After originally denying its collusion with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the San Diego Unified School District) SDUSD was ordered by a judge Tuesday to reveal evidence that it continued secret correspondence with the terrorist-tied Muslim advocacy group while being probed about the promotion its so-called anti-Islamophobia program.
After parents learned last year about the implementation of CAIR’s controversial curricula – which included adding Muslim holidays to staff calendars – they filed suit, contending that the so-called anti-bullying program looked more like a religious advocacy program.
The order by the federal judge in the ongoing lawsuit is demanding that SDUSD officials hand over details that they secretly worked with CAIR – an American-Muslim civil rights and religious group – after insisting that their collaboration had ended.
“The case was brought by several families and two parents’ groups against the San Diego Unified School District over its partnership with CAIR, a group founded by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, according to FBI evidence presented in a Hamas-funding case in which CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator,” WND reported. “The families filed suit in May 2017 against the campaign, which was launched the previous month featuring curriculum and materials published by CAIR.”
CAIR claims that it presented its anti-Islamophobia initiative to fight what it called a “vast and underreported epidemic of anti-Muslim bullying” taking place within SDUSD schools.
“The multi-year anti-bullying plan, developed with assistance from CAIR, called for adding Muslim holidays to staff calendars, introducing new library materials on Muslim culture, encouraging Muslim-centered high school clubs, creating ‘safe spaces’ for Muslim students and providing staff training about Muslim culture,” the Daily Caller reported.
CAIR-San Diego Executive Director Hanif Mohebi commended the initiative, insisting that the school curricula should be a model for school districts nationwide to follow.
“If we do this right, San Diego Unified School District would be the leading school district in the nation to come up with a robust and beautiful anti-bully and anti-Islamophobic program,” Mohebi assured the San Diego Union-Tribune.
SDUSU officials essentially handed the Muslim group control of its curricula to indoctrinate students with pro-Islamic teachings and materials.
“Mohebi was invited to give talks at more than a dozen San Diego schools – starting in late 2016 – to teach students and teachers how to reduce bullying of Muslim students,” Daily Caller Investigative Reporter Andrew Kerr recounted. “Hanif gave pamphlets to students that advised Muslim youth to contact CAIR if they faced bullying, which, according to CAIR includes ‘insulting comments about Islam.’ Handing out such pamphlets is considered to be ‘both a religious and educational exercise,’ according to the CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad, who testified before the National Labor Relations Board in 2016.”
Make the indoctrination stop
The Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund (FCDF) argued in its complaint on behalf of parents that school officials’ covert collusion with the terror-tied group must stop.
“[SDUSD has entangled itself with CAIR to set up a] subtle, discriminatory scheme that establishes Muslim students as the privileged religious group,” FCDF attorneys representing parents claim in the lawsuit. “Consequently, students of other faiths are left on the outside looking in, vulnerable to religiously motivated bullying, while Muslim students enjoy an exclusive right to the School District’s benevolent protection.”
FCDF President and Chief Counsel Charles LiMandri demanded that SDUSD stop its pro-Islam program or face legal action because of evidence that it violated the First Amendment, as the curriculum was co-drafted the blatantly religious CAIR, which he accused of intentionally targeting public schools to underhandedly convert students to Islam.
“The San Diego Unified School District has gone out on a limb – more than most school districts would be willing to do – to partner with a group that identifies itself as a religious group,” LiMandri told the Daily Caller. “We have pictures of the head of the [CAIR] office in San Diego going into classrooms and giving out their literature, and of course their literature is promoting Islam.”
Even though SDUSD officials claim that they are not giving Islam preferential treatment or special privileges through its program, LiMandri stressed that the district does not invite Christian priests or Jewish rabbis to speak to students.
“It’s important to draw the line about advocacy groups, like CAIR, having free reign in the public school system – using government-funded resources – to push their own agenda in a way that is showing unconstitutional government preference towards one major world religion over others,” LiMandri added.
But the SDUSD insists that it does not give Muslim students special treatment.
“Muslim students are not getting special treatment,” SDUSD declares on a special web page it published, which is titled, “Addressing Bullying of Muslim Students.” “The District takes seriously the bullying of any student, and we have programs and procedures already in place to address bullying. The reason we are calling particular attention to the bullying of Muslim students at this time is that we have received reports from students and families who have expressed concerns about the safety of their students.”
Despite its insistence that it no longer collaborated with CAIR, SDUSD officials continued working with the Muslim group.
“The San Diego school board appeared to change direction in July when it voted to rework the initiative and end its formal relationship with CAIR,” Kerr noted. “The board directed staff to form a partnership with the Anti-Defamation League to create a new set of policies to foster ‘respectful, inclusive and safe learning environments and communities.”
It was later revealed that the SDUSD was merely making attempts to conceal its continued partnership with CAIR.
“However, the motions made during the July school board meeting were nothing more than a ‘sham,’ according to an injunction filed in February by the FCDF that called for the release of all correspondence between the San Diego school board and CAIR,” Kerr pointed out. “The FCDF cited documents that appear to show CAIR continued to engage with the San Diego officials after the July board meeting, [including] an email exchange dated in August [showing] CAIR representative Linda Williams thank[ing] Andrew Sharp – the San Diego school district’s director of public information – for inviting CAIR to share its resources with the district’s curriculum departments.”
Williams’ appreciation extended to Sharp in the email was revealed in the following exchange:
“The resources available at the hyperlinks below are only the very beginnings of what could grow into a robust ‘Toolkit’ for Teachers, Counselors, and Administrators,” Williams expressed to Sharp, according to the Daily Caller.
CAIR included bullying reports, instructional materials and recommended curriculum revisions in its proposed toolkit in a program FCDF says violates not only the California Constitution, but the U.S. Constitution, because the overtly religious CAIR organization was specifically invited to implement the program and influence students.
“There are no programs promoting ‘Jewish culture’ – there are no lectures from priests on how to accommodate Catholic students during Lent,” FCDF’s injunction reads, according to the Daily Caller. “And there are no partnerships with Evangelical Christian activists. In short, [the San Diego Unified School District has] placed their power, prestige and purse behind a single religion: Islam.”
A simple comparison between CAIR and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) – a Jewish advocacy organization also working with SDUSD – was then drawn.
“The ADL has a track record for not proselytizing,” LiMandri impressed to the Daily Caller. “CAIR has a track record for proselytizing.”
Besides the religious aspect, ADL outlined why the district’s connection with CAIR should be a major concern for parents.
“CAIR’s anti-Israel agenda dates back to its founding by leaders of the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), a Hamas affiliated anti-Semitic propaganda organization,” ADL declares on its website. “While CAIR has denounced specific acts of terrorism in the U.S. and abroad, for many years it refused to unequivocally condemn Palestinian terror organizations and Hezbollah by name, which the U.S. and international community have condemned and isolated.”
The FBI has even warned Americans about CAIR’s ties to Islamic terrorism.
“The Federal Bureau of Investigation has distanced itself from CAIR over the years,” ADL continued. “In an April 2009 letter to the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology, and Homeland Security, the FBI explained that it suspended contact with CAIR because of evidence introduced during the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) trial,demonstrating that CAIR and its founders were part of a group set up by the Muslim Brotherhood to support Hamas. The trial ended with guilty verdicts on all charges against HLF and five of its officers, including a 65-year sentence for Ghassan Elashi, the founder of CAIR’s Dallas chapter.”
CAIR-free schools on the horizon?
A federal judge gave SDUSD officials until April 9 in an order to submit evidence of their correspondence with CAIR after granting FCDF’s request for the information during a Tuesday ruling.
“FCDF said Judge Cynthia Bashant narrowed some of the plaintiffs’ requests for information, but otherwise said the district must hand over evidence to the five families that may document the allegation that the district has continued working with CAIR,” WND announced. “Federal court rules allow such expedited discovery if there is a good reason.”
In the written decision, the court stressed the seriousness of the matter as one of free speech.
“Whether or not defendants’ rescission was a ‘sham,’ facts pertaining to the district’s conduct after the public rescission of the policy may be relevant to the question of whether plaintiffs face ongoing irreparable harm from a policy that allegedly violates the First Amendment of the federal Constitution,” the court ruling states, according to WND. “Plaintiffs’ assertion of irreparable harm in their preliminary injunction motion stems from the existence and implementation of an allegedly unconstitutional policy.”
LiMandri, who will appear at the hearing slated for April, gave district officials a message of his own.
“[The SDUSD needs to follow principles including] government neutrality in religion and the right of every American – including schoolchildren – to equality under the law,” LiMandri insisted, according to WND. “Unfortunately, this politically correct ‘anti-Islamophobia initiative’ runs roughshod over those principles. [The district] has a constitutional obligation to keep divisive forces like CAIR outside of its schools.”