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The Founders and Religious Liberty

Dem Congressman: American Schools Should Run More Like Muslim Madrasas

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
U.S. Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN) recently told a Muslim audience that American schools should operate more like Islamic “madrasas,” the Arabic word for schools. He was addressing the Islamic Circle of North America conference in Hartford, Connecticut in May.

“America will never tap into educational innovation and ingenuity without looking at the model that we have in our madrassas, in our schools where innovation is encouraged, where the foundation is the Koran. And that model that we are pushing in some of our schools meets the multiple needs of students.”

See the video here .

It is certainly wise to call for greater innovation in our public schools. That is vitally necessary. We have an educational system that is reticent to change. The establishment model provides us with a human being in front of 30 students in neatly formed rows of desks. It provides an assembly-line system of students moving from classroom to classroom to receive 50 minutes of instruction about a particular subject.

It prefers the technology of 1980 – testing with Scanton bubble sheets – over today’s. It is the politicians who have protected such a system because they kowtow to political forces that would be wiped away by “innovation.”

But beyond innovation, Carson’s call for a madrasa-like government school system is a disturbing one. Madrasas are commonly seen as anti-Western indoctrination centers which have kept women barred from learning. They’re known for radicalizing young children against the West and the state of Israel. Biased textbooks are routinely criticized for their overt and gross slander, particularly of those of the Jewish faith.

Carson’s idea is a radical departure from the status quo and would not be a step in the right direction. America is, and always will be, a land of religious tolerance, where all people are free to observe their particular beliefs. But we are society built on Judeo/Christian ethics, and they remain the moral building blocks of our educational system, in private as well as public schools.

Beyond that, Americans already haggle over the “separation of church and state.” Leftists are vigilant in their effort to prevent the observance of Christianity on school property. How would people in Carson’s own Democratic Party react to a publicly-financed school “where the foundation is the Koran?” If the Bible is not welcome in American schools, we’d be willing to bet the Muslim holy book would be given a pretty chilly reception.

Muslim schools are free to operate as Muslim schools. But the message they too frequently offer their students is not one many would care to have in our taxpayer-funded classrooms.

Thanks but no thanks, Rep. Carson.

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