The Volusia County Republican Party says that the federal government is promoting Islam to public school children. "The United States Department of Education has introduced an Islamic indoctrination program for the public schools, called ‘Access Islam,’" states the mass email sent by the party April 2.
The email said that classroom instructions have students learning "the core duties of Muslims" and "what it means to proclaim faith or belief as a Muslim."
"The Education Department offers no similar learning material for Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism or any other major world religion. Just Islam," the email said.
To support its claims, the party points to a March 28 video by the Christian Action Network, a group that says its goal is to "protect America’s religious and moral heritage through educational efforts."
The video, narrated by network founder Martin Mawyer, criticizes Access Islam, a program produced by PBS’ Thirteen/WNET New York. The program received grant money from the federal government about a decade ago.
The network recently sent a letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos asking her to denounce the program and remove it from any government website.
We looked at several of the lesson plans and videos from Access Islam, which draws from the PBS series Religion and Ethics Newsweekly.
Much of the content provides educational information about religious traditions and holidays. Other video segments explained the tensions between Somali Muslim immigrants and other residents in Maine; how students learn in a madrassah, and the challenges faced by Muslims to differentiate themselves from terrorists.
Lesson plans include facts such as that Muslims pray five times a day, cultural variations and what the First Amendment says about religion.
It’s unclear how many schools have used the materials, and there is certainly no requirement that schools do. Mawyer told PolitiFact he found a few examples including the state of Indiana, which listed Access Islam in a resource guide for teachers of world history. The guide includes a disclaimer that the Indiana department hasn’t evaluated the materials which "are not intended to represent the best or only approach to any particular issue."
The Florida Department of Education said whether to use Access Islam is a decision for local school districts.
Access Islam is not part of the resource list given to Volusia County Schools World History teachers however teachers can choose their own resources as long as they conforms to the standards, a district spokesperson said.
Broward, Pinellas and Hillsborough school districts don’t use the Access Islam curriculum, district spokespersons said.
The U.S. Education Department granted $166,000 in fiscal year 2005 and $8,000 in fiscal year 2006 for the program, but we could find no recent involvement by the department. In case there was any tinge of partisan politics, the grants came while George W. Bush, a Republican was president. Spokespersons for the department and PBS did not respond to our questions by our deadline.
Experts to review the Access Islam materials and all said they did not consider the materials to be "indoctrination": Linda K. Wertheimer, journalist and author of the book Faith Ed, Teaching About Religion In An Age of Intolerance; Mark Fowler, Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding deputy chief executive officer; Charles C. Haynes, Vice President of the Newseum Institute’s Religious Freedom Center and Diane Moore director of Harvard Divinity School’s Religious Literacy Project.
Martin Mawyer said that, through PBS, the DOE is disseminating materials that allow teachers to quiz students on what Muslim prayers sound like and what prayer movements look like.
The United States Department of Education has developed an ISIS Islamic indoctrination program for public schools called, ‘Access Islam.’
The lesson plans are written for grades 5 through 12. They include worksheets and videos to help students perform the 5 Pillars of Islam – prayer, fasting, alms giving, pilgrimage to Mecca and the proclamation of Muslim faith.
This short video contains excerpted clips taken from the “Access Islam’ program which not only teaches children how to perform a Muslim prayer, but asks students such questions as: ‘What does a Muslim prayer sound like?’ ‘What do the movements look like?’ and ‘What are some of the things Muslims say during prayer?’
Below are links to information published in the Communique – the official newsletter of the National Association of school psychologists.
In the November 2016 issue of the communique there is the 3rd of a series of articles about muslim students. The current article is titled “Meeting the Needs of Muslim American Students.”
To access the online document you would need to be a NASP member. The second and 3rd links show the conference brochure for Arizona Association of School Psychologists. A 3-hour session is devoted to accommodating muslim students.
How the British have passively succumbed to the Muslim invasion:
This is unconstitutional and immoral.
Congress shall make no law regarding the establishment of religion. Congress gave unauthorized authority to the Dept of Ed., and this is the result.
From a country that used the Bible to school children, to this blasphemy.... .
CFR has been very busy,and so has England with our Bible and the Muslim Faith. Think about it.
I do. And I know. Shut the Christians up and bring on the muslimes. It is everywhere and it is demonic. There is NO reason that any group of thinking individuals can consider islam anything but what it is—a terrorist organization, government, judicial system, political system, and a pretend religion. According to Webster's 1828 dictionary, to be a religion, there MUST be a moral presence and belief system. There is none in islam.