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Supreme Court OKs 7th-Grade Islam Immersion Course

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Here’s a case of multiculturalism gone berserk, in a Supreme Court ruling that must have greatly pleased CAIR and the Muslim Brotherhood: Appeal on school’s lesson in Muslim culture is rejected. (Hat tip: LGF readers.)

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal Monday by evangelical Christian students and their parents who said a Contra Costa County school district engaged in unconstitutional religious indoctrination when it taught students about Islam by having them recite language from prayers. [They did quite a bit more than simply recite prayers, as you’ll see below. —ed.]

The court, without comment, left intact a ruling by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco last November in favor of the Byron Union School District in eastern Contra Costa.

The suit challenged the content of a seventh-grade history course at Excelsior Middle School in Byron in the fall of 2001. The teacher, using an instructional guide, told students they would adopt roles as Muslims for three weeks to help them learn what Muslims believe.

She encouraged them to use Muslim names, recited prayers in class, had them memorize and recite a passage from the Quran and made them give up something for a day, such as television or candy, to simulate fasting during the month of Ramadan. The final exam asked students for a critique of elements of Muslim culture.

The students and parents who sued argued that the class activities had crossed the line from education into an official endorsement of a religious practice. A federal judge and the appeals court disagreed, saying the class had an instructional purpose and the students had engaged in no actual religious exercises.

UPDATE at 10/4/06 12:45:52 pm:

Some important context on this, from LGF reader ‘nonic:’

It must be noted that the Supreme Court did NOT “approve” the Ninth Circuit’s decision by not taking the appeal.

This is standard practice in the Supreme Court. And the more conservative the court (as we have now), the more you will see this sort of thing, i.e., NOT jumping at the first possible opportunity to overturn a lower court – UNTIL there are several such lower decisions, and preferably conflicting decisions, so that it can be assumed that the issue has received full debate with vigorous support on both sides.

UPDATE at 10/4/06 1:02:39 pm:

The Islamic immersion course is now also being taught in Oregon: Students Wear Islam Dress For Class. (Hat tip: zombie.)

NYSSA, Ore. — Officials at a public school in Oregon are defending a seventh-grade social studies unit on Islam that included students dressing in traditional Islamic dress.

Kendlee Garner of Nyssa told the Ontario Argus Observer that she objected to the amount of time dedicated to the unit on Islam — four weeks — as well as the wearing of religious garb and the lack of parental notification. She said her son told her about the activity, and when she objected, he got an alternate assignment in the library.

Nyssa school officials respond that teaching about Islam is not promoting the religion. Superintendent Don Grotting said it’s part of meeting state standards that call for students to “understand the importance of the rise of Islam and its interaction with Europe.”

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