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In Texas, Islamic Schools Face Tough Road To Participation

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by da1, Mar 5, 2012.

  1. da1

    da1 Member

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    With 500 students, increasing academic prestige and an established soccer team, Iman Academy SW, an Islamic school in Houston, was seeking membership in 2010 to the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools, a group that organizes competition among more than 200 schools in the state.

    In addition to an application form, Iman Academy SW was given a questionnaire. Among the questions:

    ¶ “Historically, there is nothing in the Koran that fully embraces Christianity or Judaism in the way a Christian and/or a Jew understands his religion. Why, then, are you interested in joining an association whose basic beliefs your religion condemns?”

    ¶ “It is our understanding that the Koran tells you not to mix with (and even eliminate) the infidels. Christians and Jews fall into that category. Why do you wish to join an organization whose membership is in disagreement with your religious beliefs?”

    ¶ “How does your school address certain Christian concepts? (i.e. celebrating Christmas)”

    The private-schools association, known by the acronym Tapps, was established in the 1970s to coordinate sports among Christian schools. The organization drew national attention this week when it refused to reschedule a state semifinal boys basketball game for an Orthodox Jewish day school, which could not play at the scheduled time because its players observe the Sabbath.

    Under legal pressure, Tapps ultimately rescheduled the game for Friday afternoon. (The Orthodox school, Robert M. Beren Academy in Houston, defeated the Convent School of Dallas, 58-46, to advance to the state title game on Saturday night.)

    Tapps had said the issue with Beren Academy was not a religious one but rather a matter of scheduling. But the Beren Academy issue, according to interviews with several school officials in Texas, was not the first time Tapps raised concerns over its dealings with a non-Christian school. At least two other Islamic schools were given similar questionnaires; they declined to fill them out.

    Iman Academy SW did fill out the application and questionnaire and was denied membership. It did not challenge the association’s decision.

    “We didn’t see how it had anything to do with Tapps or our kids and sports,” Cindy Steffens, an administrator with Iman Academy SW, said.

    Bryan Bunselmeyer, the associate director of Tapps, said Friday that he had no comment in response to questions about the questionnaires and how the association had dealt with Islamic schools.

    Paul Horwitz, a professor at the University of Alabama School of Law, said such conflicts involving youth sports and religion were not unique to Texas.

    “I think we can sympathize with people trying to satisfy the largest number of people,” Horwitz said. “But the nation itself is becoming more religiously diverse. That doesn’t mean these groups necessarily are not interested in interacting with society at large. We may have thought of them as part of an insulated community, but they’re not.

    “The more group leagues are growing, the more they’re going to have to cope with religious diversity more often and in more complicated ways.”

    The questionnaire sent to Iman Academy SW said: “Members of the Tapps executive board have little knowledge of Islam and the Koran, so it is possible that some of the passages taken from the Koran have been taken out of context. If so, please help them understand.”

    It went on to ask if the school taught its students that the Bible is corrupt: “When was the Bible allegedly polluted? Does the Koran actually state that the Bible is polluted?” Also, it asked: “What is your attitude about the spread of Islam in America? What are the goals of your school in this regard?”

    Steffens, the administrator at Iman Academy SW, said the school tried to answer the questions “in an inclusive manner.” Upon completion of the questionnaire, school officials had a meeting with Tapps board members, she said. Among the questions asked of the school officials was their opinion of the highly publicized controversy over a proposed mosque near ground zero in New York.

    “We didn’t want to bring any negative attention to the school,” Steffens said. “We know our kids are just as American as their kids. We just wanted to play ball.”

    Several school officials in Texas said Tapps circulated a survey among members in 2010 about potential inclusion of Islamic schools in the league.

    Brian Yager, head of Keystone School, a multi-denomination private school that belongs to Tapps, was among the schools that received the survey.

    The survey asked whether it was “in the best interest of Tapps to accept Islamic schools for membership,” according to a letter from Yager to Keystone parents posted on the school’s Web site. The survey also asked whether Tapps schools would leave the association if a majority of the votes were for or against inclusion of the school.

    “I felt very uncomfortable with the situation,” Yager wrote in a letter to parents. “I declined the invitation to take the survey.”

    Instead, he sent a reply sharing his discomfort with the survey.

    On Dec. 8, 2010, Tapps representatives distributed the results of the survey, reporting that 83 of 220 schools had replied, Yager said in his letter. Some 37 percent of respondents felt that it was in Tapps’s best interest to accept Islamic schools, and 63 percent said it was not, Yager said. Ten schools said they would leave Tapps if a majority said yes to admitting an Islamic school; one school said it would leave Tapps if the majority said no.

    Keystone administrators discussed whether to stay in Tapps, Yager said.

    “For the time being,” the school decided to stay and, “we feel it is important to try and effect change in the situation through positive action within Tapps, rather than removing ourselves from the playing field.”

    Iman Academy SW, meanwhile, arranges games on its own against other schools, and some of its athletes have joined local city-based leagues, Steffens said.

    “We’re trying to be inclusive,” she said.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/03/s...schools-face-tough-road-to-participation.html
     
  2. AroundTheWorld

    AroundTheWorld Insufferable 98er
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    Survey perfectly legitimate. Good thing that they are cautious.

    But they should be allowed to play ball.
     
  3. trustme

    trustme Member

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    Cautious about what? :confused::confused:

    Young Muslims proselytizing Christians and Jews on the soccer field?
     
  4. glynch

    glynch Contributing Member

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    Hey I remember when my son was little and playing soccer with the YMCA in Houston and they went to another Y to play against a team and they had several good athletes, young Muslim girls running around with hijabs on.

    Thank goodness the YMCA had better sense.
     
  5. thumbs

    thumbs Contributing Member

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    Perhaps Texas Association of Private and Parochial School members don't want their children to be blown up, err, blown out.;)
     
  6. da_juice

    da_juice Member

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    The 1st question doesn't even make sense, how can another religion embrace another the same way an adherent would? Even Christians see Judaism different then Jews do (and vice-versa).
     
  7. across110thstreet

    across110thstreet Contributing Member

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    so why should they be cautious?
     
  8. SamFisher

    SamFisher Contributing Member

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    What an embarrassment. I guess my high school is in TAPPS (i think they were in TCIL before? which no longer exists). I wonder if they knew it was run by a bunch of callers from Rush Limbaugh's radio show when they signed up.
     
  9. conquistador#11

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    you never know. they could be islamic socialist youth steppers on the side trying to take over the talent shows.
     
  10. AroundTheWorld

    AroundTheWorld Insufferable 98er
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    Because I wanted to see who would be up in arms about me saying that.
     
    1 person likes this.
  11. LosPollosHermanos

    LosPollosHermanos Houston only fan
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    what would finding out who would object to your r****ded ass comment accomplish?!?!?!
     
    2 people like this.
  12. AroundTheWorld

    AroundTheWorld Insufferable 98er
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    So it's

    1) a private association
    2) of Christian schools
    3) that was specifically established to coordinate sports among Christian schools.

    I wonder how it would be if a Christian school tried to become a member here:

    http://www.theisla.org/staticpages/index.php/Membership#
     
  13. trustme

    trustme Member

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    Then why do they accept Jewish schools?

    TAPPS seems to be more of a sports oriented organization whereas ISLA is meant for Islamic education. Would Christian schools even want to become a member of it?
     
  14. AroundTheWorld

    AroundTheWorld Insufferable 98er
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    Maybe some Christian school should test it out so they can whine to the media afterwards about not being let in? Seems like this might have been the plan of that Islamic school from the beginning? Good thing the association was cautious.
     
  15. SamFisher

    SamFisher Contributing Member

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    Uhhhh....no. This is not why TAPPS was formed. It's arguably why TCIL was formed, but Kinkaid has been playing in TAPPS for as long as I can remember and they have no religious affiliation. I'm pretty sure Awty is also in TAPPS, and probably other non-religious private schools too (there's a couple in Dallas, I think Dallas St. Marks which, oddly enough, has no religious affiliation despite the name)....so you're basically just dead flat 100% embarrassingly wrong with 2 and 3 above.

    Do you even know what TAPPS/TCIL are and why they exist(ed)? You probably need to figure this out before you try to troll with it because you just end up looking like a complete idiot. See above.
     
    #15 SamFisher, Mar 6, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
  16. AroundTheWorld

    AroundTheWorld Insufferable 98er
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    I'll trust the New York Times article over your claims, even though you seem to be quite hysterical about making them. Maybe you should just figure out how to read the OP before you, once again, look like a complete idiot.

    New York Times (article in the OP) says:

     
  17. Mathloom

    Mathloom Shameless Optimist
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    It's a private association, IMO let them ask what they want, and leave it up to the applicant to decide whether to join or not based on those questions.

    If I was part of this association, I would be annoyed as heck that this is the best way the association knows to assure itself of appropriate applicants. What a bunch of jokers, they have totally failed the people they are representing, I hope that's clear to the schools. I also hope those people are embarrassed, but I guess I wouldn't be too surprised if they were on board with this.
     
  18. Ender00

    Ender00 Member

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    I was taught that Islam, when possible do not want to mix or solcialize with the non- beliver.
     
  19. Mr. Brightside

    Mr. Brightside Contributing Member

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    Ey up, you unbelieving kuffar bastards.

    If someone call tell me where this wonderful quote is from, I will provide poundage of rep.
     
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  20. Mathloom

    Mathloom Shameless Optimist
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    Duh.

    Non-believers are mischievous, if you surround yourself with them, they will have an effect on *gasp* your own faith in God!!

    See for yourself:

    http://ahadith.co.uk/

    Go there. Click on "Sahih Bukhari" >> which is considered the most "accurate" account of stories regarding the Prophet. Chapter 2 is "Belief". What you'll find is a bunch of short passages which are accounts of people who recall things about the Prophet and that time. This book was compiled one century after the Prophet passed away and sometimes contains varying accounts of the same story.

    My personal opinion is that the person who compiled this book, Bukhari, was intending to present what he heard independently without adding any bias to it, whether contradictory or not. IMO it's just a record book of things people knew or thought they knew about the Prophet, and biographies of those narrators, nothing more nothing less.

    Ofcourse, this book is interpreted in various ways. Just within the Sunni branch of Islam, there are I think 4 schools of thought/interpretation. Shiites don't follow these hadiths, they have their own, though it is probably 50% identical.

    Good thing there's technology these days for you to see things for yourself rather than have to listen to other people's opinions (including mine). I think you'll find there are some pretty scary things in the hadith, but a lot of Muslims you'll encounter will not follow the hadith. If you see how much stuff there is to follow, you'll understand why.

    Good luck, enjoy.
     

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