Taxpayer-Funded 'Islamic Propaganda,' Attacks on Christianity Forced on Michigan Teachers

New documents unearthed by the Thomas More Law Center show how a Muslim instructor pushed "Islamic propaganda" on teachers in Novi, Mich., in 2017. According to the Law Center, the instructor also denigrated Christianity and America in her "diversity" training.

"We found that the teachers were subjected to two days of Islamic propaganda, where Islam was glorified, Christianity disparaged, and America bashed—all funded by Novi taxpayers," Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel of the Law Center, said in a statement. "This type of infiltration amounts to an Islamic Trojan horse within our public-school systems. No other religion gets this kind of special treatment in our schools."

Huda Essa, a Muslim from the Dearborn area and founder of Culture Links, L.L.C., appeared before Novi teachers in a hijab, billing herself as an expert in "cultural competency" and "culturally responsive teaching." She led a training on August 28 and 29, 2017. TMLC heard about the training roughly one year later and filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in the fall of 2018.

During her presentation, Essa claimed that her mother's decision to wear the hijab was met with "rage" from random Americans. She described Muslim women as victims of Islamophobia on the part of bigoted Americans, saying they have been spat upon, had hot liquids poured over them, been beaten, and even been killed because they wear the hijab.

She did not mention when or where these atrocities happened, and she did not present hate crime statistics to back up her claims. According to the FBI, anti-Muslim attacks are relatively rare in the U.S., and they actually fell by 17 percent in 2017. Anti-Jewish hate crimes outnumbered anti-Muslim offenses by nearly four to one that year alone. According to Open Doors, Christians are the most persecuted of all religious groups globally. Of the 50 most dangerous countries to be a Christian, Islamic oppression fuels persecution in 33.

Essa did not deny the poor treatment of women in Islamic countries, but she attributed their struggles to "cultural" differences, not to Islam. While Muslims differ in their interpretations of Sharia (Islamic law), TMLC noted that the Quran instructs husbands to beat their disobedient wives (Surah 4:34) and that Mohammed reportedly said that the majority of hell would be populated by women (Sahih Bukhari hadith, Vol. 1:28, 301; Vol. 2:161, Vol. 7:124-126).

The Muslim instructor claimed that Muslims love Jesus and refer to him as "messiah," but she left out the key differences between what Christians and Muslims believe about Jesus. While Christians believe the Messiah saves people from sin, Muslims see Jesus as a lower prophet under Mohammed, not the Son of God. They believe Jesus did not die on the cross or rise from the dead.

Essa attacked the authority of the Jewish and Christian scriptures, repeating the Islamic line that the Old and New Testaments were "corrupted." The Quran, she insisted, contains the final "pure" words of God. She said Christianity and Islam were "mostly similar," but claimed that Islam is the world's "only purely monotheistic religion."

Interestingly, she defended the Quran as coming straight from Allah to the prophet Mohammed, but refused to mention the passage commanding Muslims to "Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them, take them captive, harass them, lie in wait and ambush them using every stratagem of war" (Surah 9:5).

She also insisted that the phrase "Allahu Akbar!" ("Allah is the greatest!") — well known as the battle cry of radical Islamic terrorists — is just a refrain Muslims use to convey feelings of happiness, sadness, anger, or thankfulness.

Essa further claimed that "Islam" is an offshoot of the Arabic term "Salaam," which means peace. In reality, the term "Islam" means "submission" — to Allah and to Shariah.

TMLC also faulted Essa for noting that Islam is the world's fastest-growing religion while omitting the fact that Muslims who leave the faith are considered apostates — and are subject to severe punishment in many countries, up to and including death.

TLMC described many slides as presenting an anti-American, revisionist history that painted the United States as "cultural genocide" and suggested that its treatment of Native Americans was as bad or worse than the Nazi holocaust. It appears she might have posted some of these slides on Instagram:

She claimed that the U.S.'s "genocide" against Native Americans was worse than the Holocaust.

She also emphasized America's ugly racial past.

As TMLC noted, however, "Essa was silent on the 1400 years of actual genocides, also known as jihads, in which Muslims wiped out Jewish tribes on the Arabian Peninsula, and slaughtered millions of Christians throughout the Middle East, North Africa and the European Continent." The Middle East and North Africa were overwhelmingly Christian until Muslims invaded and Islamized those areas.

Essa also omitted any mention of the multiple radical Islamic terror attacks on U.S. soil.

She completely ignored the jihadi terrorist attacks conducted on U.S. soil: The 9/11 attack that murdered nearly 3,000 people, the Fort Hood massacre of 12 U.S. soldiers, the Pulse Nightclub attack that killed 49 Americans in Orlando, the San Bernardino attack that killed 14 at a Christmas party, the Chattanooga shooting that killed five at a Navy recruitment and reserve center, the Boston Marathon bombing that killed three and left hundreds wounded, and the Chelsea, New York, pipe-bombing that injured 30 innocent Americans. Not to mention the countless terror attacks that have been foiled by the FBI.

According to TMLC, Essa also suggested that white Christian males are more of a terror threat than radical Islamic terrorists. "White Christian males," she suggested, "are more dangerous than Islamic radicals."

TMLC's FOIA request revealed that the Novi school district did not fully vet Essa before her presentation and the district did not have documents showing any sort of investigation to fact-check her presentation. However, the request did reveal that the district paid $5,000 for the presentation. During the past five years, the school district has not forced teachers to take any seminar on Christianity, Judaism, or any other religion — only Islam.

Essa's client list includes colleges, universities, schools, and professional educator associations in Michigan, California, Georgia, Texas, Florida, and more. In Michigan, her website lists nine school districts: Oakland County Schools, Ann Arbor Schools, L’Anse Creuse Public Schools, Plymouth-Canton Community Schools, Roseville Community Schools, Farmington Public Schools, Dearborn Public Schools, Birmingham Public Schools, and Melvindale Public Schools.

TMLC has many active cases involving public schools promoting Islam and attacking Christianity. In New Jersey, seventh graders were taught that "Islam is the true faith," required to learn the Muslim creed (the Shahada), and forced to watch proselytizing videos. TMLC is representing another student in Maryland, where kids were taught that "Most Muslims' faith is stronger than the average Christian" and "Islam at heart is a peaceful religion."

It may make sense to educate teachers — and students — about the nuances of different interpretations of Sharia, explaining that some Muslim sects disagree with the radical interpretations that support terrorism and oppression across the world. But any such training must acknowledge Islam's history, and if taxpayers are to be made to pay for such training, teachers should also be trained in Christianity and Judaism — especially since America's Judeo-Christian heritage is so often demonized and under assault.

One-sided, propagandistic, and offensive teaching like this should be rebutted at the very least, and taxpayers should not be forced to support it.

Follow Tyler O'Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.