Saturday, April 12, 2008

Children Told they are Dogs during Mosque Visit

A primary school in Amsterdam wished to provide its pupils with an understanding for other cultures. But during a visit to a mosque, the children were told they were dogs.

With a view to developing understanding and respect for other cultures among children, primary school De Horizon regularly organises outings to various religious organisations. The chairman of the El Mouchidine mosque told the children from group 7 (aged 10) and their chaperones however that non-Muslims are dogs.

In a letter to the children's parents, the school expresses its regret at the incident: "We are shocked that during the guided tour, the mosque's chairman told the children and chaperoning parents that non believers were dogs. We consider this statement as unacceptable since we allow our children to partake in this project to develop respect for freedom of religious choice".

In the meantime, the school's management has addressed the mosque on the undesirable behaviour of the chairman. Both parties will say nothing further on the matter. "We will resolve the matter amongst ourselves and I have no inclination whatsoever to discuss the matter with the media", as newspaper De Telegraaf quoted the school's spokesperson Mariet ten Berge. "We have been to the mosque before and it always went well".

Angry parents had sent the letter on to De Telegraaf but were reportedly rapped on the knuckles by the school's management. "The school wishes to play this down. That is precisely the problem", as one mother commented.


Misleading the Supreme Court on affirmative racism

Some means are by no means necessary. That's what Federal District Court Judge David Lawson decided last month about the efforts of a Michigan advocacy group that calls itself the "Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, and Immigrant Rights and Fight for EqualityEqual-Pay-No-Way by Any Means Necessary" or, more simply, "BAMN."

In a sweeping opinion, Lawson rejected every one of the legal arguments that BAMN and other opponents were hoping to use to strike down Michigan's new amendment barring the use of racial preferences. Lawson's decision takes the steam out of the multiple legal challenges that have dogged the new amendment almost from the day it passed in November, 2006....

Lawson's about-face was no accident. Pre-trial discovery was turning up evidence that the extensive use of racial preferences at Michigan universities was directly causing racial disparities in grades, majors, graduation and professional examination results. Far from helping the case for racial preferences, pre-trial discovery was undermining it.

The new evidence was the result of efforts of UCLA Law Professor Richard Sander. Sander had donated his services as an expert to Eric Russell, one of the parties in the case represented by my firm, the Center for Individual Rights. Last fall, Sander had submitted his preliminary findings to the court, including the revelation that minority students at the UM Law School failed the bar at more than eight times the rate of white students during the years 2004, 2005 and 2006.

According to Sander, this data contradicted sworn testimony by UM experts during the trial in Grutter v. Bollinger, the Supreme Court case challenging the use of race-based admissions at the UM law school. When called as an expert witness in that case, then UM Professor Richard Lempert testified that...

The evidence Sander was beginning to develop seemed to undermine the well-financed effort by the UM to reassure the Supreme Court that the racial preferences employed by the UM law school were a comparatively modest effort that produced benefits for the law school and for minority law students. Sander's analysis suggested just the opposite: the preferences were extreme and directly harmed the academic prospects of minority students. If Sander's analysis held for other years, it would have undermined both the UM's expert testimony and the Supreme Court rulings based on that testimony.....

There is much more and it is not pretty for the affirmative racism lobby. The harm these preferences were doing to minority students was as great as it was to non minority students who were excluded because of the preferences. The bar association should undertake an investigation of the evidence that was produced for the Supreme Court to determine whether a fraud has been perpetrated on the Court.


Photographers Denied the Freedom To Choose What They Photograph

Post below recycled from The Volokhs. See the original for links

Elaine Huguenin co-owns Elane Photography with her husband. The bulk of Elane's work is done by Elaine, though she subcontracts some of the work some of the time. Elane refused to photograph Vanessa Willock's same-sex commitment ceremonies, and just today the New Mexico Human Rights Commission held that this violated state antidiscrimination law. Elane has been ordered to pay over $6600 in attorney's fees and costs.

I haven't seen any written statement of reasons, but the order must implicitly rest on two interpretations of state law: (1) This sort of photography company constitutes a "public accommodation," defined by state law "any establishment that provides or offers its services, facilities, accommodations or goods to the public, but does not include a bona fide private club or other place or establishment that is by its nature and use distinctly private." (2) A refusal to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony constitutes sexual orientation discrimination, which New Mexico law forbids. These may or may not be sensible interpretations of the statutory text. But the result seems to me to likely violate the First Amendment (though there's no precedent precisely on point).

Photography is an art, and Huguenin is an artist. It may not be high art, but it embodies a wide range of artistic choices (especially since she says she takes a "photojournalist" approach, rather than just doing normal staged photos). And though she sells the art to its subjects, that is of course part of a long and continuing tradition in the arts, including painting and sculpture, as well as photography. Certainly many of the works protected by the First Amendment (books, newspapers, movies, and the like) were created for money and distributed for money.

Yet the New Mexico government is now telling Huguenin that she must create art works that she does not choose to create. There's no First Amendment case squarely on point, but this does seem pretty close to the cases in which the Court held that the government may not compel people to express views that they do not endorse (the flag salute case, West Va. Bd. of Ed. v. Barnette, and the license plate slogan case, Wooley v. Maynard).

For whatever it's worth, Huguenin also says she exercises political judgment in deciding what to photograph (for instance, she reports that she refuses to make photographs that put horror films in a positive light, or to take photographs that positively portray abortion, pornography, or nudity, as well as same-sex marriage). I don't think that sort of political selectivity should be required for photographers to be protected as artists, but it seems to me to highlight the scope of the artist's judgment, and the artist's constitutional right to exercise such judgment (just as a bookstore has the right to choose which books to stock).

Consider also a hypothetical analogy: Say that instead of Willock's trying to hire a photographer, Willock was trying to hire a solo freelance writer (or a writer in a two-person freelancing partnership) to write materials for Willock's (hypothetical) same-sex marriage planning company. The writer refused on the grounds that she didn't want to promote such a company.

I take it the law would cover the writer as much as it would cover the photographer (why wouldn't it?). Yet wouldn't requiring writers -- even writers of press releases and Web sites -- to write words that express views they reject violate the First Amendment? And if not, what's the difference between that and requiring photographers to take photographs that implicitly but strongly express views they reject? (Wedding photographs, of course, express views celebrating the event being photographed.)

Does the ACLU Believe in the Separation of Mosque and State?

Post below recycled from STACLU .

The ACLU says they are actually looking into this I'm absolutely shocked they would even make a statement like this. I'll be even more shocked if they actually file suit on this. They usually only apply separation of church and state issues to Christianity.
TIZA has many characteristics that suggest a religious school. It shares the headquarters building of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, whose mission is "establishing Islam in Minnesota." The building also houses a mosque. TIZA's executive director, Asad Zaman, is a Muslim imam, or religious leader, and its sponsor is an organization called Islamic Relief.

Students pray daily, the cafeteria serves halal food - permissible under Islamic law - and "Islamic Studies" is offered at the end of the school day.
Just subsitute everywhere it says Muslim with Christian, and mosque with chapel and you should realize exactly how quick the ACLU and like groups would be jumping up and down with lawsuits.
The department is set up to operate on a "complaint basis," and "since 2004, we haven't gotten a single complaint about TIZA," Brown said. In 2004, he sent two letters to the school inquiring about religious activity reported by visiting department staffers and in a news article. Brown was satisfied with Zaman's assurance that prayer is "voluntary" and "student-led," he said. The department did not attempt to confirm this independently, and did not ask how 5- to 11-year-olds could be initiating prayer. (At the time, TIZA was a K-5 school.)
TIZA's operation as a public, taxpayer-funded school is troubling on several fronts. TIZA is skirting the law by operating what is essentially an Islamic school at taxpayer expense. The Department of Education has failed to provide the oversight necessary to catch these illegalities, and appears to lack the tools to do so. In addition, there's a double standard at work here - if TIZA were a Christian school, it would likely be gone in a heartbeat.
An Ol' Broad reads my mind:
Oh, you betcha! There would be groups like the ACLU and Freedom From Religion all up in arms, threatening expensive lawsuits in order to shut down anything that vaguely resembles Christian doctrine.

I'm all for the 1st Amendment. If one taxpayer funded school is going to focus on Islam, then other taxpayer funded schools should be able to teach Christianity and Bible based lessons, or the Torah, or any number of the various religions which are dominant in this country. All, or none!

Silent E says:
The ACLU is looking into it??? What a laugh. It's not a Christian school so it will be overlooked.
Also see Michelle Malkin


Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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