German Schools Embrace Islam in Curricula

Tuesday, 07 Dec 2010 05:08 PM

By Herbert London

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There is little doubt west European governments are engaged in a form of social suicide. Rather than increased efforts to integrate Muslims into German society, to cite one example, German students will be taught about Islam. In a sense, German educators will be engaged in proselytizing for Islam.

The German state of Lower Saxony will start including Islam in its schools’ core curriculum as part of an initiative to counter growing anti-Islam sentiment in Europe. Dr. Bernd Althusmann, minister of Education in Lower Saxony, announced that schools in the state will start including Islamic education in their main curriculum. “I think we will be able to start implementation by the academic year after the next,” Althusmann said during a visit to an elementary school in the city of Hanover which offers an Islamic education class.

Justifying this approach, Juergen Zoellner, Berlin minister for Education, Science and Research, notes, “For years, society and schools have been faced with a variety of new duties and challenges. One of these big challenges is to have people from different traditions, cultural and religion affiliations living together peacefully and respectfully.”

Of course, whether the program in question leads ultimately to a peaceful result is questionable. One might well ask why did the armies of Europe turn back the Turks at the gates of Vienna 500 years ago when programs, like those instituted in Germany, are handing Islam the keys to the future.

German shame over Nazi atrocities has made Hitler’s heritage the end of German history and identity. But should this shame be replaced by preemptive capitulation to a religion with a relentless imperial impulse?

To be sure the Salafists, with Saudi funding, will follow up on their efforts in the schools. But will the full story of Islam be told including the stoning of adulterers, the execution of homosexuals, polygamy, apostasy as a capital offense, and the belief that Jews are the offspring of apes and pigs?

It is instructive that “diversity education” is predicated on the belief that we in the West have an obligation to understand Islam. However, the reverse doesn’t follow. One might presume that Muslims in the West should come to know and appreciate Western Civilization.

Moreover, students who are not versed in the history and customs of the polity they find themselves in will be handicapped. Yet curiously integration, that was once the overarching strategy for dealing with immigrants, has been replaced by cultural pluralism, “from the one, many” instead of “from the many, one.”

In Germany and throughout western Europe there is an effort to bend over backwards to accommodate the Islamic population. In the process, this effort produces results that counter good intentions. First, the Islamic population believes, with considerable confirmation, that Europeans do not possess the will to assert the importance of their own culture and traditions.

Second, the insertion of Islam into German schools suggests tacitly that Islam is on the rise and cannot be denied even in non-Islamic nations.

Preemptive capitulation is nothing more than an attenuated form of defeat. It is noteworthy that Islamic leaders recognize it in this way. The aggressive stance taken by Islamic leaders in Europe is based to an extraordinary degree on the flexibility and weakness of those who might defend the West.

G.K. Chesterton once noted that “an open mind, like an open mouth, should close on something.” As I see it, that something should be the traditions of the West, the Judeo-Christian principles that gave birth to our civilization. If people want to live in this civilization, that is what they should be obliged to learn. Anything else weakens the West and will usher in continual discord.


Herbert London is president of the Hudson Institute and author of the book Decline and Revival in Higher Education (Transaction Publishers).

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