Chalk up Rep. Andre Carson as the latest African American to be demonized by Fox News. In a speech several weeks ago – but just blared by Breitbart a few days ago – Carson promoted madrassas as a model for ingenuity and innovation that should be looked at by American schools. Thursday night (7/5/12), Hannity guest host and conspiracy-theorist extraordinaire, Monica Crowley jumped at the opportunity to use that quote to portray Carson as some kind of poster child for creeping Sharia. And how did “Democratic strategist” Julie Roginsky advocate for her side? By immediately distancing herself from Carson and completely ignoring Fox’s over-the-top hate mongering.
In his speech, Carson spoke of challenges facing American Muslims in a tough economy and post 9/11:
America will never win the war against terrorism without help from the Muslim community. America will never tap into educational innovation and ingenuity without looking at the model that we have in our madrassas, in our schools, where innovation is encouraged, where the foundation is the Koran. And that model that we are pushing in some of our schools meets the multiple needs of students. …I have found that we need an educational model that is current, that meets the needs of our students. America must understand that she needs Muslims.
It’s true Carson was talking up madrassas and having a school with the Koran as a foundation. But he said America should be “looking at the model” of madrassas, not turning them into public schools. Predictably, Crowley interpreted Carson's remarks as an endorsement of Muslim education for all.
Here’s a Democrat member of Congress saying that American schools should use Islamic madrassas as their model and that the foundation of American education should be the Koran.
Rather than note Crowley’s almost certainly exaggerated interpretation, Roginsky gave a useless–to-Democrats answer: that there’s no role for any religion in public education. “Let me be clear, he was dead wrong,” Roginsky said. She seems to have made absolutely no effort to determine what Carson really had in mind for the U.S. If she had, she might have learned, as Carson said in a statement today that he meant exactly what I thought he meant:
My remarks at ICNA call attention to the fact that faith-based schools throughout this country have excelled because of innovative instructional methods and a willingness to engage different learning styles – whether visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. While I do not believe that any particular faith should be the foundation of our public schools, it is important that we take note of the instructional tools these schools utilize to empower their young people. Christian, Jewish, and Islamic schools have experienced notable success by casting off a one-size-fits-all approach to education, and this is a model we must replicate. Having attended a parochial elementary school myself, I’ve seen these successes first hand. If we are going to take American education to the next level, we must expand successful models and implement the practices that will enable success for our students.
Even worse, Roginsky sat silent as Crowley went on to accuse Carson of, essentially, treason and working to implement Islamic law for the U.S. Crowley said the organization Carson had spoken to was “loosely associated with the Muslim Brotherhood… Their purpose is to undermine America from within, to install sharia and so on. Here is a U.S. member of Congress advocating this in our schools… This is not some crazy guy on a box standing on Fifth Avenue advocating this. This is a U.S. member of Congress… Doesn’t this raise concerns about the kind of infiltration that we have been talking about?”
Crowley went on to quote some of Carson’s other “incendiary” quotes and sneer, “Here’s a guy throwing firebombs from his perch in the U.S. Congress all the time.”
Still no peep of objection from Roginsky, even though she was sitting on the set of a news network whose stock in trade is throwing firebombs. In fact, another firebomb was on its way, as guest Jack Abramoff (yes, that Jack Abramoff) said Carson “should be in the Congress of Iran” and Crowley offered up Egypt as an alternative.
To be fair, Roginsky did challenge Abramoff for his comments. But as Crowley had the nerve to demand, “Where’s the condemnation?” of Carson from other Democrats, Roginsky jumped to appease. She boasted, “I’m a member of the Democratic Party and I think it’s outrageous.”
Was Roginsky just clueless about Fox’s obvious agenda to use this segment as a means to demonize a Democratic Congressman and fear monger about Islam? In deep denial? Or did she consciously decide - either out of loyalty to the network that pays her or out of some notion that appeasement was the best strategy - to go along with their agenda? It’s hard to know which would be worse – not knowing what Fox was up to or deciding to give them a pass if she did.
As far as I’m concerned, the American public school does NOT need any input from any religious school model. The public schools’ problem right now is due TO religious nutcases who want the public to pay for THEIR schools while they indoctrinate their students with all sorts of religious nonsense. If it were up to me, there wouldn’t be a single religious-based school that would be accredited (and certainly NONE would be given even one measly cent from public education funds—to put it in terms the religious nuts would understand, “Let God take care of your money problems”). Religion has NO purpose in public schools—that’s what church and the parents are supposed to be there for.