About a month ago I made a post about the decision of the local Islamic school to exclude the Diary of Anne Frank from their curriculum. I had been told that the school administrators did not want to encourage sympathy--that is, sympathy for Jews. I thought it a problem, exacerbating already strained relations and emotions on the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
Just last week I became aware of the fruits of that decision. A class at Duke University has been visiting our mosque a few times over the last couple months in a partnership to tutor some of the students at the Islamic school, and also learn some themselves about Islam and Muslims. Last Friday was the last session at the mosque, and it involved a panel with some members of the community. I was there on behalf of the da'wah committee only to facilitate the event, and found that the beginning topic was not what had been scheduled, but a fierce condemnation of some 'behavior' of some student at the school during a tutoring session.
The Duke students asked about the curriculum, and the brother on the panel just simply condemned the act and insisted it had nothing to do with the school. One sister on the panel described the importance of justice in the world and why the class needed to be sure to vote.
What was the behavior that had so upset the class?
Written in the student's workbook, "Kill the Jews."
The tutor who found it was Jewish. So was the teacher of this class at Duke. Isn't that embarrassing?
And the brother insisted that it had nothing to do with the curriculum, and that nothing needed to be added to the curriculum to encourage tolerance and respect. I beg to differ! And I can't help but relate the issue to the fact that the school deliberately wants to avoid sympathy for the Jewish people because of Israel today. I see that as a systemic attitude of the school administration which has crept into the classroom.
Sure, it has probably been helped by the attitudes of parents and reactions to friends and family who might be suffering in the Middle East. But I don't think that is a fair excuse. I think the community is deliberately trying to foster a hatred of Jewish people, and I don't think it's fair.
I'm not even talking about being politically correct, here, but being fair, being just, being upright. Some things are wrong, plainly wrong--and this is one of those things. I was very upset that the panelists could not simply say so, and that they tried to excuse it, that they tried to wipe over it, and refused the idea of any changes for improvement.
The shame is on us.