But this level of devotion to Islam has a way of causing suspicion these days. While parents whose children are in the schools said they were proud of them, they also worry about how they will be perceived.How they will be perceived? This isn't a matter of stimulating the supposed ethnic prejudice of Americans, it's blatantly violating the laws of compulsory schooling!
The young boys are taught that if they memorize the entire Koran, they will gain admittance to heaven and the right to choose 10 persons to bring along with them. If believed, this is a powerful incentive. There is a sense that the entire family is relying on him. Meanwhile, these boys -- who must be quite smart to have a shot at memorizing the 6,200 verses -- are deprived of all other education, including instruction in Arabic, the language of the text they are memorizing phonetically. (Nor are they provided with a translation: they are learning only to pronounce sounds.)
By not offering instruction in other subjects, the school may be inadvertently running afoul of state law, according to city and state education officials. Private religious schools like the Muslim Center’s program are required to provide “substantially equivalent” instruction to that offered in public schools, they said. But tracking every school-age child who leaves the public school system can be difficult.Inadvertently? Inadvertently?! And how "difficult" can it be to detect schools that are completely out of line?
Several parents said they were not worried about their children falling behind because they are smart enough to make up the academic work. Some students from the class have, in fact, gone on to the city’s best high schools, parents and school officials said.I love that "nevertheless," as if it is just fine to subject a young child to 9 hours of rote memorization a day as long as "some" of them can make it to the best high schools. Presumably, those who do are unusually intelligent and have also spent their evenings doing remedial work in language and math.
Nevertheless, next year, the school plans to introduce two hours of instruction in math, science, English and social studies, said Mohammad Tariq Sherwani, director of the Muslim Center. The additional classes mean it will take longer for students to finish memorizing. “But it is worth it,” he said.
At what point do you stop romanticizing another culture and start to see child abuse and plain violations of compulsory schooling laws? Surely, a Christian private school that dispensed with academic study (or threw in two hours) would catch hell.
[The mother of one of the students] confessed that she sometimes questioned whether she was doing the right thing with her son, fretting that Thaha, who would have been entering the sixth grade this year if he had stayed in regular school, does not know his multiplication tables, for example.No. The beauty and freedom of this country does not include the right to deprive children of schooling.
But the beauty of this country, Mrs. Sherwani said, is that her son is free to have it both ways, to be steeped in Islam and be whatever he wants.