This blog, short as its existence has been so far, relies heavily on the crazy and the stupid. They are the inspiration without which my objections could not proceed. And yet, their obstinately ignorant bloviating can be infuriating, especially when I consider that a lot of people might actually believe what they're saying.
A handy "for instance" came up on Leap Day. My son's a 5th grade student, so next fall he'll be heading off to middle school. Franklin Middle had an open house for parents on Leap Day. Like many others, I missed the part about it being for parents only and brought the boy along, but he had a nice time with a few of his friends who were there, too. After a tour of the school, the kids were segregated to the main cafeteria to talk with guidance counselors about what to expect as 6th graders while the parents were presented information about the school.
And then the floor was opened for parental questions. The second question was when the crazy train arrived at the station. A guy who clearly spends too much time listening to talk radio and surfing right wing conspiracy web sites prefaces his question by saying that he read on line about a school to the south (not clear if he meant further south in Maryland or further south in the US) was teaching a class where students were taught sharia law, given Muslim names, and otherwise, by implication, indoctrinated in radical Islam. He wanted to know if any such class was taught at Franklin.
Our title today was my first reaction.
But really looking at this, it's dumbfounding how much ignorance there is in the entire supposition.
Ignorance number one: Any teaching about Islam is teaching radical Islam. It's as if the very mention of the word Islam is equivalent to strapping bombs to kids and sending them out to blow up the local mall. Criminy. You'd think someone so concerned about the influence of radical Islam would think it a good idea for kids to learn about Islam so they'd know what to guard against. But he's more interested in his fear than alleviating his fear.
Ignorance number two: Giving kids Muslim names. This one has two aspects. One, it's not unusual for kids to have foreign names as part of a foreign culture or language class. My 8th grade daughter has a Spanish name for Spanish class. It's just a fun thing to encourage immersion in the learning of Spanish. No big deal. Two, there's no such thing as a Muslim name. There are Arab names, Persian names, Indonesian names, and so on. Muslims around the world have various names based on their local culture and sometimes in honor of significant historical figures in Islam, such as the Prophet Muhammad. It's no different from my name, Thomas, being a result of my father's liking of Thomas Jefferson and my maternal grandfather's middle name being Thomas. Because Islam began in Arabia, Arab names are seen throughout various Islamic cultures around the world.
Ignorance number three: Sharia law is taking over the US. In the course of writing this post, I did a little searching, mostly for some pictures to put up on here, as my last few posts have been shy of illustrations. Holy crap is there a cottage industry of paranoia about Sharia? Damn, the results on that are ridiculous. I can see why this guy's panties are all in a bunch, especially if he's one of the many who are short on critical thinking skills. Below is a link to the one site that came up on the first page of the Google results that takes some time to debunk a hysterical article published in Military Press magazine in October 2011. At least Military Press retracted the article, but it's no wonder we're having problems in relations between military personnel and Muslims in the lands where they're serving if they're being told that Muslim fifth columnists are trying to take over the US.