A Freedom of Information Act request filed by the Thomas More Law Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan revealed deeply concerning information on a mandatory two-day teacher training session on Islam conducted for public school teachers in the state which denigrated Christianity while presenting Islam in an exclusively positive light.
“We found that the teachers were subjected to two days of Islamic propaganda, where Islam was glorified, Christianity disparaged, and America bashed—all funded by Novi taxpayers,” explained Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel at the Thomas More Law Center. He noted that the school district had not sponsored teacher trainings on Christianity, Judaism, or other religions over the past five years, but solely on Islam.
The “cultural competency” expert hired by the Novi Community Schools District in Michigan is Huda Essa of Culture Links LLC, a hijab-wearing woman of Arab descent. After examining numerous documents relating to Essa’s presentation including audio transcripts from her talk, the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC) found that “information on Islam she provided to Novi teachers was riddled with falsehoods and errors of omission that were clearly meant to deceive.”
During the two-day training session, Essa “spent a great deal of time in her Novi presentation talking about Muslim women, whom she described as victims of Islamophobia on the part of bigoted Americans,” explains a press release from the TMLC. She described cases where hijab-wearing Muslim women have been attacked or killed for their religious dress but provided no details on when or where these attacks occurred. As the Thomas More Law Center pointed out in its release, “anti-Muslim attacks are relatively rare in America and actually fell by 17 percent in 2017” while “Anti-Jewish hate crimes that year out-numbered anti-Muslim offenses by nearly four to one.”
Essa also claimed that mistreatment of women in Islamic countries is due only to “cultural” differences, and not to the Islamic religion itself, which in fact dictates radically different rules for men and women.
Her presentation repeatedly portrayed Christianity in a negative light, claiming that the Christian scriptures were “corrupted” over time whereas the Koran contains the true and “pure” word of God. Claiming that Christianity and Islam are “mostly similar,” she also asserted that Islam is in fact the world’s “only purely monotheistic religion.”
Teachers attending the training session were taught to believe in a whitewashed version of Islam. Essa told those in attendance that the word “Islam” is a variation on the Arabic word “salaam” which means peace. As the TMLC points out, Islam is more accurately translated as “submission,” since Muslims must submit to Allah and Sharia law before all other authorities. She also described the phrase “Allahu Abkar” as a refrain used to convey strong emotions; she did not mention that this same phrase is used as a battle-cry by Islamic terrorists conducting attacks.
The problematic presentation on Islam was not limited to one Michigan school district. Essa’s website lists nine separate school districts in Michigan as clients and also public schools, colleges and professional organizations in numerous other states including California, Texas, Georgia, and Florida. For the two-day presentation for the Novi Community Schools District, Essa’s organization was paid $5,000. The Freedom of Information Act requests filed by the TMLC further revealed that the district did not fully vet Essa before allowing her to conduct the mandatory training, nor did they conduct a factual analysis of her claims. In spite of the school district’s limited screening process, Essa was given access to data from student and faculty surveys.
“This type of infiltration amounts to an Islamic Trojan horse within our public-school systems,” Thompson of the Thomas More Law Center said. “No other religion gets this kind of special treatment in our schools.”
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