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Muslim Indoctrination and the U.S. Department of Education from Hihab Dress-Up to Convert

The World Hijab Day website presents hijab-wearing as a sign of empowerment; women and girls who wear hijabs are called “queens, princesses, and sultanas.” One blog post by Megan Baase, however, reveals that experimental hijab-wearing may have other effects.  Baase writes that she didn’t know much about Islam until World Hijab Day.  After reading about Islam and “why women wear hijabs,” she decided to convert: “I would’ve never learned about Islam if it weren’t for world hijab day.”Now, the U.S. Department of Education is encouraging Islamic proselytizing.

Ever since 9/11 educators have been trying to promote a positive view of Islam under the pretext of fighting harassment of Muslims.  American textbooks repeat Muslim doctrine as if it were historical fact, students are taken to pray in mosques, and girls are asked to dress up in hijabs, the Muslim head scarves.

When I taught at Georgia Perimeter College (2007-2010) I’d see posters on bulletin boards put up by a Muslim professor who advised the Muslim Student Association (a “legacy project” of the Muslim Brotherhood), inviting girls to “wear a hijab for a day.”  In 2009, at the annual meeting of the National Council for the Social Studies, I reported on such panels as “Muslim Perspectives Through Film and Dialogue.”

Now we have a World Hijab Day on February 1. The first one was held in 2013.  The organization’s website reported that that February, “Girls of all faiths across East Lancashire [United Kingdom] have been taking part in World Hijab Day to understand and appreciate the muslim [sic] culture.” At Pleckgate High School, the head of “RE and citizenship,” was quoted as saying, “Staff and pupils, Muslim and non Muslim, wore the hijab all day as a way of increasing understanding. . . .”

Here in the USA, in Texas, later that month, WND reported, “Students Made to Wear Burqas – in Texas.”  The exercise was part of the Texas CSCOPE curriculum.  In California, at Natomas Pacific Prep public charter school, some girls wore hijabs as part of their senior projects.

This year according to the World Hijab Day’s website, college campuses in Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania participated.  Advice for Muslim Student Associations on holding such events is offered at the site, as are testimonials from Muslim and non-Muslim women.  So is New York Assemblyman David Weprin’s statement in support of World Hijab Day 2016.

On February 11 of this year, the U.S. Department of Education sent out an official “Homeroom” blog post titled “Protecting Our Muslim Youth from Bullying: The Role of the Educator.”

It began: “Not since the days and months immediately after September 11 has the Muslim community faced the level of anti-Muslim bias and bullying that has been seen over the past several months. In the wake of Paris and other terrorist attacks, combined with the emergence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a lack of information among the public about Islam, and the tendency to associate  Islam with terrorism, there has been an increase in expressions and incidents targeting the Muslim community. . . .”

An alleged “increased wave of anti-Muslim sentiment in our public discourse, political rhetoric and everyday interactions,” includes schools, where youth have been called, “terrorists” or “ISIS” and attacked physically, verbally, and through social isolation.

The “statistics,” however, come from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).   As evidence of 75 reported incidents, ranging from assault to fliers opposing a mosque in Fredericksburg, there are links to only 10 news reports that go so far as to only describe allegations (many of these will likely prove to be hoaxes).

The suggested activities and curricula also come from ADL, which has long been selling its anti-bullying programs and materials to schools.  These activities are aimed at the larger goal of controlling students’ emotions and thoughts, i.e., getting them to stop “hating,” and to uncritically accept all cultures and lifestyles. (Early in the Obama administration, such anti-bullying programs were directed at protecting gay students and were coordinated with then-“safe schools czar,” the co-founder of the Gay and Lesbian Independent School Teacher Network, Kevin Jennings.)

Among the Department’s suggested activities is holding a “Walk a Mile in Her Hijab Day.”  There is a link to a video of a classroom at Vernon Hills High School in Illinois, where girls are shown in a classroom helping each other put on hijabs.  It’s presented as a fun activity, dress-up for teenagers.  The event, held last December, was organized by the school’s Muslim Student Association President, Yasmeen Abdallah, who claimed it was intended to “denounce negative stereotypes.”

At a Rochester, New York, high school, another Muslim student, Eman Muthana, successfully petitioned the administration to participate in World Hijab Day this month.  Some parents became outraged.  Muthana said it was a way to share a cultural experience and fight prejudice.

The World Hijab Day website reported that Memphis Central High School also participated this year. The blog-poster, identified only as “Mary,” a “Christian, USA,” did not report any outraged parents, but only feeling good at “seeing so many people support one another.”

The World Hijab Day website presents hijab-wearing as a sign of empowerment; women and girls who wear hijabs are called “queens, princesses, and sultanas.”

One blog post by Megan Baase, however, reveals that experimental hijab-wearing may have other effects.  Baase writes that she didn’t know much about Islam until World Hijab Day.  After reading about Islam and “why women wear hijabs,” she decided to convert: “I would’ve never learned about Islam if it weren’t for world hijab day.”  The post features a picture of her and her four-year-old son, both wearing hijabs.  She writes that she “couldn’t say no” to his request to “be just like mommy.”

Although proponents claim such activities are cultural exercises, critics rightly point out that students are not asked to participate in the wearing of crucifixes or yarmulkes.  Now, the U.S. Department of Education, under the cover of anti-bullying, is encouraging Islamic proselytizing.

The development is alarming especially given the Department’s increased grip on day-to-day school operations.  “Dear Colleague” letters give directives on such things as bullying, rape prevention, and school discipline.  School administrators tend to act preemptively to fend off potential punishment from the feds.  It’s why school websites are plastered with anti-discrimination statements and notices about training in “affirmative consent.”

To ward off charges of creating a hostile school environment, school officials may want to have proof in the form of a list of activities that encourage cultural sensitivity – like having girls wear hijabs.

Such activities do have consequences.  We need to listen to what Muslim converts say, rather than what the Department of Education says.

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EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on the Selous Foundation for Public Policy Research website. The featured image is of Vernon Hill students join their Muslim peers in wearing hijabs.

Open Letter to Ottawa’s Mayor RE: ‘Hijab Day’

The Honorable Mayor Jim Watson
Ottawa City Hall
110 Laurier Avenue west
Ottawa  Ontario  K1P 1J1.
Canada

The Honorable Mayor, Jim Watson,

I hope you will take the time to listen to my concerns about “Ottawa Hijab Day” scheduled in Ottawa, Feb 25th, 2016 and that you will give serious consideration to my request outlined below.

I am someone who believes in information and education. What reasonable person could possibly object to an event which promotes “education, acceptance and tolerance”? Unless, of course, the “education” was disinformation; the “acceptance” was acceptance of a superordinate (according to Islamists) legal system (i.e. Sharia Law) that is contrary to our democratic values and human rights; the “tolerance” was tolerance of an extremist ideology that condones honour killings, FGM and treatment of women that is incompatible with Canadian values.

I would ask that you not discount me as a “racist” or an “Islamophobe”. I am a well-educated, patriotic Canadian, who is a strong proponent of diversity and freedom of religion. I am not anti-Muslim, but I do have serious concerns about extremist Islamic ideology that runs counter to the Canadian values I hold dear.  I have known and liked many Muslims, who share my Canadian values, and are what could be called secular Muslims. They or their parents may have immigrated here to escape Sharia Law and to embrace Canadian values. (Unfortunately, not all Muslims who immigrate here do so for those reasons.)

One of the ways in which Islam differs from other religions is that, in addition to the individual, religious component, it also has a political component and a judicial component.  As a politician, you are likely to have listened to presentations by political groups (or individuals representing those political groups), whose goal it is to present extremist Islamic ideology in a favourable light, for example, by saying that the hijab is just a sign of “modesty” and that it is worn voluntarily by Muslim women. (What Canadian could be against freedom of choice?)  Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. In fact, the hijab is a symbol of adherence to an extremist Islamic ideology and in Muslim countries women who wear it do not do so freely.  I am attaching a few links for you to videos, articles, etc., which will present you with an alternate view to that which you have likely been presented by members of activist organizations affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, such as the National Council of Canadian Muslims, the Muslim Students Associations, and many more.  I would ask you to watch these videos – none of them are in any way “racist”. They are thoughtful, educational pieces intended to make people think.

First of all, the idea that the hijab or the niqab are in any way “traditional” Muslim dress is absolute hogwash!  They are relatively recent adoptions which are the result of Saudi Arabia having exported its extremist, Wahabbist/Salafist brand of Islam around the world. Along with the clothing come the extremist ideas!

Second, I am attaching a video of a speech by the so-called “Pope” of Sunni Islam (the most populous school of Islam and the school to which Saudi Wahabbism and Salafism belong) in which he argues for the wearing of the hijab. You will note that not once does he mention “modesty” as a reason to wear the hijab, but the reasons that he does give are not in keeping with integration into Canadian society.

I am also attaching a video by Bill Warner, Ph.D., entitled “The Political Side of Hijabs“, which I hope you will find interesting and enlightening.

Third, and related to whether or not the wearing of the hijab is voluntary for all Muslim women, even in Canada, I ask you to remember the unfortunate cases of Aqsa Parvez, a Toronto teen who was strangled by her father and/or brother for not wearing the hijab.  You will also remember, no doubt, the horrific case of the Montreal Shafia family “honour killings” of 3 daughters and a second wife by the father/husband and the brother, because they did not adhere to his extremist ideology, but, instead, adopted Canadian values.. These Muslim women were Canadian citizens and their killings were not only criminal; they were motivated by beliefs that are contrary to the values of equality of women and human rights.

Request:  I would like to request that you advise CAWI that, while they may continue to hold their hijab day as a privately-sponsored event, they may not call it “Ottawa Hijab Day”, as this gives the incorrect impression that it has been officially proclaimed by the City of Ottawa.  In future, events which encourage non-Muslim women to try on or wear the hijab may not be held at City Hall. You may wish to give them any or all of the following reasons:

“While City Council fully endorses activities which increase understanding between cultural and religious groups, so-called “Wear the Hijab” events are a sensitive issue and do not necessarily achieve the aim of increasing inter-faith or inter-cultural understanding.  Some women feel that wearing the hijab is their choice, while others see it as a religious obligation; still others see it as cultural, not religious.  Some feel strongly about the many Muslim women, including Canadian women, who have been killed for not wearing the hijab and believe that to celebrate the wearing of the hijab would be to do them a disservice. Some women believe that wearing the hijab is a private choice or a religious duty which identifies them as Muslim and find it offensive that non-Muslim women should wear the hijab, for any reason. Some view “Wear the Hijab” days as a form of proselytizing.  In closing, while people of all religious faiths are welcome to live and practice their faith in Ottawa, City Council will not proclaim individual days dedicated to the wearing of particular items of religious apparel or accouterments of any faith, nor will it approve the use of “Ottawa” as part of the name of any such private event, or the use of City property to celebrate such private events. ”

In closing, I would like to thank you for reading my letter. I hope you will think very carefully about the message that “Ottawa Hijab Day” sends to Canadians and internationally, particularly to those women who do not have a choice, who may be trying to escape a life of oppression, circumscribed by religious extremism, where their human rights are violated and possibly even their lives are at risk. Ottawa should be known as a city which promotes freedom of religion and equality of men and women.  Allowing a private group to advertise an “Ottawa Hijab Day” and to hold an associated event at City Hall may do damage to the City’s reputation by appearing to favour one religion over others (possibly even proselytizing on behalf of that religion) and by being seen to promote the wearing (even by non-Muslims) of a controversial item of clothing such as the hijab, which is associated in many countries with an extremist ideology that devalues women and curtails their human rights. Such events are better held at a mosque, without the assistance of public money, either directly or indirectly.

A better alternative would be to hold an Ottawa Women’s Day (for women of all faiths and cultures) or an Ottawa Human Rights Day or an Ottawa Equality Day, all of which are inclusive and promote the values that Canadians and Ottawans hold dear!

Sincerely,

Shabnam Assadollahi
Iranian Canadian human rights activist, Ottawa

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