Purposely Inflammatory Headlines, Part Lots+1: U.S. School Makes Girls Follow Islamic Dress Code!

Posted: January 10, 2015 in education, religion
Tags: , , , , , , ,

One of World Net Daily’s non-trademarked trademarks is to write purposely inflammatory headlines that distort the story to make their readership pissed off and riled up. The latest by Bob Unruh (January 8, 2015), is no exception: “Firestorm: U.S. School Makes Girls Follow Islamic Dress Code.”

That headline sounds as though a normal school in the US is making girls cover up from head to toe with only a slit for their eyes. Then I thought, “Okay, maybe this is a private, religious school,” in which case they would be permitted to do that because religious schools have a lot of leeway. In which case it’s no worse than nuns hitting students with rulers (I’d say its less worse) or the other kinds of dress codes. This is America where parents have the religious freedom to send their students to religious schools that have dress codes.

But, this story isn’t even that. This story is about an elective social studies class on world religions, that has a non-required field trip to different religious places of worship. And, the school sent a letter home with students that explained to parents that the students who were going to go on this field trip would be required to follow the dress codes at each place of worship. But, I don’t see anyone complaining about yarmulkes for boys going to the Temple/Synagogue.

In fact, the WND article says (sort of) as much in the first two paragraphs:

The Douglas County School District in Colorado, under fire for saying that schoolgirls might have to cover up from head to ankle for a field trip to a Muslim mosque, has confirmed that such Shariah requirements will be enforced on the outing.

“Students who choose to attend the [Rocky Heights Middle School] world religion field trip are expected to respect the dress code of the host facility,” the school said in a statement posted online.

Maybe I’m a left-wing crazy, but to me, this does not seem like a ridiculous requirement. The students will be -for all intent and purpose – a guest at each place of worship (“the Denver Mosque, the Assumption Greek Orthodox Cathedral, and the Rodef-Shalom Synagogue”). If you are a guest, you should be following the rules.

Part of the problem, however, is that Islamophobe-in-Chief (and WND Commenter) Pamela Geller got wind of this:

The note sent to families, according to a report from Islam expert and commentator Pamela Geller, said: “The world religions field trip is next Tuesday, January 13. We will be visiting the Denver Mosque, the Assumption Greek Orthodox Cathedral, and the Rodef-Shalom Synagogue. We will then eat lunch at Park Meadows Food Court. Students must either bring a sack lunch or money to purchase lunch at the food court.”

It continued: “THERE IS A DRESS CODE FOR THIS TRIP: All students must wear appropriate long pants. Ankles must be covered. Girls must bring wide scarves or hooded sweatshirts for the mosque.”

Geller said the “subjugation and oppression of women are enshrined under the Shariah.”

“Young school girls should not be forced to ‘respect’ a dress code that represents honor violence, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, child marriage, et al,” she wrote.

I would ask Ms. Geller to read Leviticus in her Bible before casting judgement on the literal tenants of strict Islam. There, she would find such light reading as, if you have sex with your neighbor’s wife, both are to be killed (Leviticus 18:20). Or, just general blasphemy is punishable by stoning to death (Leviticus 24:14).

But, back to the article, even Bob Unruh apparently felt the need to be somewhat fair and point out that the field trip is optional:

Officials explained the field trip is an option, not a requirement.

“If the decision is made to not participate in a field trip, alternative educational opportunities are provided,” the district said. “This is true for any DCSD field trip, including the RHMS world religion field trip.”

If students do choose to participate in the field trip, they are subject to the Shariah dress requirements of the mosque, the school said.

“As part of providing an authentic learning opportunity for students, DCSD provides an optional field trip to further support the world religion course, thus allowing students who choose to participate to discuss what they experienced on the field trip with their family members and eventually leading to the development of their own views,” the school district said.

Geller observed: “Here again we see that anywhere American law and Islamic law conflict, it is American law that has to give way.”

But again, we see the over-reaction by Pamela Geller. This is not a case of American law versus Islamic law. This is a case of an optional field trip for students in an optional class to better understand world religions. This has nothing to do with American law, and I would almost say this has nothing to do with Islamic law but rather moderate Islamic customs when in places of worship.

  1. Tea Partier says:

    Dr. Robbins, just heard about your site on The Conspiracy Skeptic episode about the squirrel on mars, loved it by the way, and decided to check it out. I don’t expect us to agree on a lot of things so I figured I’d find something that we do agree on for my first comment. Didn’t take me too long to find it.
    You might be left-wing crazy and I know that I’m right-wing crazy, but to require students to follow the rules of the places of worship they will be visiting on an optional field trip for an elective class, I agree 100%, is not a ridiculous requirement. If you don’t want to wear a burka, don’t go on the trip, sounds easy enough to me.
    Work and a generally busy lifestyle will limit how often I can view and comment on your blog but I look forward to reading more of your take on these stories from WND and I’m looking forward to having intelligent conversations with you and maybe we can both learn from each other.
    Until then, God bless.

    • Stuart Robbins says:

      I generally try to go for the really crazy stories on WND (which isn’t hard), and/or ones that are a gross misrepresentation of what’s going on. These days, I also am finding myself to be more libertarian on many issues than far-left. I expect we may agree on a lot if you tend to agree that religion should not be legislated; otherwise, we’ll probably disagree a lot.

      But, as long as comments are reasonable, they’ll get through. I have only censored comments that are obvious spam, ones that argue for killing someone (recently came in for my Arpaio post), and ones that are full of profanity. I may not respond, though.

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