There was some good news and some bad news last week in the struggle to preserve Western civilization from the insidious efforts of Islamofascists to penetrate, adulterate and ultimately destroy it.
First, some of the positive developments:
c Over the strenuous objections of Democratic leaders in both the House and Senate, the U.S. Congress approved legislation championed by Rep. Peter King and Sens. Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins to protect actual and potential "John Does" — people who do their civic duty by warning law enforcement authorities about suspicious activity that might involve terrorism.
Such protection was necessitated when a Muslim Brotherhood front group and unindicted co-conspirator in a terrorism financing case, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), threatened to sue individuals who tipped-off flight personnel and police about the "Flying Imams" and their threatening behavior in Minneapolis last November. (There seems, by the way, to be ample support for tightening the legislation further should CAIR try to use its "good faith" proviso to continue to hector public-spirited Americans.)
c Speaking of misconduct on planes, three Qatari princesses were escorted from an aircraft in Italy after British Airways and fellow passengers, despite a 2½ hour standoff on the runway, refused to be euchred into accommodating the royals' demand — on religious and cultural grounds, of course — not to sit next to male strangers during a flight to London.
c Elsewhere in the Free World, Australia's Treasury Minister Peter Costello — widely seen as the heir apparent to the formidable Prime Minister John Howard — forcefully rejected demands for accommodations by Islamists Down Under. He said on national television Wednesday: "I'd be saying to clerics who are teaching that there are two laws governing people in Australia, one the Australian law and another Islamic law — that is false. ... If you want a country which has Shariah law or a theocratic state, then Australia is not for you."
c On Friday, a public school in San Diego, Carver Elementary, responded to a public furor by eliminating the practice of affording Muslim students time during classes for midday prayers. Instead, they will be able to do their praying during lunch hour. The school also eliminated another accommodation to such students: single-gender education.
Unfortunately, there has been no similar good news from the New York City public school system, which seems determined to resist a growing outcry over an impending taxpayer-financed Islamist beachhead in Brooklyn.
In this space last week, we reported that a sixth-grade class dubbed the Khalil Gibran International Academy (KGIA), is supposed to begin teaching students in September inside a New York public school. Despite a promise by Chancellor Joel Klein to "shut it down" if the KGIA turned out to have a political, religious or national agenda, evidence has continued to accumulate that supports concerns this will prove to be the Islamists' proverbial "camel's nose under the tent": A principal with extensive ties to Islamist organizations and agendas, a planning committee and advisory board of similar sorts and their apologists, and a complete lack of transparency about the curriculum and pedagogy.
Opacity about the planned KGIA course work has been compounded by New York City's failure to comply with the law by providing unresponsive answers to formal requests for information. The latest was filed last week pursuant to the state's Freedom of Information Law by a lawyer for the newly formed "Stop the Madrassa Coalition" — a group of concerned parents and citizens opposing the stealthy establishment of this publicly funded Islamist academy.
All we know is that the principal, Dhabah Almontaser, has said "We will be able to infuse historical information into math and science and literature.... With any foreign language you engage in, you need to learn the history, culture and customs of the people in order to navigate the language effectively and not offend anyone." Does she intend to do such "infusing" with Saudi textbooks, like those Nina Shea of the Hudson Institute found were rife with anti-Semitic, anti-Christian and anti-Western invective? Or how about the Islamist "Council on Islamic Education," which offers a curriculum that explains when jihad (even violent "struggle") is appropriate, and when it is not?
Or perhaps Ms. Almontaser has in mind the pledge of allegiance offered by the Bureau of Islamic and Arabic Education (http://www.biae.net/pledge.html): "As an American Muslim, I pledge allegiance to Allah and his Prophet, I respect and love my family and my community, and I dedicate my life to serving the cause of truth and justice." Only then does it get to allegiance to "the flag of the United States of America, etc." with the introductory caveat "As an American citizen, with rights and responsibilities.... "
As long as those responsible for New York's public schools decline to answer legitimate questions about the nature and sources of the incipient Khalil Gibran academy's program, they will inflame concerns about the potential for Islamists' pedagogic abuse of the students and fiscal abuse of the taxpayers under the guise of the sort of "multiculturalism" now beginning, properly, to be rejected elsewhere. They will also intensify concerns that a publicly financed madrassa in Brooklyn will set a precedent for similar inroads far beyond New York City, and negate at least some of the progress being made on other fronts in the War for the Free World.
Frank J. Gaffney Jr. is president of the Center for Security Policy and a supporter of the Stop the Madrassa Coalition.