A young idealist has a formula for ending poverty and achieving economic equality: 100% inheritance tax and redistribution of wealth by government. He thinks – as the Left does – that there is a fixed quantity of wealth in the world – “the capital” he calls it . (Why can’t or won’t the Left understand that wealth is created?)
Milton Friedman explains how the formula would destroy a society.
And here he talks – inter alia – about the importance of limiting government power to preserve the freedom of the individual.
Obama’s Education Secretary recently said that opponents to the Administration’s “Common Core” Standards are merely “white suburban moms” who are, all of a sudden, learning that their kids aren’t real bright. Arne Duncan (wow. . . Perfect name for a 1970’s sitcom) made the degrading remarks to a group of state school superintendents on Friday. According to the Washington Post:
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan told a group of state schools superintendents Friday that he found it “fascinating” that some of the opposition to the Common Core State Standards has come from “white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were, and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought it was.”
First of all, Arne, what does race have to do with anything? For that matter what does the socio-economic status of parents have to do with anything? (How would such a comment have been received if it was regarding single black mothers with less-than-brilliant kids?) Arne’s complete dismissal of opponents to the Federal Government’s takeover of education is typical of the Washington Statists who have been running things for the last several years. It’s as if he meant to say, “Opponents can’t be taken seriously. . . After all, they don’t agree with me.”
The insinuation that parents are raising concerns over the federal education standards because they would rather their kids have their ego’s artificially inflated, is both insulting and indicative of his overwhelming sense of self-righteousness. Perhaps we should just be happy Arne didn’t employee the typical MSNBC argument that his opponents are merely redneck-racists who despise the color of our President’s skin.
Forgetting for a minute about the horror stories regarding Common-Core-approved teaching material (promoting communism and downplaying wrong answers as two examples) there are still plenty of reasons to harbor sincere reservations about the federal intrusion on local education efforts.
At heart of Common Core is the liberal’s statist notion that only they are capable of running our lives.Arne, and his central-planning buddies in the nation’s Capital, think parents, school boards, and classroom teachers are incapable of providing children with adequate education standards. …
According to people like Arne Duncan, only the folks who brought us healthcare.gov can bring some degree of competency into our American education system. (Stop laughing. That really is what he’s suggesting.) In the real world, however, the Federal government’s incompetence has managed to raise red flags among a bipartisan swath of the American public – including the Administration’s staunchest allies. That official “white suburban mom” activist group, known as the American Federation of Teachers, even raised an eyebrow at the failure of Common Core implementation. Randi Weingarten, the head of this radical tea-party group (sarcasm) even said that if you thought Obamacare’s implementation was bad, then just wait, “the implementation of the Common Core is far worse.”
That may be an exaggeration, but we’re glad he said it.
The primary objection to more federal government involvement in education has been a usurpation of local school board decisions, and a politically driven curriculum for education. Which only makes sense given the political nature of everything that comes out of DC. Isn’t it amazing how we are all told that DC is run by lobbyists and special interests? But then we are expected to hand over something as valuable and precious as our child’s education to those very narrow minded con-artists?
The standards themselves were the first casualty of DC politicization. They were not, despite what Duncan would like you to believe, written by teachers, school boards, or even elected representatives. They were not approved or written by the states that adopted them, or by the education professionals who will be implementing them. . . They were written (I know this will be shocking) by bureaucrats.
But let’s not let these little concerns get in the way of calling Common Core opponents “white moms” with dumb kids. Such insults are nothing new to Duncan. According to the Washington Post, he told a convention of newspaper editors in June that Common Core critics were “misinformed at best and laboring under paranoid delusions at worst.”
Well. . . It’s easy to start wearing tin-foil hats when Florida schools begin scanning student’s retinas and kids are being taught that private enterprise is unfair and discriminatory.
Then again, maybe Arne is speaking from personal experience. . . His mother, after all, might be a white suburban mom who believes her son is much brighter than he actually is.
There is a red wall in the schools and academies of America which needs to be torn down.
This is from Townhall, by Terrence Moore:
The ninth of November marked the twenty-fourth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, probably the most important historical event since World War II and the most important lesson about human freedom experienced within the living memory of most of us. …
How is this lesson being taught in the nation’s classrooms? For while those of us in our forties and older remember the fall of communism and its causes, today’s teenagers are wholly in the dark. What, then, are the high-school students of today being taught about what exactly — what principles, what forces, which people — brought down the Wall?
It is actually fairly easy to answer this question since forty-five states are now controlled by the testing and curricular regime known as the Common Core. … If we just take a quick glance at Appendix B of the Common Core English Standards, which recommends “exemplar texts” for reading, we find the addresses of a host of worthy historical figures: Patrick Henry, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, and, yes, Ronald Reagan. What a model of non-partisan selection!
But it would behoove us to look at which speech of Reagan is being recommended: “Address to Students at Moscow State University.” Now that is rather odd. Would that speech be the first that comes to mind when we consider “the best of Reagan”? Was that address the most historically significant? Why not the First Inaugural or his acceptance speech at the 1980 Convention or his important addresses on foreign policy or even his 1964 “A Time for Choosing” on behalf of Barry Goldwater that launched him to political prominence? Might this be a case of the architects of the Common Core wanting to look non-partisan by having Reagan’s name on the list while actually trying to take away the force of his message to America? We can solve the mystery by finding out what will take place in classes across the land …
On pages 403-4 of Pearson/Prentice Hall’s LITERATURE, Grade Ten, Common Core Edition, we see an editorial written on the tenth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. It appeared in The New York Times. It begins, “The Berlin Wall was bound to fall eventually”. … [It] continues:
But that it came down as bloodlessly as it did 10 years ago this week is largely a tribute to one leader. Today Mikhail Gorbachev is a political pariah in Russia and increasingly forgotten in the West. But history will remember him generously for his crucial role in ending the cold war and pulling back the Iron Curtain that Stalin drew across Europe in 1945.
So there you have it. Gorbachev brought down the Wall. Why? Well, evidently because he was a good guy. In one line of the editorial we are treated to a masterful use of elliptical prose: “As political pressures began to build in the late 1980s, Mr. Gorbachev was left with two options.” Etc. What political pressures? Who or what brought those pressures? We are not told. The New York Times editors assign the words “enlightened,” “idealism,” and “pragmatic” to Gorbachev. Indeed, the General Secretary of the Communist Party is said to have had “a wisdom and decency that is sadly rare in international power politics”. Does that comment extend to American participants in international power politics, particularly at that time?
Those of us who lived through those years and kept up with events might wonder what role, if any, Ronald Reagan played in this drama, according to the textbook editors. Will the adjectives “enlightened,” “pragmatic,” “wise,” and “decent” be applied to him? His name is not to be found in any of the documents concerning the fall of the Berlin Wall. But on page 449, we do find, as promised in the Common Core, his Address to the Students of Moscow State University held up as a model “exemplar text”. Unfortunately, the address is so heavily highlighted with shades of green, blue, orange, gray, purple, and pink — and so buried under the jargon of two-bit literary criticism (central idea and point of view, methods of development, organizational structures, rhetorical devices, figurative language, tone and word choice) — that it is hardly readable. Worse still, in the textbook editors’ introduction to the speech, students are told the following:
Led by Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviets were blazing through the greatest changes they had seen since the 1917 revolution. Although reforms were rapidly taking root, they were not far enough from communist ideology for Reagan. . . . In this excerpt, notice how Reagan restrains his strongly anti-communist sentiments while still extolling the ideals he represents.
The lesson? The enlightened, idealistic, wise, decent, and yet pragmatic Gorbachev had events well under control. The Soviets were “blazing through changes”; i.e. reform must have been their idea. But things were not moving fast enough for the strongly-anti-communist (i.e. stubborn, right-wing) Reagan. Nonetheless, we, the editors, have found a rare speech in which he actually moderated his tone. That’s Reagan at his best, insofar as he had a best.
What’s missing in this account? “General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Those are the words that brought down the Wall. But they are not to be found in the Common Core and therefore in the classrooms of America.
The architects of the Common Core plainly do not want the young people of America to read or to watch – for it is on the Web – that speech. The progressive bureaucrats who are now in control of the nation’s schools do not want the young people of America to know that the Cold War was won on principle, that courage and resolution on the part of Americans were essential to the ending of tyranny in the communist-controlled countries and the protecting of freedom in the rest of the world. They certainly do not want young Americans thinking that we were in the right and had to be prepared to use force against an evil empire. Above all, the arch-testers do not want today’s youth and tomorrow’s voters to know that in this contest for right and freedom a former actor named Ronald Reagan played the starring role.
He did – in partnership with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. All that Gorbachev can be credited with is that he saw – what by then was hard to miss – that the USSR could not survive. He tried to make adjustments so that it just might. It was impossible.
It had always been impossible for Communism to work. That is to say, it is not a system that can foster and protect prosperity, happiness, liberty, or even life. And when something can’t work, it doesn’t. The only surprising thing about the Soviet Union is that it creaked on in its hellish way for 70 years before it came to its grinding halt.
American children mis-educated by Common Core doctrine will not be told this. The compilers of Common Core text books seem still to have faith that Communism could work if only a few American generations could be brought up to believe that it could.
Leftists believe in the power of faith just as Christians do. But faith never has and never will overcome reality.
… and David Hume, and Baruch Spinoza, and the US Constitution …
(We specially mention Hume and Spinoza because they were philosophers of atheism. But all the thinkers of the Age of Reason should be prescribed reading in all schools everywhere.)
THEY – the Muslims – are investing billions in trying to convince us that their ideas are good – though they aren’t. But we are doing nothing at all to persuade them that our ideas are good – which they are.
Ed West puts forward a very good plan. We quote from his Spectator (UK) article:
The persecution of Christians, the greatest story never told in the Western media, is finally building momentum as a story, after a year which has seen villagers massacred in Syria, dozens of churches burned down in Egypt’s worst religious violence for centuries, and the Peshawar atrocity in which the suicide-bombing of a church killed more than 80 people.
Earlier this week several MPs discussed the issue in Parliament, Fiona Bruce saying that ‘We should be crying out with the same abhorrence and horror that we feel about the atrocities towards Jews on Kristallnacht.’ And Baroness Warsi …
… a token Muslim woman on display in the House of Lords …
… will say in a speech in Washington today that: ‘A mass exodus is taking place, on a Biblical scale. In some places, there is a real danger that Christianity will become extinct.’
Warsi made the same point on the [BBC's] Today programme this morning, and I applaud her, but an aspect rather missing from the coverage was the fact that the vast majority of serious anti-Christian violence is carried out in the name of Islam. It would be like discussing anti-Semitic pogroms of the medieval period without mentioning Christianity, its theology, history and practice.
No surprise there.
That is telling, since one of the reasons for the media’s voluntary blackout on this issue is our fear of appearing to be inciting hatred against Muslims. This allows the persecutors to get away with it, which is ironic since most violence carried out against Muslims is also done in the name of Islam.
The simple fact is that Islamic law as it is applied in Egypt (where apostasy is extremely difficult and dangerous, and family law was based on Sharia even before the revolution), Iraq and the Gulf States is incompatible with religious liberty. There is no way around that. In Iraq, most bizarrely, the US government presided over a constitution that introduced elements of Sharia.
Such are the vicissitudes of world management. When the British illegally gave three-quarters of the land in their Palestine mandate to the Emir of Transjordan, they found themselves in charge of a polity that allowed and practiced slavery. British law forbade this to happen, but it happened, and they didn’t do a thing about it while they had the power to do anything they chose. And now Britain deliberately allows sharia law to run parallel with British law inside the United Kingdom itself. That too should never have happened, but it has.
The issue therefore is not just that Christians are being punished because of anger at the West. It is the specific application of Islamic law, and most centrally [anger at the West's] ideas about freedom of religion [which include] freedom of un-religion and the freedom to deviate from the rulers’ particular interpretation. …
He mentions also the intolerance by each Muslim sect of all other Muslim sects, in particular “the horror inflicted on the unorthodox Ahmadiyya Muslims in Pakistan”.
Much of the intolerance in Pakistan stems from the influence of the Saudis, who are trying to reshape Islam in their image, and are helped by Westerners because of their vast reserves of money. Shamefully the British Museum put on an exhibition on Mecca funded by the Saudis, even while those iconoclasts were vandalising the city; I can’t think of anything so contrary to the spirit of that fine institution.
But they’re not the only ones – universities and organisations all over the West take Saudi money, and they should be publicly shamed … Likewise countries that do not allow freedom of religion should be made pariahs …
At the heart of the problem is that we’re too scared of even admitting that the problem is within Islam, perfectly illustrated by the BBC’s coverage of events.
Then he proposes his brilliant idea:
This is perverse, because our belief in equal rights before the law stems from the liberal tradition, yet while the Saudis spend millions promoting their beliefs abroad, we don’t. According to human-rights lawyer and advocate for Christian religious freedom Nina Shea, many of the classical liberal western works, such as John Locke, have no modern Arabic translations. Why isn’t one of the west’s many liberal billionaires paying for translations, to be made available free on Kindle?
“Many” have not been translated? How many have been? And who reads them? Are they in the university libraries of the Muslim countries? Are there objective lecturers in Western Thought? Why don’t some of the wealthy who endow subversive academies like Harvard, Yale, Princeton wake up and instead endow chairs, or whole faculties, or even entire universities in the Islamic world dedicated to the teaching of Western Philosophy, Politics, History, Ethics, Economics, Literature, Law, and Science? (Not Religion – there’s no sense in opposing one irrationality with another.) They should be taught not as they are seen through Marxist distorting lenses in most American universities, but the way John Locke himself, and Benjamin Franklin would do it.
Oh, of course. No Islamic country would allow it. Still, we should try every way we can think of to get our ideas into as many Muslim heads as we possibly can.
Ed West concludes:
Time may be running out, for one of the many tragic results of Christian persecution is that a vital bridge between the Middle East and Europe is being wrecked. Of the 60 scholars who translated the ancient Greek classics into Arabic during the [falsely so-called] Islamic Golden Age, according to scholar Dr Suha Rassam, 58 were Syriac Christians (and of the others, one was Jewish and the other a Sabian), since generally only Syriacs could speak both Arabic and Greek.
Not one of them was a Muslim.
Without these 60 men the Renaissance would never have happened, and the very ideas that gave us liberalism would never have emerged.
Classical liberalism that is – the belief in tolerance and individual freedom.
Thomas Sowell talks to Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard about the differences between Liberalism (ie. statism) and Conservatism. (The video dates from 2010.)
At the LSE – one of the great universities of what is still, laughably, called “the free world” – two students were wearing T-shirts displaying a strip cartoon called Jesus and Mo …
On October 3, Abishek and Chris were manning the ASH [Atheist, Secularist, and Humanist Society] stall at the LSE Students’ Union Freshers’ Fayre.
They were approached by the Students’ Union’s Community and Welfare Officer Anneessa Mahmood, its Anti-Racism Officer Rayhan Uddin, its Deputy Chief Executive Jarlath O’Hara, and several others. …
Anneessa Mahmood began removing items from their stall without explanation and when challenged, claimed that the material was “offensive”. She would not offer an explanation as to what rules or regulations were being breached.
The pair were also told to remove their t-shirts; the wearing of which, it was claimed, amounted to “harassment”. The t-shirts depicted a cartoon known as “Jesus and Mo” which depicts Jesus and Mohammed in various comical situations. [When they] refused to remove the shirts, the ASH stall was surrounded by uniformed security who threatened to remove Chris and Abishek from university premises by force. [They] agreed to put on their jackets and zip them up, [but] this apparently was insufficient because the word “prophet” could still be seen. They were informed that they were not behaving in an “orderly or responsible” manner, and were accompanied by uniformed security for the rest of the afternoon.
The following day, Chris and Abishek again wore their t-shirts, but this time with the word “censored” covering the “offending” material.
They promptly received a letter from the school secretary informing them that they were in breach of the LSE Harassment Policy, and repeating the order that if they did not remove the t-shirts, they would be forcefully removed.
Again, uniformed security accompanied them for the day.
This information was given to us as a comment on our post Saved from Communism – and flourishing (September 15, 2013) by our reader – and citizen of Chile – Carlos. It confirms the two reports we quoted, which praise Chile for its spectacular economic achievements since 1973. But it is also a reality-check and corrective to their optimism, because it also tells the distressing story of how the Left is trying to sabotage the system that worked so well and return the country to failed collectivist policies:
The information you cite on this post is correct. The country I grew up in was entirely different from the one my parents knew. Latin American nations have always been poor in ways someone that hails from the Anglo-Saxon world can’t fathom, and it’s been like that since the Spaniards came hundreds of years ago.
My parents, the son and daughter of poor country workers (the kind that toiled the land without technology or electricity), are now medical professionals, wealthy, and have traveled to all continents. It’s the kind of story you hear in those once poor third world countries that lead free market reforms, or about first generation immigrants that arrive to the US as paupers and then, after some decades, amass the kind of wealth only a small percentage possess in their countries of origin.
Besides [and because of] having the highest per capita income of the region, the people of Chile surpass others in South America on eating and drinking alcohol, so much that, just like the US, obesity and diabetes are a major health concern of all ages.
With all this, you would think that the Chilean people would be happy and elated about their progress …
Yes, progress – because obesity and diabetes are bad effects of eating too much, not too little …
… but that could not be farther from the truth. The political consensus, accepted by pretty much everyone, is that the Chilean economic system is immoral and awful; a system built on “inequality and greed”.
Like in the US and Europe, the political Right has abandoned the Universities and intellectual spheres, leaving them to the Left to reign supreme. Socialism of all stripes is discussed on all political talk shows, while the greatest and most successful economic reforms in Chile’s history (the greatest reduction of poverty in recent years, for one) are scorned as “neoliberalism” and not egalitarian, and capitalists are despised with the same animus as your lefties [in the US] inveigh against the “one percenters”.
While the European welfare states are teetering, the people here hate the privately managed social security, accusing them of being thieves. The general belief here is that if something, whether minerals, forests, social security funds, etc., is owned by the State it is the property of everyone, which is good (no matter how much it costs or how much the national debt rises), but if it is private then someone somewhere is stealing from them (with commodities this is believed even if the prices are low).
This thinking is also applied to education.
Throughout 2011, huge protests broke out clamoring for free university education and the end of the voucher system for funding school education for poor families. The protesters were led by a member of the Communist Party, who was acclaimed and embraced by the fawning media. The protests ended up with more than a thousand policemen injured (beaten, burned by molotov bombs, etc.) and damages to schools on strike (by their own students, if not older members of left wing fanatic groups) that, according to the Minister of Education, amount to the cost of building 11 all-new schools.
Street violence is now a staple of the national life, with policemen attacked with a shower of rocks, molotov bombs, and acid (yes, ACID). Even the horses that policemen use have been the subject of horrible knife cuts. The last protest to commemorate the 40 years of the coup ended up with a policeman with his face (nose, teeth, cheek) destroyed by a rock blow, as several others had their hands burned with acid. (See videos of the riots here – where a fallen mounted policeman is stoned – and here and here.)
All of this without counting the crude and disgusting language the police are subject to by the crazed mass that revels in violence.
The two greatest universities of the country are hostile grounds for Presidents of all stripes. Years ago, Ricardo Lagos, a Socialist President, was verbally abused in the Law faculty of the University of Chile and paint was hurled at him for the crime of not been socialist enough. And just three or two years ago, the current President, Sebastián Piñera and other political colleagues where attacked in the Catholic University of Chile by a group of students that behaved like a group of crazed baboons hooting and jeering.
The “secular religion” of the Left, besides the sanctification of the “Dear Leader”, is the adoration of the martyrs of the Revolution.
At the tax payer expense, a Museum of the Memory was built to commemorate all the 3000+ victims of the Pinochet dictatorship, all under a language of Human Rights violations. Of course, there is no mention of Allende’s association with the Soviet Union, one of the greatest Human Rights violators ever, only surpassed by others that applied the system of Scientific Socialism, which Allende and the Left adhered to and admired. There is no mention, also, of the more than 400 police and military men that were murdered by the paramilitary groups; no mention of the human disaster that Allende government was (with a ridiculous high inflation, shortages of the basic victuals, rationing lines, out of control political violence, aggressive taking over of land and industries, the State controlling most of the economy); no mentioning of the language the Left used during Allende’s reign: the threat of violent Revolution, and, most disgusting of all, the claims that, after killing the men of the Bourgeoisie, they would take their women ‘to the bed’, a nice and blithe euphemism for rape.
Our Communist Party has expressed, openly, their grief for the passing of the lunatic dictator Kim Jong-il, and gave vocal support to the Assad regime on the glorious duty of massacring their own people (a very Communist endeavor, you know). These horrendous, ignominious, disgraceful acts in support of murder and evil that boggle the mind are met with total (yes, that is the word) indifference by the general populace, while Pinochet’s dictatorship is routinely condemned.
Michelle Bachelet, a member of the Socialist Party who governed Chile between 2006 – 2010, will return again as a candidate for the next election. While in her first mandate she tended to be Center-Left, supported by a somewhat moderate coalition, and applying as much fiscal sanity as a Socialist can have, this time she comes at the head of a new political group that includes the Communist Party and is bent on changing the “Neoliberal” system, increase taxes and all the litany of reforms that scares investors and ruins long term economic projects. She enjoys the support of nearly 40 – 45% of voters, mostly because of her motherly appearance and the fact that she is a woman.
The problem with Chile is that, as Ayn Rand would say, its very core, its spiritual, cultural and historic center, is complete and powerfully rotted with Altruism. It is embedded in the national soul. Its roots lie, I believe, with the Catholic creed, and is something that most Chileans embrace. This allows for any right, any value to be sacrificed on the altar of the Collective, Public, Tribal good.
This is the reason I am writing this to you, because I think that in some years, Chile will utterly fail in its quest for economic development, and it will be a disaster.
Economic liberalism, individualism, is the antithesis of Altruism.
The Left has learned NOTHING from the experience of Allende’s government: the living members of his administration have publicly refused to ask for forgiveness for ruining the economy and the coexistence of a nation that some three years before was peaceful and stable. The younger members of the Left believe that the CIA and the Right ruined the economy just to get rid of Allende. The lessons of History only apply to their enemies.
It is a very bleak picture that I have painted of the current situation of Chile, but it is one that any of us living here would profess, any of us that believe in freedom, private property and the secular Rule of Law focused on defending individual rights.
Amusing comment on science and religion. Nothing new in it, but worth watching for the mild fun. (It tails off into irrelevance at the end.)
The “five pillars of Islam” are: the confession of faith; prayer; fasting during Ramadan; charitable giving (to Muslims only); pilgrimage to Mecca.*
This illustration of the “five pillars” comes, via Atlas Shrugs, from Springfield High School, Robertson County, Tennessee. It was one of five such drawings posted on a wall on the first day of school.
It seems that the religion of Muhammad, and (according to Atlas Shrugs) no other religion, is taught there. If so, it is a clear case of Muslim proselytizing at the taxpayers’ expense.
Atlas Shrugs comments (in part):
This isn’t public education. This is dawah [proselytzing]. Real education about Islam includes the 1,400 year history of jihad wars, land appropriations, cultural annihilation and enslavements. Real education about Islam includes the close to 270 million victims of jihad. Real education about Islam includes their hatred of the “people of the book” (Christians and Jews). Real education about Islam includes current events – the systematic oppression, subjugation, and slaughter of Christians, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Zoroastrians, Bahais, Buddhists et al under the sharia.
*Note that “jihad” is added in the picture of the “five pillars”. It is often said that jihad – holy war waged on the infidel – is a “sixth pillar of Islam”.
Why is the liberal-democratic system of the West proving so weak, so easily undermined by the backward customs of Islam? Why are the leaders and intellectuals of the West willing to let the values and standards of their culture be compromised and even replaced by the savage dogma of a superstitious cult unchanged since its inception in the dark ages?
Questions hard to answer. But examples of the weakness, the compromise, the replacement are not hard to find.
Students threatening teachers. Teachers threatening students. Corruption in the classrooms, the hallways, and, eventually, becoming a national scandal – all part of daily life at an Islamic high school in Rotterdam. There, according to a recent article in Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad, non-Muslim teachers are pressured to pass failing Muslim students, while Muslim teachers hold secretive classes instructing their pupils on the evils of European culture. And that’s only part of the story.
We quote these passages from an article at The Investigative Project on Terrorism, by Abigail R. Esman:
The Ibn Ghaldoun school has a long history of controversy, but returned recently to the spotlight after it was discovered that a group of its students had stolen copies of the national final exam, administered to all Dutch students, and were selling it over the Internet. Dozens were found to have cheated, including at least one young woman who, having researched the answers, spoke them into her smartphone and played the recording during test-taking, hiding the headphones under her hijab. The result: the tests had to be repeated, even by those who had not seen them in advance …
Investigations into the theft have revealed deep-rooted corruption and revisited previous dirty dealings at the Islamic school, the only Islamic secondary school in the country. In 2007, for instance, Ibn Ghaldoun’s directors were found to have used over €200,000 in government subsidies earmarked for books and local educational school outings to take 200 students and their families … to Mecca. To make matters worse, school administrators then created false receipts and invoices to cover up the misallocation of funds.
Other money also appears to have been paid that same year to local imams not officially affiliated with the school, including the radical Khalil El Moumni, known, among other things, for regularly characterizing homosexuals as being “worse than pigs.”
In this latest scandal, the school has come under its most intense scrutiny yet. And the findings suggest that problems with Holland’s Muslim population are far more complex – and potentially serious – than has been recognized to date.
It isn’t only that several hundred of Rotterdam’s Muslim youth attend a school where lying and stealing is evidently the norm for the administration, creating an environment in which the basic values and principles of Western law and social values are dismissed and disregarded; and it isn’t only that the role model this establishes for these children is one that not only ignores Dutch law, but defies it. What is worse is that such lessons, according to the NRC Handelsblad, are actually taught directly: in a discussion with seven non-Muslim teachers from the school (all of whom claim to have taken jobs there in the hope of improving chances for underprivileged Muslim youth), reporter Andreas Kouwenhoven discovered that after-school “study groups” prove not to be study groups at all. Rather, one Ibn Ghaldoun teacher told him, “they were classes aimed at indoctrinating the children. The lessons were directed against Dutch culture: Girls should never marry a Dutch boy or a non-believer [non-Muslim].”
Others told the NRC that parents frequently participated in the culture of lies prevalent at the school, regularly pressuring them to raise a child’s grade or even to pass a failing student. Equally distressing, however, is the fact that some teachers actually capitulated. Some cited threats (one claimed his car was vandalized when he refused to raise one student’s grade). Others who admitted inflating grades and secretly giving pupils second- and third chances felt that Dutch-Muslim children experience particular difficulty navigating Dutch society and so, deserve some latitude – this even when many Ibn Ghaldoun’s students were born and raised in the Netherlands. Not only have students who should have failed been allowed to pass, but even those who rightfully should have flunked out completely have received diplomas. (Ibn Ghaldoum’s director, Ayhan Tonca, did not respond to requests for comment for this column.)
The consequences of all this are significant. The unemployment rate among the Dutch Muslim population, particularly among Moroccans, is 15 percent, versus 8 percent of non-Muslims. Far more live in poverty. These facts are frequently cited as reasons for the high rate of criminality in the Muslim (and especially Moroccan) community, and as proof that Muslims are discriminated against by non-Muslim employers. But the situation at the school suggests that the problems lie deeper, in a systemic, cultural approach to maneuvering through life and handling an adverse situation: the lying, the cheating, the threats. …
Failure to assimilate appears to come, then, not from discrimination or difficulties in adapting per se, but as a deliberate strategy promoted not just by radical imams in the mosques, but by the schools.
Granted, Ibn Ghaldoun is but one of many Islamic schools in the country (though it is, significantly, the only Islamic high school). But it is not the only one that expressly teaches students to oppose Dutch norms or resist Westernization; in fact … recent government reports have shown that 30 percent of Islamic schools in the Netherlands have ties to Hamas and/or the Muslim Brotherhood.