Sympathy for Terror in the Classroom

The Blaze has a disturbing report based on an investigation they’ve been conducting into an educational program called “Dying to be a Martyr” that appears to be designed to engender sympathy for Palestianian terrorism.  The lesson plan, which has been featured for over ten years on the website of the taxpayer-funded Public Broadcasting System, features videos of would-be terrorists explaining why they wage jihad against Israel and shows teachers how they can frame questions in such a way so that students can identify with those who carry out terror attacks:

Among the other biased aspects of the lesson plan are instructions for teachers to “Check for understanding by asking students to respond to the focus question. (Mohanned, feels he would rather die and by a martyr than live his life, sees his life as hollow—in contrast he sees Israelis as happy, going out, having fun, traveling.) Ask your students why Mohanned may feel that way (Answers may include: Palestinians have less land, fewer privileges, cannot come and go as they please.)”

A new investigation into the lesson plan and its origins show the plan was developed in New York state and was, until just a couple of weeks ago, promoted by the New York State Education Department. Following a request for comment from state officials, NYSED abruptly altered its website without a comment, essentially covering up the fact the website ever contained the “Dying to be a Martyr” material.

So basically the New York public school system, which thought it was jim-dandy to feature the lesson plan so long as it remained in the shadows, abruptly consigned it to the memory hole as soon as they got caught.  Just move along, folks, nothing to see here.

An investigation by The Blaze reveals the teacher who authored “Dying to be a Martyr” is still teaching at Ballston Spa High School, a public school in Ballston Spa, New York, located in Saratoga County. At Ballston Spa, the teacher leads courses covering world history for 9th and 10th graders. A review of classroom notes posted to the teacher’s website shows she covers the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in great deal in her course. Among the many questions students are asked to answer are “What is Hammas’ view ?” and “How were Palestinian refugees treated?”

What’s missing is that Hamas has already made that view perfectly clear in its charter:

The Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to the realization of Allah’s promise, no matter how long that should take. The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said: ‘The day of judgment will not come until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jews will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say ‘O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.’

Which brings us back to the fundamental problem that has prevented a long-term solution to the conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis:  the Palestinians want the Israelis dead, period.  Compromise with people like that isn’t really an option.  As for the kind of sympathy that “Dying to be a Maryr” would seek to inspire, that would be an interesting trick–considering that genocide is the terrorists’ ultimate goal.

Now contrast that with another story that’s developing in my neck of the woods down in Florida:

The Pinellas County School District is looking into why a controversial, anti-Muslim propaganda film was played in a high school classroom.

A parent of a student at Tarpon Springs High school said his daughter told him she watched the movie, “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West,” in her sophomore history class on Wednesday.

The Council on American Islamic Relations says this film has no place in schools.

“This film is pure propaganda that is really used to demonize the Muslim religion by a group, the Clarion Project that was designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group,” said Thania Diaz Clevenger, the Civil Rights Dir. with CAIR.

So on the one hand, we have a public school system hawking a lesson plan that presents an uncritical view of radical Islamic terrorism–and nobody has boo to say about it.  On the other hand, we have another public school presenting a documentary on the dangers of radical Islamic terrorism–and all hell breaks loose.  All because one parent complained, and then the Council on American Islamic Relations got involved.

So what exactly is the film Obsession all about?  WFLA, the TV station that covered this story, seems to take at face value CAIR’s assertion that it’s nothing more than bigoted, anti-Islamic propaganda.  The film itself, however, draws from interviews with mainstream sources who are very well-informed about the threat posed by global jihad–people such as Steve Emerson from the Investigative Project on Terrorism, Daniel Pipes from the Middle East Forum, and Caroline Glick from the Jerusalem Post.  In other words, it ain’t the work of fringe kooks who are out to bash Mohammed.  Obsession also takes care to point out that radical Islam is not all Islam, and that the vast majority of the victims of jihad are actually Muslims.  The film has also drawn a lot of praise from many quarters, all the way from Glenn Beck at the Blaze to Frank Gaffney at the Center for Security Policy.

CAIR, meanwhile, was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a fundraising scheme for Hamas, a terrorist organization.  Call me cynical, but I think that undermines their credibility just a bit.  For an organization that shills for jihadis to label anything as propaganda–and be taken seriously by a major media outlet–would be laughable, if it weren’t so scary.

The greatest irony, however, came unwittingly from CAIR’s own civil rights director:

“How you could use that in an educational setting, especially for someone as a high school student, kind of boggles our mind,” said Clevenger.

With such a pointed statement, she could have just as easily been talking about “Dying to be a Martyr.”  But we all know better, don’t we?

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Marc Giller

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