Rep. André Carson Calls For U.S. Schools To Be Modeled On Madrassas

For years, politicians around the country have striven to allow families to leave public schools and attend religious (largely Christian) schools through voucher programs.  However, many people are alarmed by the call of  Rep. André Carson (D-Indiana), a Muslim member of Congress, that our schools should be modeled on Islamic schools or Madrassas.  As a staunch supporter of public schools and an educator, I strongly oppose the intermingling of religion with our public schools.  I also do not find Madrassas to be a particularly compelling model for education in the United States.

In a recent speech, Carson stated “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.”

Whether the “foundation” is the Bible or the Koran, the relevance of such religious structure to education is dubious at best and a threat to the separation of church and state at worst. To be honest, it is doubtful Carson’s speech would have generated such controversy if he praised Catholic schools as a model for education. Indeed, we have seen politicians object to the use of vouchers for Muslim schools.

Leslie and I have kept our children in public schools despite our unhappiness at times with class size and bureaucratic nonsense. I believe deeply that our public schools are a critical democratic training ground for tolerance and pluralism. They must be secular and free of religious training by definition as public schools.

I fail to see what the Madrassa model has to offer our school system. Any “innovation” clearly exists outside of such religious systems and is not unique to their religious focus.

53 thoughts on “Rep. André Carson Calls For U.S. Schools To Be Modeled On Madrassas

  1. There is a lot of stupid in America. And it seems to be increasing.

    A tagline I often use is: “Ain’t Religion wunnerful?” With the implied answer: hell, no.

  2. In most of the Middle East, upper class Muslims send their children to secular academies or even to Christian schools because the religious schools are inadequate. Most of the Christian schools are Catholic, and they avoid infecting the Muslim children with Christian religion out of respect for parents (and fear, no doubt). The madrassas teach nothing but religion….

  3. “However, many people are alarmed by the call of Rep. André Carson (D-Indiana), a Muslim member of Congress, that our schools should be modeled on Islamic schools or Madrassas. ”

    *****************************

    Just what we need, more fundamentalist religion in education.

  4. It is time for another Democrat to run against this fool. The national party should disavow his statements and condemn them.

  5. Perhaps Congressman Carson would also approve of reintroducing corporal punishment in our public schools? Caning would solve a host of problems.

  6. Just shows that if you stop “topping” the wheat, then more and more heads will stick up.

    Down with democracy and pluralism. We don’t need any conflicting ideas to spend our mindtime on. Or was this just published as a Friday gag.

    Madrassas, not for me. No mixed classes, and improvisation infinitesimally little.

  7. From a practical point of view, teaching religion in primary education should only in my view be limited to overviews such as history or ethnic studies, not the focus or base of the education. The reason for this, aside from the obvious to me church & state issue, is time / resource management.

    There is only so much time to cram in what is to be taught and something has to give. If I had a child, I would like her to learn important issues such as language, mathematics, science, law, logic, history and medicine to prepare her to be a great mind with many choices available to her later in life. Focusing on religion would detract from this goal.

    Public schools are good in some areas, bad in others. I would rather my child attend a good charter school free of religion; which is not easy to find. If I was wealthy I would sponsor such a school because children are in my view so underserved by schools here. My wife’s European relatives all speak a minimum of two languages fluently, the products of the the Dutch education system. Children here are just as capable of this if properly educated.

  8. these are just preliminary steps to new money streams…..and the further dubing down and religiousing up of America. Apparently we have chosen to follow rather than to lead.

    Church separate from State was too much the Camelot for the Orcs….

  9. Oh yeah. Because what the world needs more of is people who base their actions on irrational unprovable beliefs instead of actually learning how to think critically. Not to mention that whole Establishment Clause thingy.

    People of Indiana!

    You should not be alarmed that your representative is a partisan or a Muslim. You should be alarmed that he is an imbecile who apparently hasn’t even read the Constitution let alone understand it and seems to think the idea of state sponsored religious indoctrination is a good idea and even remotely Constitutional when it is neither. More to the point, you should be alarmed that you voted for him and what that says about you collectively.

  10. I think we need more diversity in our public schools. I see nothing wrong with teaching the Bible or Koran in a public school or any other religious text for that matter. Comparative religious studies might be an interesting course to take in high school.

    How do we know Madrassas arent a good educational model? Isnt that being somewhat racist and Islamaphobic?

    Muslims pay taxes they should have a magnet school for teaching the Koran, their taxes are paying for it. You arent setting up a state sponsored religion, just opening some schools, what is the big deal?

  11. If you open a school, funded by the state, and the school is religious, then it’s a state-sponsored religion, Bron. I mean, that’s pretty obvious…

  12. If he wants that…..then he should be forced to send his children to parochial school….

  13. Yeah, right. Because we all know what a hot bed of innovation and ingenuity countries with madrassas have been. LOL Innovative new ways to beat your women and repress, well, everything. What a joke.

  14. “How do we know Madrassas arent a good educational model? Isnt that being somewhat racist and Islamaphobic?

    Muslims pay taxes they should have a magnet school for teaching the Koran, their taxes are paying for it.”

    No, Bron, it’s called being Constitutional. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” is plain language as is the case law that follows in Abington School District v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203 (1963) – which defined the “secular purpose” and “primary effect” tests – and Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971) – which further refined those tests by adding the “excessive entanglement” test. Setting up Madrassas wit tax payer funds would not pass any of these tests any more than setting up a Fundamentalist Christian or a Catholic school on tax payer funds. If Muslims want Madrassas, they are free to set up and pay for their own private religiously oriented schools just like any other religion is free to do.

  15. @rafflaw – Like, it’s okay to beat your wives and daughters with “re-bar” that’s less than the circumference of your thumb? Or, it’s a disgrace to light your women on fire with anything less than 92 octane?

  16. Hey you guys, remember:

    He who is without sin can cast the first 5 gallon gas can.

    And the Bible calls for an eye for an eye.

    I’ll leave it to you to do the count between 9/11 and Afghanistan. Iraq was not even involved. Have we really rationlized that war afterwards?

    Being hung by your own ropes, are you?

  17. @Idealist – Used to be when a government was bought and paid for, they knew their place. Now, they’re gettin’ so uppity I just want to… (sorry, can’t type with a straight face, anymore).

    Re: the Bible, I think the last word had something to do with being struck once, let ’em strike you 7 x 70. Don’t buy into that either.

    Re: Iraq – you seem to forget that Iraq was the bully who tried to annex Kuwait and the house of Saud, which should have been the recipient of the “hammer of smiting”. Thanks for that, “41” (insert sarcastic emoticon here)

    Re: You – For some reason, and forgive me if I’m wrong, but aren’t you an ex-pat? If so, that would mean you=us. :D

  18. Raff,
    Was it you or Mark, or both of you talking about Nuns with rulers? Once you adopt a religious mode of education, then corporal punishment inevitably follows. Bad behavior gets equated with sin and immorality.

  19. government should pay for all kinds of religious schools, that way there is no establishment of any one religion.

    Why should Baptists or Hindus have to pay additional money to have their own school? That is a restraint of trade, a monopoly on education.

    Government needs to provide religious education for all faiths. Seems only fair to me. Why does public education have to be secular? The Constitution only says that government cannot support one religion over another. It doesnt say you cant have religious public schools, you just cant have one type of religious public school.

    I think this congressman is on to something.

  20. JunctionSheamus,

    Cool!

    Ex-pat and proud American. Yeah. And that gives me the right to criticize. I have not become a hermit. Only migrated, and the years went.

    Re. YOU. But how else am I to address the ones who I aim at there? The hope wss that those who felt hit
    by my snarts would know it was for them. Enlighten me how to target better.

    As for Iraq: Surely, ’91 was in the past. New war for old sins seems stupid. Anyway George and our poor UN ambassador said it was WMDs being the reason. Have you forgotten?

    Your bible studies are deeper than mine. 7 x 70?
    And the bought government also left me clueless.

    Glad to meet someone also hard to understand cryptic. AY now has a rival. D’ja hear that AY? Three of us now.

  21. MikeS,

    Chiming in on your private communications again.

    Being uppity was certainly in my youth regarded as a sin by the schoolteachers. The punishment was not corporeal, but painful. Inner deformations are also battery I feel.

  22. JT’s is but a camp fire, not just what its declared intent is to be. What but courtesy is needed for rules. Let the words and ideas flow.

    Nighty night. “Early to bed….”

  23. Woosty, I think you’re too hard on dub(ing), I’d rather have more dub(ing) and less religiousing up in our schools. Ideally, a solid grounding in Reggae, dub’s root, would be taught first though. :-)

  24. Bron,

    “Why should Baptists or Hindus have to pay additional money to have their own school? That is a restraint of trade, a monopoly on education.”

    No, it’s not. They are free to form as many private schools as they can afford. However, your inability to think past trade conveniently lets you throw the 1st Amendment under the bus.

    “Government needs to provide religious education for all faiths. Seems only fair to me. Why does public education have to be secular? The Constitution only says that government cannot support one religion over another. It doesnt say you cant have religious public schools, you just cant have one type of religious public school.”

    Thus showing you have no idea about the legal tests applied to the Establishment Clause. Public education has to be secular because it is a organelle of government which is Constitutionally required to be secular. The Constitution’s terms do say you cannot have religious public schools of any sort precisely because they are public. If you’d read those cases cited above, you’d understand that.

  25. W=^..^

    And a fine example of why I’m against school voucher programs. Propping up religious education of any religion is Constitutionally inappropriate. If tax equity is the issue, many states do allow you to deduct private school tuitions (to varying degrees). That I have no issue with.

  26. I just got in from Nashville, where it was 104 degrees when I left. Therefore, have not had time to read through this thread and my brain is fried from the heat. If I am repeating something already mentioned, sorry ’bout that. However, I read something this morning about the voucher program being promoted in Louisiana. Seems the people promoting it have not considered it would apply to all private schools, not just Christian schools as the Louisiana legislature intended. Of course, some were only too eager to point this little detail out to them, but the story I was reading sounded as if the leaders of the movement refuse to read the memo about the meaning of “All.” They cannot seem to wrap their heads around the fact they will not just be funding Christian schools, but Madrassas as well. Not to mention the Buddhists, Jewish Orthodox, Hindus, and even atheists.

    Reading the story made me snort orange juice all over the screen.

  27. raff, I am exhausted. I left Nashville at noon today with temps at 104 degrees and had a really long drive. Walking out the door felt just like when you open the oven door to take out a roast.

  28. I agree with JT that a madrass ( or however you spell it) is not a good model for a school here in the U.S. of A. I am thinking along the lines though of all these Catolic schools run by these anal rapists of children. No vouchers for them. Then there is the school of Hard Knox up in Galesburg. No vouchers for them. But what I want to know is how a state like Indiana could send a muslim off to Congress? In the 1920s Indiana had something in the neighborhood of 250,000 members of the KKK.

  29. I’m impressed that Johnathan Turley sends his children to public schools. He must be part of a very tiny minority of people in his position.

    This guy is nuts. His proposal is nutty and ill informed and it will go nowhere. His political career will go no higher and I would not be surprised if it ends in an election in the near future.

  30. Barkin’Dog

    said:
    “But what I want to know is how a state like Indiana could send a muslim off to Congress? ”

    You like myself, know very little about muslim immigrants and of our real history here.

    There are examples of where muslims immigrated from common emigration areas, settled in the midwest in common areas where they dominated. About the same motivation as other national or religious groups did on arriving here. Italian, irish, jewish, german, etc.

    The rest is deocracy and the number who are represented by a House seat.

    More could be added. Like where do we get AA congressmen/women? Or what pejorative claims can we lay upon them?

  31. This guy is a black American convert to Islam as a manifestation of black nationalism. He got his seat because I think it was his mother who was the previous Rep.

  32. ARE,

    Why do you think George got his “seat”` It sure was not smartness. He does share a religion—-power worship. So what’s so bad about this one? Ehhh?

  33. The guy is from Indianapolis. He took over the seat from his grandmother upon her death. Wiki notes his religon as Islam. I’m not so sure he will lose his seat over this. As in most elections, you’ll have to look at the demographics of his district.

  34. Rep. Carson indeed took over the seat after the death of his grandmother. His district is the 7th congressional district in Indiana. It has voted D since 2003.

    Prior to this speech his most notable comments were; ” Tea party wants blacks ‘hanging on a tree'” and that he heard racial slurs from members of the Tea Party including the “N” word. As to the alleged racial slurs Andrew Breitbart is pledging a large contribution to the United Negro College Fund if someone can can provide video proof. A contribution that to my knowldege has gone unclaimed.

  35. […] Rep. André Carson Calls For U.S. Schools To Be Modeled On Madrassas (jonathanturley.org) Share this:ShareEmailLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. Tags: Education in the United States, Howard Phillips, John Eidsmoe, John Taylor Gatto, Ken Ham, List of characters in Family Guy, Samuel Blumenfeld, State school Comments (0) Trackbacks (0) Leave a comment Trackback […]

  36. […] Cregg Chmara, the one that wrote the article on Atheism a couple of days ago, and a member of the Tucson freethinking community sent me two articles written by Jonathan Turley—“South Carolina Judge Sentences Drunk Driver To Read Book Of Job” and “Rep. André Carson Calls For U.S. Schools To Be Modeled On Madrassas.” […]

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