodox Jewish students could not participate. TAPPS angrily and steadfastly denied all requests for accommodation for Beren’s Jewish kids, refusing to move the game up just a few hours even though Covenant, the team Beren was scheduled to play, agreed to the proposed revised game time. That triggered a legal challenge in federal court which quickly led to TAPPS reversing its decision and rescheduling the Friday night game to early Friday afternoon in time for the Beren team to play.
Reasonable religious accommodation in the public sphere has existed for a very long time in the United States. Here are just a few examples:
A federal judge ruled that the Indiana Department of Correction was violating the law by not offering kosher meals to prison inmates whose religious beliefs require it. Indiana then approved serving Kosher meals to Jewish prisoners.
British Airways was challenged for stopping a Jewish worker from observing Sabbath by making him work Saturdays
The D.C. Metropolitan Police Department is not only willing to make the appropriate religious accommodation for Sikhs, allowing their beards and turbans, but has actively encouraged Sikh Americans to become officers.
An Orthodox Jewish police detective was awarded a settlement of $350,000 from the Las Vegas police department to settle a lawsuit after he was prohibited from having a beard and wearing a yarmulke.
A Jewish law student taking the Colorado bar exam discovered that the first day of the test was scheduled on Tisha B’av, a traditional day of observance and fasting, she asked the Board of Bar Examiners for an alternate test date. She ultimately won this accommodation.
A unanimous ruling by the Illinois Supreme Court backed a Jewish only inheritance clause in the will of a Jewish couple. The court said that they were within their rights to disinherit any grandchildren who married outside the faith.
The state Corrections Department in Montpelier, Vermont agreed to pay $25,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by a Jewish former inmate who said he was denied traditional food including matzoh at Passover and was blocked from observing the holidays of his faith.
Simran Preet Singh Lamba, a Sikh, became the first man in over 30 years to be allowed to wear his religiously mandated turban, beard and hear while serving in the Army.
Students at an Orthodox Jewish day school filed a religious discrimination complaint when the National High School Mock Trial was scheduled to be held on a Saturday.
A student at a Portland public school requested that the school make accommodations for students unable to attend finals on those days and that they consider Jewish holidays when planning future school year calendars.
Separation of Church and State is an important principle that must be defended. However, requesting reasonable religious accommodation does not violate that separation. The ADL publishes a First Amendment primer that includes this section on actual violations in public schools:
Blatant violations of church-state separation continue to take place in our public schools. Among the more recent such violations have been the following:
In Alabama, a family of Jewish children was repeatedly harassed after complaining about the promotion of Christian beliefs in their public schools. One of the students was forced to write an essay on “Why Jesus Loves Me.” At a mandatory school assembly, a Christian minister condemned to hell all people who did not believe in Jesus Christ.
Elsewhere in Alabama, officials in the DeKalb County school system blatantly disobeyed a district court ruling that forbade religious activity in school such as the broadcast of Christian prayers over the school public address system and the distribution of Gideon Bibles on school property. The court has now been forced to issue an injunction to compel the schools to abide by its earlier ruling.
A Jewish student at a public school in Utah was required to sing religious songs and participate in Mormon religious worship activities as part of a choir class. After she voiced objections to these practices, the student was humiliated in class by the teacher and became the target of anti-Semitic harassment by her classmates.
Some otherwise well-intentioned advocates for school reform are promoting initiatives that would channel public funds to schools that engage in religious indoctrination. In their various forms—“vouchers,” “school choice,” “hope and opportunity scholarships”—these programs would force Americans to do something contrary to our very notion of democracy: to pay taxes to support the propagation of religious dogma.
And this section on violations in the public sphere:
Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black best expressed the purpose and function of the Establishment Clause when he said that it rests “on the belief that a union of government and religion tends to destroy government and degrade religion.” Some Americans reject this dictum, promoting the idea that the government should endorse the religious values of certain members of the community to the exclusion of others. In fact, such violations of the separation of church and state take place with disturbing frequency in American government, at local, state and Federal levels. Recent incidents include the following:
An Alabama judge regularly opens his court sessions with a Christian prayer. Further, he has refused to remove a plaque containing the Ten Commandments from his courtroom wall. Alabama Governor Fob James has threatened to call in the Alabama National Guard to prevent the plaque’s removal.
Local municipalities have erected nativity scenes, crosses, menorahs and other religious symbols to the exclusion of those of other faiths.
The Board of Aldermen of a Connecticut city has opened its sessions with a prayer that beseeches citizens to “elect Christian men and women to office so that those who serve will be accountable . . . to the teachings of Jesus Christ . . . .”
A variety of religious groups are demanding that their faith-based social service programs receive public funding although these programs engage in aggressive proselytizing and religious indoctrination.
On the “National Day of Prayer,” local authorities acting in their official capacities have led citizens in sectarian prayer.
These are the sorts of incidents that all who are genuinely concerned about separation of church and state, and religious freedom should be concerned about. As citizens of a multi-cultural, multi-religious, multi-racial society, we must be concerned with protecting the rights of all citizens. When the rights of any minority are threatened, the rights of the majority are also threatened.
Geller and her fellow Islamophobes consistently promote what I call the what everyone “knows” lies about Islam and Muslims. They generalize specific incidents to reflect on all Muslims or all of Islam. When they are caught in the act of making up or distorting claims they engage in devious methods to attempt to conceal the evidence.
That was quick. Debbie Schlussel is also on to this Muslim plot. She calls the prom an “accommodation to Muslim extremism”. She calls the young women attending the prom “cretinettes”.
Source: The American Muslim