Earlier this week, I mentioned how a high school in Lombard, IL decided to have an anti gun speaker come to an 11th grade English class, while simultaneously deciding to exclude anyone from the pro gun rights side. Thanks to your emails and phone calls to the school expressing disagreement with this planned anti gun indoctrination session, the school has decided to cancel the anti gun speaker:
I received an email and comment from the teacher of the English class, stating that the school had asked her to cancel the anti gun speaker from the Million Mom March after receiving numerous complaints. A reader of this website, who emailed the teacher herself, also received an email from the teacher stating that the impending anti gun indoctrination session had been canceled. I would really like to thank everyone who helped prevent these soon-to-be voters from being exposed to anti gun propaganda without the opportunity for a pro gun rights speaker to tell the other side. I would have preferred that the school simply allow the pro gun rights speaker to appear as well, so that both sides of the argument could be heard by the students, but I’m still satisfied with this outcome.
Per the teacher’s request, I have removed her email address and phone number from the previous article. I’ve decided to leave the school’s contact information up, but made a note in that article that the situation had been resolved, and linked to this article. I took this approach in order to respect the wishes of the teacher as best as I can without re-writing history.
In her last email to me, the teacher also raised a couple of points that I would like to take a moment to address here:
[I]n your Disclaimer and TOS, you state that you would not allow for any personal attacks yet I cannot help but feel like that is what you are doing. As it is your right to speak up against the issue it is my right, especially as a teacher, to expose my students to as much of the world as I can. I do not see it as fair to deny them the opportunity to speak with the anti gun speaker. This would be a great experience for them and to deny it would be the same as the school denying the pro rights speaker.
I stand by my dislike of personal attacks, and don’t see my previous article on this issue as a personal attack. Instead, my problem was with the school’s decision to allow only the anti gun speaker. As I stated to the teacher by email, and in that previous article, “I would like to stress that my above comments are not a criticism of you. Your original idea to have representative from both sides speak was an excellent and commendable idea. However the idea, as modified by your school, really removes the educational value and replaces it with a situation where there is really only uncontested indoctrination occurring.” Also, note that when I suggested that concerned readers of this website contact the school and voice their opinion, I urged politeness. To be clear, I harbor no animosity towards the teacher, and I hope that the feeling is mutual.
[W]e are a private Islamic school where religion comes first above all other things and Islam is a religion that promotes peace and anti violence (which may seem contradictory to what most media broadcasts would have you believe). In our religion we are to teach our children the importance of peace and dialogue. . . some parents believe that talking about the pro side of the gun issue may promote violence
Islam is indeed a religion of peace, as are pretty much all religions. I’ve have Muslim friends throughout grade school, high school, college, and law school, as well as Muslim coworkers. They were just as kind, decent, peace loving, and all around good as people of every other religion. This should all be quite obvious, as a person’s religion does not make them any better or worse than any other person. Those who assume that Muslims are violent people are simply racist idiots. As an African American, I understand this problem all to well. I have experienced racial profiling on the part of cops, and been treated like a criminal because of the color of my skin. We are in agreement about the problem of racism and unfair portrayals in the media.
I will concede that I am no expert when it comes to Isalm’s teaching. I was raised Catholic and am currently an atheist. I did take a course on Islamic Art in college, however the primary focus was art rather than religion. That said, a cursory search on the internet turns up resources that show Islam embraces self defense, just as Christianity and Judaism do. According to http://www.islamicity.com/mosque/uiatm/un_islam.htm “Like Christianity, Islam permits fighting in self-defense, in defense of religion, or on the part of those who have been expelled forcibly from their homes. It lays down strict rules of combat which include prohibitions against harming civilians and against destroying crops, trees and livestock. As Muslims see it, injustice would be triumphant in the world if good men were not prepared to risk their lives in a righteous cause. The Quran says: Fight in the cause of God against those who fight you, but do not transgress limits. God does not love transgressors. (2:190).”
Getting back to the teacher’s point about unfair portrayals of Muslims in the media, I would like to point out that hate crimes against Muslims in the USA have increased sharply over the last decade, as racist idiots take out their anger about 9/11 on innocent people who have done nothing wrong and bear no fault. To me, this sad situation reinforces the need for armed self defense, as unarmed hate crime victims are often killed or seriously harmed, while armed hate crime victims are in the best position to defend themselves. I certainly hope that one day this world is free of racially motivated violence – but until that day comes, I believe that self defense is especially important for members of minority groups that are most likely to suffer attack by racists.
As I’ve discussed in other articles, gun ownership is not the mark of a person who wishes for violence, but of a person who wishes to be prepared to defend themselves and their loved ones if a violent attacker leaves them no other choice. Again, I’m not expert on the teachings of Islam, I but I’m pretty sure that defending yourself and your family against wrongdoers who attack is not something that the religion would frown upon. I’m also confident that Islam doesn’t teach that a father should have to stand by helplessly as his daughter is raped, or that a husband must watch helplessly as his wife is beaten by a criminal – but that is what happens when the good members of society are unarmed and defenseless. On the other hand, armed citizens are often able to protect themselves, and their loved ones from such violent criminals.