California Public School Holds Hijab Day, Hilarity Ensues

Thursday was Hijab Day at NP3 High School (Natomas Pacific Pathways Prep), a public charter school in Sacramento, California. Predictably, the school responded to concerns over why a public school would be hosting such an event with charges that critics were motivated by “hatred” and “bigotry.” The whole episode became an illustration of how Islamic supremacists are manipulating politically correct, multiculturalist pieties to advance their agenda.

It all started when a Jihad Watch reader in the Sacramento area who is very close to NP3 High School sent me the flier for the day, which read: 

NP3 Hijab Day

January 28, 2015

  • The hijab is a headcovering worn by Muslim women as a symbol of modesty and their devotion to God.
  • GIRLS! Come to the library Wednesday morning and MSA members will assist you in putting your hijab on.
  • You can bring any type of rectangular (or square) that is bought at any store*

*If you do not have any scarves, they will provided for you to borrow for the day

The person who sent me the flier explained that this all started with a student at NP3 High who is an intern for the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), now designated a terror organization by the United Arab Emirates. This student, I was informed, gave a presentation about “Islamophobia” and Islam at what was a mandatory staff meeting that also included an official CAIR representative. The school then decided to sponsor an official “Hijab Day” in cooperation with CAIR. The flier also showed that another Muslim Brotherhood-linked organization, the Muslim Students Association, was also involved.

My source also told me that every female member of the faculty and staff, and students as well, was encouraged to wear a hijab Thursday, and that NP3’s principal, Tom Rutten, strongly encouraged everyone to participate and wear one.

I asked readers of my website, Jihad Watch, to contact Rutten and let him know, politely and courteously, that there were religion-and-state issues involved in this event, and also that public schools should not be working with groups that have demonstrable and proven links to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. I suggested that readers ask him when NP3 Priest Collar Day, Nun Habit Day, and Kippah Day would be — or is it only Islam that gets this treatment? I also said they should ask him when NP3’s day would be to honor women and girls who have been brutalized and murdered for not wearing hijab, and why he was celebrating a garment that is, for all too many women, a sign of oppression and misogyny. I also asked people to write to Scott Dosick, the president of the Board of Trustees of the Natomas Unified School District, of which NP3 High is a part.

In conclusion, I wrote:

Remember that over at Hamas-linked CAIR they will be licking their chops and ready to pounce on any indication that Rutten or Dosick have been getting “hate messages” or “threats.” Do not give them ammunition in their jihad against freedom: be polite, courteous and reasonable in all communications, limiting discussion to asking calmly why Islam is getting this preferential treatment in a public school.”

Predictably, however, the next day Ibrahim Hooper of Hamas-linked CAIR triumphantly posted on his YouTube page this ridiculous “news story” about the controversy. It is indicative of how such issues are always treated in the mainstream media. Sacramento’s Fox 40 interviewed Rutten and CAIR. Rutten wearily said he had been receiving hate messages, although he neither showed nor quoted any. Fox 40 made no attempt to contact me or anyone who wrote letters to the school expressing concern over Hijab Day. The whole thing was dismissed, as always in the mainstream media, as “bigotry.” The Fox 40 story was also riddled with errors: it claimed that I named the student responsible for Hijab Day in my post; I did not, as you can see here. And the principal’s name is Rutten, not Sutten.

But sloppiness was not the worst of it. In recounting CAIR’s remarks, Fox 40 made no mention of CAIR’s ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, the jihad terror convictions of several of its former officials, the fact that the United Arab Emirates designated it a terror organization, etc. But it did go out of its way to say I (without naming me) am “anti-Muslim,” without bothering to note the issues regarding the oppression of women and religion-and-state involved in NP3’s Hijab Day.

Meanwhile, Rutten’s own response was passive-aggressive. On the one hand, he denied that Hijab Day was a school event: it was just a student’s presentation, he said, and he denied encouraging anyone to participate. On the other, he circulated an attack on those who had concerns as “hate-filled” and “irrational.” One exchange he had with a woman who was concerned about the program was illuminating in several ways. The concerned citizen wrote to Rutten:

I am a taxpayer, Girl Scout leader, and public education advocate in Southern California, and I am writing to express my shock, dismay, and disappointment at learning that a school in your district, the Natomas Unified School District, held a Hijab Day today, encouraging all girls and women to wear hijabs. This is outrageous.

It’s outrageous primarily because it brought religion into a public school in a way that directly conflicts with the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which prohibits school-sponsored prayer and religious indoctrination.

Encouraging girls and women to wear hijabs for “modesty” is clearly an example of religious indoctrination. Can you imagine the public outrage if a Jewish student requested “Yarmulke Day” and all men and boys at the school were urged to wear a head covering of the type that Jewish men and boys wear? It’s unimaginable.

For your future use, here’s a guideline on Religion in Schools produced by the ACLU: www.aclu-tn.org/pdfs/briefer_religion_in_public_schools.pdf.

Additionally, it’s astounding because, per the flyer, “Hijab Day” was organized by, or encouraged by the Muslim Students Association, which is considered by many national security experts to be tied to the Muslim Brotherhood. In other words, tied to terrorism. I could provide you a dozen links to articles about this, but perhaps you’d like to do your own google search. It’s out there.

I know that you are a busy man, Mr. Rutten, but I really would like to understand why the NP3 thought this was acceptable. If you’d please reply to me, I’d appreciate that.

Rutten responded:

Since this was a student run event I have attached the student response below.

Tom Rutten

At a time when anti-Muslim sentiment is growing, I wanted to let my classmates and teachers know about the challenges that young Muslim women face when they put on a headscarf. It is unfortunate that a small effort to promote mutual understanding would provoke such a hate-filled and irrational response.

NP3 Hijab Day was part of my Senior Project, meant to bring awareness to my campus about the misconceptions surrounding Islam, particularly those surrounding the headscarf. I invited a speaker to talk to faculty about addressing Islamophobia in the classroom and the challenges in the Muslim world, and they appreciated the open and frank discussion.

The irrational reaction by some intolerant individuals is similar to the many manufactured controversies nationwide over the teaching of basic information about Islam, the faith of one-fifth of the world’s population, in public schools. In many other cases, any discussion of Islam or American Muslims brings about this reaction.

The person who promoted the misinformation about this issue, Robert Spencer, is one of the most notorious Islamophobes in America.

This extreme reaction clearly demonstrates why this presentation was needed in the first place.

South Poverty Law Center’s profile on Robert Spencer:

http://www.splcenter.org/get%20informed/intelligence%20files/profiles/Robert%20Spencer​

Since I hadn’t seen any hatred, irrationality or intolerance in the letter of the woman who wrote to Rutten, once she forwarded the exchange to me I wrote him back myself:

Dear Mr. Rutten:

Thank you for your kind response to Ms. [redacted], which she forwarded to me.

The message from your student was most interesting. I trust that you have explained to her that to respond to the concerns voiced by Ms. [redacted] and others by linking to a smear piece on me is an example of the ad hominem fallacy: attacking the person voicing the concerns rather than the concerns themselves.

The Southern (not “South”) Poverty Law Center attack piece is also highly inaccurate and misleading. The FBI, in fact, even stopped using the SPLC’s work on “hate groups” last year, in light of the fact that the SPLC had stopped tracking real hate groups and was using the label to smear those who disagreed with its political views: http://washingtonexaminer.com/shocker-fbi-dumps-southern-poverty-law-center-as-hate-crime-watchdog-partner/article/2546305

I am not going to try your patience by showing the falsehood of all of SPLC’s smear claims; suffice it for the moment to point out that I have led seminars on Islam and jihad for the United States Central Command, United States Army Command and General Staff College, the U.S. Army’s Asymmetric Warfare Group, the FBI, the Joint Terrorism Task Force, and the U.S. intelligence community.

I trust that you also have explained or will explain to your student that to dismiss all concern about NP3 Hijab Day as “hate-filled,” “irrational,” and “Islamophobic” doesn’t contribute in the least to “open and frank discussion,” but actually forecloses on the possibility of such a discussion by trying to intimidate people into thinking that concerns they thought were legitimate are actually manifestations of a “bigotry” they were not aware they had. This is just the opposite of “open and frank discussion,” and I am sure you would agree that this kind of name-calling, intimidation, and groupthink should not be encouraged in academic settings at any level.

For your convenience, here are the major concerns that people have about the NP3 Hijab Day event:

1. FBI statistics show that hate crimes against Muslims, which are never justified, are actually quite uncommon, with hate crimes against Jews being over four times more common. Details here: http://www.islamist-watch.org/blog/2014/12/new-fbi-hate-crime-stats-another-blow-to-islamist

Yet I would venture to guess that there has been no event at NP3 High to call attention to the challenges that Jews face, and that none is in the works. I understand that NP3 Hijab Day was a student-run event. Would a Jewish or pro-Israel student be allowed to stage a similar Day calling attention to anti-Semitism? If this included the rise in Islamic anti-Semitism in Europe and elsewhere, would this be allowed? Would you allow a Yarmulke Day at NP3 High?

2. CAIR and the MSA appear to have been involved in this event. Both were named unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land trial, which involved funneling money to the terror group Hamas. Both have demonstrable ties, documented and noted by the FBI, with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. See, for example, these links:

http://www.investigativeproject.org/2340/federal-judge-agrees-cair-tied-to-hamas

http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2011/March/Muslim-Student-Group-a-Gateway-to-Jihad/

Is it really wise to allow people from organizations that have ties to terror groups to interact with NP3 students?

3. As I am sure you’re aware, even student-run events by Christian students have come under fire in public schools in recent years, and many see them as a violation of the Establishment Clause. Would you allow a Wear the Cross Day? I have never heard of such an event in any public school except in conjunction with protests against it on Constitutional grounds. Do you not think this is a double standard — and one perpetuated by Hijab Day at NP3 High?

4. Many women and girls around the world have been brutalized and even killed for not wearing a hijab. A list of some of them, with further links to the relevant news stories, is at this link: http://www.jihadwatch.org/2014/02/today-is-world-hijab-day

Are you not concerned that NP3’s Hijab Day might end up justifying and helping perpetuate the pretexts for this oppression? What steps did you take to ensure that that did not happen? If a student wanted to hold a Day calling attention to the oppression of women that is all too often justified by Islamic law, would that be allowed at NP3?

I hope these questions make it clear that there are legitimate concerns regarding NP3’s Hijab Day, and to dismiss them as “hate-filled” is simply an attempt to shut down the public discussion that is needed on these issues. I look forward to receiving your answers to these questions. Also, I would be happy to come to NP3 High School at my own expense, in order to engage in an open forum with students on these and related issues, and to ensure that the “open and frank discussion” on these issues at NP3 High is not dominated solely by one perspective only. We can settle on a mutually agreeable date for this open forum at your convenience — I can be reached at this email address and at [redacted].

Cordially

Robert Spencer

Needless to say, I received no response. The exchange was yet another example of how one side of the debate about sharia and jihad is trying to have a rational discussion, while the other responds only with slogans and smears. The response from Rutten and the student was drearily predictable with its cries of “hate” and lack of specific response to any of the concerns raised in the letter to Rutten.

And so Hijab Day came and went at NP3 High, with all questions about it dismissed as “bigotry.” We may only hope that none of the girls who voluntarily donned a hijab on Thursday to show their multicultural sensitivity, or their daughters, will ever be forced to wear one at the point of a gun. But such concerns are not allowed to be voiced at NP3 High School.