Press Release: Penn. High School Drops Anti-Islam ‘Obsession’ Video
Civil rights group calls film ‘vehicle for promoting anti-Muslim bigotry’
(PHILADELPHIA, PA, 9/21/09) – The Pennsylvania chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-PA) announced today that a high school in that state has dropped an anti-Islam video listed for use in one of its classes.
Earlier this month, CAIR-PA sent a letter to the superintendent of the Council Rock School District expressing concerns about a hate-filled video, “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West,” listed in the syllabus of a course at Council Rock High School in Newtown, Penn.
In her letter, CAIR-PA Director of Civil Rights Marwa El-Turky wrote in part:
“’Obsession’ is a vehicle for promoting anti-Muslim bigotry that seeks to blur the distinction between violent extremism and mainstream Islam. The use of such an inaccurate and inflammatory film in a world history class would inevitably result in both the promotion of stereotypes and the creation of a hostile learning environment for Muslim students.
“The hate-filled agenda promoted by the film has been repudiated by the Hate Hurts America Multifaith Community Coalition (HHA), a group of religious and civic organizations seeking to challenge hate speech in our society…Those interviewed in Obsession constitute a veritable who’s who of Muslim-bashers.
“…this film is obviously not suitable teaching material for a captive audience of impressionable youth. We therefore respectfully ask that ‘Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West’ be dropped from the curriculum and that representatives of the local Muslim community be invited to offer balanced and accurate information about Islam and the American Muslim experience.”
In his response to CAIR-PA’s concerns, Superintendent of Schools Mark J. Klein noted that the course was eliminated from the curriculum for the 2008-2009 school year and that, “Along with the elimination of this course, we will represent to you that this film will not be used in any other course in Council Rock.”
“We appreciate the school district’s prompt and appropriate response and hope that any future courses touching on Islam will use accurate and balanced educational materials,” said El-Turky.
She noted that a high school in Kentucky was recently involved in a controversy over a similarly anti-Islam video shown in a classroom. The producer of that video, an extremist Dutch politician, recently called for a “head rags tax” on Muslim women who choose to wear Islamic scarves.
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR-PA Director of Civil Rights Marwa El-Turky, 267-515-6710, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787 or 202-341-4171, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org