by Andrew C. McCarthy
….The questions came rat-tat-tat at this townhall meeting for Amy Klobuchar. A member of Minnesota’s hard Left Democratic Farm Labor Party, she was campaigning as the Democrats’ nominee for the United States Senate. Her answers sounded like babble, or perhaps clipped laughter: Haa, haa, haa. But she wasn’t laughing. Klobuchar was speaking Somali.
And she was saying “yes”: Yes to “comprehensive immigration reform”; yes to foreign language programs; yes to helping Somali money-service businesses that her constituents used to send the American dollars they learned back “home”; yes to meeting regularly with the Somali community so they could monitor that she was producing on the commitments that, absolutely haa, she was making.
The two hundred Somalis in the audience seemed pleased. They were no doubt happier still when Klobuchar won in a landslide. She rode the same wave that carried Keith Ellison into Congress. Another Farm Labor Party member, Ellison became the first Muslim to sit in the House of Representatives. He credited his victory to the enthusiastic support of Somalis. He took the oath of office, swearing on the Koran, to represent Minnesota’s fifth congressional district. In that district lies the entire City of Minneapolis. It is the Muslim enclave.
The local Somali population that has been estimated at 100,000, representing somewhere between half and two-thirds the the total number of Somalis now living in the United States. There may be many more. The actual population size is unknowable because of rampant illegal immigration, widespread identity and documentation fraud, and what the FBI gingerly describes as “a cultural reluctance to share personal information with census takers [that] has prevented an accurate count of the ethnic Somali population inside the United States.”…
Beyond what they hear from al Qaeda in Kismayo, Somali immigrants certainly get plenty of stoking once they get here. Besides agitators like Congressman Ellison and the “traditional leader” Abdullahi Ugas Farah, there are such priceless academics as Abdi Sheikhosman, a professor of Islamic law at the University of Minnesota. “We have a saying in Somalia,” he said to the Star Tribune in 2008. “He who approaches the lion does not know what a lion is.” That’s how it is for Somali immigrants, the good professor groused. They “arrive here not knowing the history of racial divide in this country. They don’t know the lion they are up against.” And what abuse had the lion heaped on them that might make them long once again to be in the placid bosom of Mogadishu? It seems the tortilla factory in New Brighton adopted a company uniform, which Muslim workers decided was a violation of their religious beliefs. “For me,” said Fatuma Hassan, a twenty-two-year-old Somali immigrant, “wearing pants is the same as being naked.” The company was also resistant to accommodating prayer breaks throughout the work day. But Minnesotans would have to adjust to such novelties, opined another academic, Bruce Corrie, of Concordia University. “The Somali community is highly assertive and politically engaged. . . . It’s part of who they are as a people.”
American travelers found that out soon enough. At the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. That, by the way, is the same place where the Flying Imams decided it was opportune to play out their hijinks. [ACM: These were Islamic prayer leaders who frightened airline passengers and crew by imitating some of the 9/11 hijackers’ preparations, covered in an earlier chapter.] Somali taxi drivers, who make up three-quarters of the busy terminal’s 900 cabbies, began refusing service to passengers who were carrying alcohol (shopping bags from the duty free are a tell-tale sign). (See here, here and here.)
The ball, it turned out, got rolling in 2006 when the local chapter of the Muslim American Society issued a fatwa admonishing Muslim taxi drivers that transporting passengers with alcohol in their baggage was a violation of sharia. As one learns to expect, the resistance soon expanded to other sharia culprits: passengers accompanied by dogs, and even some who appeared overtly homosexual. The reluctance to ferry dogs—which are often needed by passengers with disabilties—was predictable. In 1997, Daniel Pipes has reported, a New Orleans taxi driver, Mahmoud Awad, was so incensed when a passenger tried to bring a dog into his cab that he yanked her out of the vehicle by her broken arm screaming, “No dog, no dog, get out, get out!” CAIR rushed to his defense, helpfully pointing out that “the saliva of dogs invalidates the ritual purity needed for prayer.” Good to know that.
The transportation authorities, who would not for a moment countenance a driver’s refusal to serve Muslim passengers (to name just one form of discrimination), reacted to this affront by . . . consulting the [Muslim American Society (MAS) – as explained in an earlier chapter, it is the Muslim Brotherhood’s quasi-official presence in the United States]. With their sensitivity thus enriched, the authorities opted to respond not by withdrawing licenses but by engaging the cabbies on the finer points of sharia. To wit, Muslim law, they counseled, proscribed the consumption of alcohol, not itstransportation. Of course, this fecklessness served only to imply that, in clearer cases of sharia violation, American equal-protection principles would yield as necessary to give sharia its newfangled due. Adroitly, the MAS had first provoked a controversy, taken the measure of the spineless opposition, and come away with a precedent that American law could be trumped by sharia—which, it cannot be stressed enough, is a corpus of political and social directives, not just religious commandments.
Sharia, the Muslim aversion to canines, and the traditional Islamist focus on dominating the education system proved to be too toxic a brew for Tylar Hurd. Because the twenty-three-year old St. Cloud State University student was prone to seizures, he attended school in the company of his service dog. The black lab, called “Emmit,” was specially trained to protect Hurd, toting a pouch that contained items that would help passersby aid him in the event of an episode. Hurd was enrolled in a teacher-training program that required field work at local high schools. At Technical High, this brought Hurd into communion with scores of Somali students. Their Muslim faith, the St. Cloud Times deferentially reported, “forbids the touching of dogs.” As a result, there was much taunting and, finally, threats to kill the dog.
Fearing for himself and his animal, Hurd complained to officials at his college. St. Cloud State bravely resolved . . . to waive Hurd’s remaining training hours: giving him credit for completing the course without doing the required work in order to avoid a confrontation with menacing Muslims. A university official, the paper recounts, opined that it was “important to respect different cultures and the rights of disabled students.” He added, “I think this is part of the growth process when we become more diverse.” [The St. Cloud Times removed its report from the Internet after I cited it in apost at National Review.)
The growth process also includes suspending students out of fear for their safety. That’s what happened to an Owatonna High School senior who, in an assignment to write a class paper, chose the topic “Somalian Privileges,” complaining that the Muslim students were not required to adhere to various school rules. He and his mother were promptly summoned to the school and advised that he would be suspended, officially for “language and inappropriate comments,” but unofficially because school officials feared he would be attacked. After a few days that officials hoped would be a “cooling off period,” the boy returned to school . . . and was mauled by a gang that grew to somewhere between twenty and forty Somali students. He had to be hospitalized for head injuries. (See here and here.)
Jihad in the Classroom
In the classroom, Islamicization is seeping into the learning process as well—and not only in Minnesota. The American Textbook Council (ATC) has released a jaw-dropping study called “Islam in the Classroom.” (See Gilbert T. Sewall, Director of the American Textbook Council, “Textbook Lies about Islam” and five-part series “Islam in the Classroom: What the Textbooks Tell Us”, available at Family Security Matters, here.) History and “social studies” texts routinely indoctrinate children of middle and high school age that the prophet of Islam was a trader who “taught equality” and was animated by the desire to “help the poor.” The texts “feature manifold contributions of Islam to the arts and science”—including “textiles, calligraphy, design, books, city building, architecture, mathematics, medicine, polo, and chess.” Students are informed that music, and particularly singing, was “an essential part of Muslim Spain’s musical culture”—which is said to have “undoubtedly influenced later musical forms in Europe and North Africa” . . . though the text in question later admits that this music is “lost,” so just how much “undoubted influence” it actually had can only be imagined.
The concept of jihad is whitewashed in a way that would surely bring an envious smile to government experts. Gone is the once straightforward recitation that Islam spread by the sword. Now, as the pages turn, Islam “moves peacefully with traders.” It is “brought” to seemingly willing populations and spontaneously “spreads” throughout the Middle East to people who simply “become” Muslims. A McDougall Littell volume explains, “There was much blending of cultures under Muslim rule. Over time, many peoples in Muslim-ruled territories converted to Islam. They were attracted by Islam’s message of equality and hope for salvation.” Islamic tolerance is a leitmotif. Students are informed, for example, that “[a]nother factor in helping the Arabs [in the “spread of Islam”] was their tolerance for other religions.” As the study summarizes, “Once non-Arabs have been conquered, students learn, those societies and civilizations with non-Islamic systems of belief live in a wonderland of interreligious cooperation.” A teacher’s edition of the McDougal Littell text poses the “Essential Question”:
Q: How did the caliphs who expanded the Muslim empire treat those the conquered?
A: They treated them with tolerance.
Q: Why were the caliphs tolerant of the people they conquered?
A: Because the Qur’an did not allow Muslims to force people to convert to Islam.
Islam’s legacy of dhimmitude and enslavement is assiduously suppressed, as is its official sanction of booty-taking. Indeed, what the Koran did and did not allow is left a mystery. On sharia, children are vapidly taught that Islamic law “makes no distinctions between religious beliefs and daily life,” and that “Shari’ah sets rewards for good behavior and punishments for crimes”—but they are informed neither of how profound a departure the melding of mosque and state is from Western traditions of religious freedom, nor of the particular rewards (such as an orgiastic paradise for martyrdom in the cause of jihad) and punishments (such as stoning, decapitation, dismemberment, for such offenses as apostasy, a woman’s refusal to enter an arranged marriage, and petty theft).
Since the mid-1990s, the message that it is a “common misrepresentation” to frame jihad as “holy war” has been drummed into students. A widely used Prentice-Hall high school text says: “Some Muslims look on jihad, or effort in God’s service, as another duty. Jihad has often been mistakenly translated simply as ‘holy war.’ In fact, it may include acts of charity or an inner struggle to achieve spiritual peace, as well as any battle in defense of Islam.” Seventh graders in California and Arizona are schooled that jihad represents the human struggle to overcome difficulties and do things that are pleasing to God. Muslims strive to respond positively to personal difficulties as well as worldly challenges. For instance, they might work to become better people, reform society, or correct injustice.
As the ATC incisively observes, since jihad is so often described as a “struggle against oppression,” how can students who hear of repeated calls to jihad against Christians and Jews not consider that the United States and Israel are likely the culprits?
ACM note: Reliance of the Traveller, the sharia manual endorsed by scholars at al-Azhar University and the Muslim Brotherhood’s American think-tank (the International Institute of Islamic Thought), explains that “Jihad means to war against non-Muslims.” As the “Mapping Sharia” study elaborates, jihad is etymologically derived from the wordmujahada, signifying warfare to establish Islam. For more on the manual and the repressive elements of sharia, seehere and here.]
As combustible as the clash of cultures is, it may be the least of the education problem. There is also the elevation and subsidization of the single Muslim culture. To accommodate Muslims, the state of Minnesota is using its charter school law to operate an Islamic public school, a benefit accorded no other religious group. Taxpayers foot the bill for the Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy in suburban St. Paul, to the tune of nearly $4 million per annum. That is the allegation of the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota, which has filed a suit, claiming a breach of the First Amendment’s proscription against establishing a state religion.
Besides information derived from the lawsuit, much is known about the school because of dogged investigative reporting by the Star Tribune’s Katherine Kersten. “TIZA,” as it is known for short, is named after the Muslim general who conquered medieval Spain in the Eighth Century. It was founded by a pair of imams who doubled as top leaders of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota: MAS-MN Vice President Asad Zaman served as principal, while MAS-MN President Hesham Hussein chaired TIZA’s board until being killed in car accident in Saudi Arabia. The school is physically located in the MAS-MN headquarters, as is a mosque. Besides the MAS-MN, the most important backer of TIZA is its sponsor, Islamic Relief-USA. While Islamic Relief is likened to the Red Cross in several TIZA documents, the Israeli government observes that its parent organization, Islamic Relief Worldwide, “provides support and assistance” to Hamas.
Minnesotan law requires its public schools to be nonsectarian. Visitors to TIZA, however, found themselves greeted by a Muslim prayer posted in the entryway. The school sports a centrally carpeted prayer room, and the ACLU alleges both that MAS-MN has conducted prayer sessions there during school hours, and that—after teachers encourage students to partake in Islam’s pre-prayer ablution ritual—the school breaks for a half-hour of prayer service on Fridays (time that is not made up). Moreover, the MAS-MN runs a Muslim studies program for an hour immediately after school has officially concluded for the day. In effect, this makes Muslim studies part of the regular curriculum: Although school officially ends at 3:30pm, buses don’t depart from TIZA until 4:30. Further, the school requires girls (but not boys) to cover their bare arms, and the uniform for older girls (as well as the dress code for female teachers) calls for them to be covered from the neck to the wrist and ankle, with virtually all wearing headscarves. Students refer to their teachers as “Brother” or “Sister.” The cafeteria serves halal food only, and students fast from dawn until dusk during Ramadan.
Publicly, TIZA claims to conform to the standard secular curriculum. A different picture, though, is painted for Muslim audiences. Katherine Kersten explains:
At MAS-MN’s 2007 convention, for example, the program featured an advertisement for the “Muslim American Society of Minnesota,’ superimposed on a picture of a mosque. Under the motto ‘Establishing Islam in Minnesota,” it asked: “Did you know that MAS-MN … houses a full-time elementary school”? On the adjacent page was an application for TIZA…. Meanwhile, MAS-MN offers on its web site “beneficial and enlightening information” about Islam, which includes statements like “Regularly make the intention to go on jihad with the ambition to die as a martyr.” At its 2007 convention, MAS-MN featured the notorious [Sheikh] Khalid Yasin, who is well-known in Britain and Australia for teaching that husbands can beat disobedient wives, that gays should be executed and that the United States spreads the AIDS virus in Africa through vaccines for tropical diseases. Yasin’s topic? “Building a Successful Muslim Community in Minnesota.”
[ACM: TIZA was shut down in 2011 based on a new state law that disqualified out-of-state authorizers for charter schools – TIZA having been authorized by the Washington, D.C.-based Islamic Relief organization.]…