Why it’s a terrible idea to teach children about terrorists and radicals in world religion courses.
It appears that Fox News is not content with just feeding anti-Muslim crap to its older-skewing audience and now wants schools to teach children to fear Muslims, too.
On Tuesday’s episode of the Fox News show, the brain trust gathered to express outrage that a Georgia public school was teaching students about Islam in a way they viewed as being far too positive.
Fox’s Keith Ablow demanded the young students be taught in world religion classes that Muslims want “to destroy the United States,” adding, “How can you leave that out?” Fox’s Harris Faulkner chimed in, “Why wouldn’t you teach it in the context of the headlines today?”
And Andrea Tantaros, who never misses the opportunity to up the hysteria, added that schools should teach students that Muslims have “been killing people for hundreds of years” and that they “have sought to destroy the West.”
So in sum, Fox News wants 11- and 12-year-old kids to learn about the best of the other faiths, but the worst about Islam. Unless, of course, these Fox hosts are truly arguing that the radicals of every faith should be taught to the kids as well.
For example, in discussing Christianity, the students would be taught about the Christian terrorists like theArmy of God, “a network of violent Christianists” that openly promotes killing abortion providers like George Tiller, who was killed by a member of the group in 2009. They could also be taught about the Christian militiamen who are slaughtering Muslims in in the Central African Republic,including beheading a young Muslim man in that nation’s capital.
In teaching Judaism, the lesson plan would include the Jewish terrorists who just a few months ago burned down the famed “Loaves and Fishes” church in Israel. These Jewish radicals have also in recent years engaged in other attacks on Christian churches because they view anything that’s not Jewish in Israel as being idolatry, and as they put it, “idols will have their heads cut off.”
I’m sure that the Fox News types would object to a curriculum that included these radicals when teaching the basics of Christianity and Judaism. And they would be correct. The students should be taught about the mainstream beliefs and followers of each faith, especially when learning about these religions for the first time. By making radicals part of that lesson plan, however, they would be wrongly elevating these terrorists to the level of being a mainstream part of the religion. (Of course, incidents about religious extremism should be part of any current events curriculum.)
But the views of these Fox News personalities are almost tame when compared to some parents in states like Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida that are upset their children are learning anything about Islam. Greg Locke, a Tennessee pastor, was so outraged that students were being taught about Islam in world history class, he encouraged students last month to not do the assignments concerning Islam and instead “take an F because this history class is part of an ‘Islamic invasion.’” He also claimed that teaching kids about Islam was “absolute brainwashing” and declared, “We’re not going to stand for it.”
Likewise, a father in Georgia demanded last year that if students are taught about Islam, they must also be told about the Muslims he claims are “going around beheading people in America.”
Some parents didn’t expressly object to Islam being taught, but were concerned that Islam is being taught in school at the expense of Christianity. That sounds like a valid issue, but time and time again school officials have made it clear in these various states that Christianity and all other major religions are taught equally. In Georgia, for example, a school official explained that the curriculum on world religions has been the same for30 years and teaches all major faiths in equal increments.
But the comment that probably best sums up how many of these parents feel comes from one in Georgia who stated: “I honestly don’t want my child learning about Islam at all.” And troublingly this sentiment is held by44 percent of American adultswho responded in a recent poll they don’t want to learn more about Islam. Apparently these people have learned all they need to know about Islam and aren’t open to changing their views. They don’t want to be confused with facts or valid information they haven’t been told by Fox News.
In a time when anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States is atrecord highsand with people like Donald Trumpand Ben Carsonginning up the hate against Muslims, there was never a more urgent time for an accurate counter narrative to the scary images we see of terror groups like ISIS.
Thankfully, younger people have more positive view of Islam and Muslims than their older counterparts. In fact, a July poll found that 76 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds would support a Muslim for president.Sorry, Ben Carson.
The hope is that those older people who have concerns about Muslims will at least be open minded enough to have a discussion about the issue. But at the very least we shouldn’t prevent young Americans from learning about what mainstream Islam truly is, as opposed to what ISIS and al Qaeda want you to believe the faith is about. Why give these terrorist groups exactly what they want?