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Commemorating 9-11: Blaming America, exonerating Islam
Posted: August 19, 2002
1:00 a.m. Eastern

 2002 WorldNetDaily.com

Michael Medved
Culture Clash

As we approach the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, what should we teach our children about the most devastating terrorist massacres in history?

According to recommendations provided by the nation's largest teacher's union, the most important points to emphasize involve the importance of "tolerance" and "diversity." The National Education Association links its website to a detailed list of "Tips for Parents and Schools Regarding the Anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001," prepared by Dr. Brian Lippincott of John F. Kennedy University in Orinda, Calif. Professor Lippincott insists that commemorative programs must avoid any suggestion that Islamic fanaticism can be blamed for the attacks, and that the most important way to protect ourselves from future assaults is to embrace all religions and sexual orientations.

Actually, the "Key Messages" recommended in his paper for anniversary celebrations include such politically correct nostrums as the declaration that "Violence and hate are never solutions to anger" and "America is strong because of our diversity," and "History shows us that intolerance only causes harm." According to Professor Lippincott, the prime example of such "intolerance" involves America's monstrous crimes against its own citizens. "We must not repeat terrible mistakes," he writes, demanding discussion of "historical instances of American intolerance. Internment of Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor and the backlash against Arab Americans during the Gulf War are obvious examples."

Examples of what, precisely? Of America's unprecedented goodness and generosity? Even at the height of the Gulf War (and, so far, during the War on Terror), Arab Americans experienced no significant "backlash" continuing to enjoy full civil rights and to sustain the conspicuous success that has characterized this hard-working ethnic group for nearly a century.

The NEA materials not only lie about past persecution of Islamic Americans, but also offer a grotesque distortion of current world affairs. Among the "Tips for Parents and Teachers," Lippincott suggests that we must "Address the issue of blame factually Do not suggest any group is responsible." In other words, educators should avoid the implication that al-Qaida and the worldwide network of Islamic fanatics had something to do with the slaughter of Americans. "We have no reason to believe that the attacks on our country were part of an organized plan of any other country," the curriculum materials insist. "The terrorists acted independently without the sanctions of any nation."

What about Afghanistan, which welcomed Osama bin Laden as an "honored guest"? What about Saudi Arabia, which continues to raise money through telethons and the royal family to support international terrorism? What about Iraq, which lavishly praised the 9-11 attacks as a heroic blow against America?

According to the education establishment, we should avoid such unpleasant observations because "protecting against harassment of our Arab American classmates and neighbors is most critical right now. We must embrace these values toward all Americans for all time. This includes race, religions, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and those with special needs."

Such pronouncements might seem merely ludicrous and laughable were they not so pathetically representative of the moral relativism that dominates elite opinion less than a year after 9-11. America remains the most tolerant and generous of nations, and incidents of persecution of Muslims and Arab Americans remain blessedly rare and relatively mild. Nevertheless, the relativists use paranoia over potential anti-Arab frenzy to stifle any honest discussion of patently dangerous and deadly elements in Islamic tradition.

Even the most cursory examination of the contemporary Muslim world would reveal profound religious and cultural dysfunction, with abject poverty, gross violation of human rights, and some of the most corrupt and vicious dictatorships on earth. The National Education Association, however, insists that teachers ignore these realities, because calling attention to them might undermine the unquestionable assumption that no religious tradition is more destructive, and no culture is more admirable, than others.

The most striking aspect of the materials promoted by the NEA involves the utter absence of any patriotic or pro-American messages indeed, the only suggestion about emphasizing our history involves discussing "historical instances of American intolerance." In this "Alice-in-Wonderland" world of political correctness, we are supposed to mark the Sept. 11 anniversary with no mention of the brave people in our military who continue to risk their lives to protect our safety, and no hint as to why American values under present assault might be worth preserving and defending.

In the midst of World War II, a few Americans actively sympathized with the enemy the pro-Mussolini poet Ezra Pound, and the Japanese propagandist Tokyo Rose come readily to mind. No one suggested, however, that we must avoid blaming Germany or Japan for the war because to do so might encourage "intolerance" of the Nazis or Axis sympathizers in our midst.

Let American Muslims declare their loyalty to this country, and their horrified rejection of Islamic fanaticism in all its forms. Indeed, most (but not all) Muslims in this country have taken precisely that stand. But it makes no sense to invoke the mantras of "diversity" and "inclusion" as a basis for denying the clear moral elements in this current struggle, or ignoring the obvious contrast between America and our bloodthirsty enemies. Tolerance may represent a worthy value, but it is evil and destructive to tolerate the intolerable.

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