The town of Houghton-le-Spring in England is hardly the sort of place that you would expect to find an uproar over schools and religion.
Mark McLachlan’s twelve-year-old step-daughter goes to the Kepier School in Houghton-le-Spring. Mr. McLachlan was looking through his stepdaughter’s school planner when he noticed an assignment that angered him. He found the words, “Write a letter to family about converting to Islam.” When he asked her about it, he found out that indeed she was assigned to pretend that she had converted to Islam and then write a letter to her parents explaining the reasons for her conversion.
He saw the assignment as an attempt to indoctrinate his child. As he explained it, “If they want children to learn about Islam, then go teach them all about it and its history. What I don’t want is a school asking my stepdaughter to look into reasons for converting to another religion.”
He contacted the school’s Head Teacher, Nicola Cooper. Her response was the essence of educational bureaucratic talk. “At Kepier we feel it is very important to introduce our learners to all faiths and cultures and we do this throughout the academic year. … Our Culture and Wellbeing programme of study is in line with the National Curriculum…”1
A Groundbreaking Report
This is only one of many similar cases in the European Union described in the eye-opening report “The Submission of Schools to the Crescent,” released by the Cultuur onder Vuur (Culture under Fire) campaign of the Civitas Christiana Foundation, a TFP sister organization in Holland that defends Christian culture. The report’s main focus is the Netherlands where it documents nineteen specific cases of Dutch students being forced to pray at mosques. It also lists examples like the one above from all over the European Union.
Typical of the report’s documented examples was the experience of students from KBS Noorderpoort in Dongen, Netherlands. They visited the Mevlana Mosque in Rotterdam. Video footage of the visit shows a representative of the mosque loudly and repeatedly calling ‘Allahu Akhbar’ (Allah is great) to the students who are gathered to listen.
The line between education and indoctrination is a very thin line indeed. Most would agree that some knowledge of Islam is necessary. It can be argued that a lack of common knowledge about Islam is one of the reasons that the 9-11 attacks came as such a shock. On the other hand, pressuring students to participate in a religious ritual—even if the teacher calls it a simulation—is a form of indoctrination.
The Dangers of Multiculturism
At fault is the modernist idea of multiculturalism. In theory, the idea seems harmless. The multiculturalist is quick to point out that they are trying to spread knowledge of other cultures. They argue this leads to understanding, and understanding leads to world peace.
All too often, the real face of multiculturalism—a face of indoctrination—shows itself in its reality. Multiculturalism teaches students to severely question their own culture, especially Christian culture. All the while they are told to accept a very rosy picture of other cultures—non-Christian ones. When challenged with facts that point out flaws in different cultures, the multiculturalist is most likely to throw the blame on the effects of colonialism, imperialism, racism, or some other “ism,” which is always caused by Western culture.
A telling example of multiculturalism in action came from the small Dutch town of Est. Students at the school visited Mosque El Hassani in Tiel, a larger town near Est. The parents were not told of the trip beforehand. When some parents objected afterward, the teacher said, “I have heard from some parents that we should have consulted with parents if there was a need for a mosque visit… [B]ut because an innocent castle visit is also not discussed in advance, I also do not have to consult with you about the visit to the mosque.”
This substitution technique is known as cultural equivalency. The teacher pretends that a visit to a mosque is equivalent to a visit to a castle. The Netherlands, like the rest of Europe, is dotted with castles. The castles played a vital role in the history of the country and its culture. A group of Dutch students going to a castle would be about as remarkable as a group of students in Virginia visiting a Civil War battlefield or children in Houston going to the Alamo. On the other hand, a mosque is a product of another culture, some of whose members are openly opposed to the culture of the country in which they live. It is a very different situation, but pointing out that difference is unfashionable among the European (and American) intelligentsia.
The vigilant can see the pattern in textbooks. Describing wars between Christian and Muslim armies, Christian victories are referred to as “conquests” or “massacres.” Muslim victories are referred to as ‘building an empire’ or the more benign “spread” of “a civilization.”2 It is a subtle, but effective strategy.
Teachers Teaching What They Do Not Know
Often, the teachers themselves are ill-informed about the histories of other cultures. As such, they do little more than parrot the textbooks’ kindly treatment of Islam. To do anything else would risk being labeled as “Islamophobic.”
Softened by poor instruction based on biased textbooks and gullible teachers, students are hardly likely to defend their faith or culture when the class pays a visit to a mosque. All too often, and the report contains photographic evidence of this, the students are given a brief introduction and then instructed to simulate Islamic prayer by kneeling, then bending until their foreheads touch the carpet, making sure to keep elbows off the floor. With the student in this position, mosque leaders chant traditional Islamic prayers over them.
On paper, European laws protect the parents’ right to determine the education of their children. Both the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the International Convention of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) are explicit. The ECHR states, “the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions.” Arguably the ICCPR goes even further, stating that its signatories, “undertake to have respect for the liberty of parents … to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions.”
If that language is not sufficiently clear, the Charter of the European Union states, “The right of parents to ensure the education and teaching of their children in conformity with their religious, philosophical, and pedagogical convictions shall be respected.” In other words, the parent is supposed to not only have a role in what their children are taught but also how they are taught.
The Gift of Marriage and the Proper Role of Parents in the Education and Formation of Their Children
Of course, no law is so clear that its official interpreters cannot bend it to their interests and philosophy. In practice, the parents may get some limited choice regarding the school to which they send their children. However, once the children are enrolled, the school effectively gets to decide what the students will learn and how they will be taught. Additionally, even in cases where the parents have a legitimate objection, the burden of proof to show something is harmful lies with the parents.
How can a parent prove that a particular activity will harm his child? Even a parent who possesses a great deal of background in psychology would be unable to prove that a specific activity will cause harm. All these are problems that concerned parents face.
The Response of the Faithful
The final chapter of the report makes a series of recommendations of what parents might do to prevent their children from indoctrination. They can protest to the school and affirm that such indoctrination is an attack upon their Catholic Faith. They can get together with other parents and organize larger protests.
However, the most important thing is to expose the game of multiculturalism with concrete examples of its abuses. Part of the problem is that much of this Islamic indoctrination is carried out in secrecy. Unlike Mark McLachlan who found his stepdaughter’s assignment, most parents do not realize or even suspect that it is taking place.
Above all, the report shows that the goal is to introduce an anti-Western and anti-Christian perspective to students. Exposure of the liberal program is the best defense against its nefarious purpose. The Cultuur onder Vuur campaign has taken a leading role in this battle in the Netherlands.
This is why the campaign has released this important study showing case after case of parents who have been mugged by the reality of this effort to Islamize schools. It has also launched petitions and asked for parents to report mosques visits to the foundation web site. A year after its launch, petition signatures keep coming in.
Due to this unwanted exposé, putting such outings under public scrutiny, school visits to mosques now happen under the radar. There are no pictures on their web sites or reports in the school newspaper.
The campaign is having an impact. This report seeks to increase the pressure on schools and public officials to prevent children from being victims of Islamization.
“Parents need to be aware of what is happening,” says campaign director Hugo Bos. “The more the education establishment tries to hide these abuses, the more they need to be exposed.”
- Liam Deacon, “School Sets Homework Making Pupils ‘Write to Family About Your Conversion to Islam’” Brietbart London, November 11, 2017, https://www.breitbart.com/london/2017/11/10/national-curriculum-homework-write-family-conversion-islam/
- See pp.44-47 of the report.