The Christian Action Network (CAN) says the U.S Department of Education is funding an Islamic education program in America’s public schools, in which students in grades 5 through 12 are taught the Islamic way of life in a way that crosses the line from academics to indoctrination.
“’Access Islam’ is funded by the Department of Education and is being promoted on various websites,” Martin Mawyer, president and founder of CAN, tells Breitbart News. “So, PBS Learning Media is one of the websites that is promoting it. The Smithsonian also promotes it, the Indiana Department of Education promotes it, and even the United Nations promotes it.”
The “Access Islam” curriculum includes 10 lesson plans, including the “Five Pillars of Islam;” “Salat: Prayer in Muslim Life;” “Ramadan Observance;” “Quran: Sacred Scripture of Islam;” “The Haji: Journey to Mecca;” “Islam in America;” and “Women in Islam.”
Mawyer explains his objections:
When we took a look at the various lesson plans that are being offered, we thought they certainly crossed the line of anything that would be considered constitutional. When a teacher is expected to quiz their students on such questions as “What does a Muslim prayer sound like?” “What do Muslim prayer movements look like?” and “What are some of the things that Muslims say while they’re praying?” this is no longer a question of academia, it’s a question of what we would believe is religious indoctrination.
Mawyer says that, through the “Access Islam” curriculum, students in public schools in America are taught that Allah is God, at the same time they would never be taught that Jesus is God.
In a demand letter to U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, president of PBS Paula Kerger, and president of Ohio State University Michael Drake, CAN articulates its view of the discrepancies between how Islam is treated in the lesson plans, and how other faiths, such as Christianity and Judaism, are often presented in schools.
“The nature of the materials and the lack of any similar materials for other religions such as Judaism, Christianity or Hinduism demonstrate the Establishment Clause violation, because there can be no argument that the materials are for comparative educational purposes,” the letter asserts, continuing:
We demand that you immediately remove all such promoted lesson plans from the publicly funded web sites and immediately cease spending public funds on the promotion of the Islamic religious in this or any other manner. Further, we demand that Secretary DeVos issue a public announcement that the past and future use of public funds for these materials including the use of the materials in public schools violates the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution.
Asked about the roots of the “Access Islam” program in America, Mawyer says CAN has been able to determine the curriculum was originally started by President George W. Bush in 2005.
“But at that time, it was a program that simply taught students about the traditions, culture, and holidays of Islam,” he explains. “Then, it became greatly expanded under the Obama administration. It has continued to develop, and now has had a greater, broader outreach.”
CAN has launched a petition to “dump Access Islam” from public schools in the United States.
“I am calling on all Americans to demand the Department of Education dump this program,” Mawyer says. “This is an outrageous abuse of our taxpayer dollars, and an affront to the rights of parents to teach their children the religion of their choice.”
Breitbart News received no response to a request for comment from the U.S. Education Department.