Supremes deny cert on Cali public school’s Islam immersion course

posted at 6:05 pm on October 4, 2006 by Allahpundit

I was all set to correct Charles on this but he’s already corrected himself. When the Court denies cert, i.e., refuses to hear an appeal, it doesn’t mean they agree with the lower court’s decision. It simply means they don’t want to deal with the issue right now.

They might very well take it up in the future, though — and you might be surprised how they rule. If you’re counting on Scalia and Thomas to torpedo a public school’s Islamic play-acting class, you’re not thinking very strategically. Cases like this present Christians with a golden opportunity to introduce elements of religious teaching back into the state curriculum by using the left’s double standard towards Islam against it. Now that this case is on the books in the Ninth Circuit as precedent, expect Christian immersion classes to follow.

I actually think the course is (barely) constitutional. Jeff Goldstein and I debated it a bit last winter in the context of the pledge of allegiance case. If you care, my comment about it is here.

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In an age when the Supremes have knocked down any form of verbal prayer (such as that offered voluntarily and without school endorsement at baccalaureate ceremonies), I don’t see how this can possibly be constitutional. Students are required to pray to a god they likely don’t believe in and to engage in other spiritual disciplines by the legal authorities (i.e., the school). This goes way beyond what normally gets lefties into a frenzy crying “THEOCRACY! THEOCRACY!” I can’t even begin to guess how the Ninth Circuit–the people who struck down use of “one nation under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance–managed to talk themselves into going along with this.

It’s also the kind of case that would normally draw the ACLU like a moth to light, but they were amazingly absent from this one (the suit was brought by the Thomas More Center instead). I wonder how the church-state separation absolutists justified to themselves not being a party to this suit.

Finally, I’m afraid I can’t agree that the next step is Christian immersion classes, if for no other reason than that the aggressively anti-Christian NEA would go absolutely ape if any school system tried to introduce such a course.

Athanasius on October 4, 2006 at 6:27 PM

I was all set to correct you, but you accurately portrayed the facts.

Kevin M on October 4, 2006 at 6:35 PM

My understanind is that, under the tenets of Islam, once you say the words, “there is no god but Allah, and Mo is his prophet,” you automatically become Muslim.

Therefore, the program, which surely includes reciting this words as part of their multi-cult conditioning, amounts to no less than State sponsored and compelled conversion to Islam.

Technically speaking, that is. Seems like it might sort of kind of be a violation of the First Amendment.

here it is, via wiki:


The shahadah (شهادة (help·info) translit: Shahādah) (Turkish: Şehadet) is the Islamic creed. In Arabic it means “to testify” or “to bear witness”. The shahadah is the declaration of belief in the oneness of God (Allah in Arabic) and in Prophet Muhammad as his last messenger. Recitation of the shahadah is considered one of the Five Pillars of Islam by Sunni Muslims.
Arabic text:
لآ اِلَـهَ اِلاَّ لله محمد رسول الله
lā ilāha illā llāhu; muḥammadun rasūlu llāhi
English translations:
There is no god (ilah) but God (Allah); Muhammad is His messenger/ spokesman.

A single honest recitation of the shahādah in Arabic, in front of two Muslim witnesses, is all that is required for a person to become a Muslim according to most traditional schools.

and from…
Shahada is not only a testimony of ones belief, but also a legal testimony.

wordwarp on October 4, 2006 at 6:39 PM

Wordwarp, and if the student then denies that he’s a muslim, he then becomes an apostate. The punishment for which is death.

My daughter will be going to private school, I will work as much as I can to make enough money for the tuition. The FAA allows me to work 6 days a week and I already do that, but I will mow lawns, walk dogs and run a paper route on the 7th day if that’s what it takes to avoid sending her to public school. My daughter will NEVER wear a burka!

Tony737 on October 4, 2006 at 7:25 PM

I look at this case, and then I think of Kelo, which at least shows that we have to distinguish carefully between permission and obligation. The Supreme Court told state and local governments, “Hell, yeah, you can use eminent domain to take property from a private person and give it to another private person!” (I quote Souter’s decision from memory.) And before you could say “stare decisis,” state legislatures all over were moving to lay down limits in law.

Kralizec on October 4, 2006 at 8:24 PM

Well Allah, I’m singing out of the same hymnal with you here. Had the same thought. Now the Christians should into a course the same way the Islamo was done. Right On. Right On. Right On. Rightttttttttttt Onnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!

auspatriotman on October 5, 2006 at 1:37 AM

AP, auspatriotman:

Where in the name of the everliving G-d are you going to find a California public school teacher who is going to exploit the 9th Circuit decision with a Christian immersion class?!


Jaibones on October 5, 2006 at 9:40 AM


the gig is that the person has to make that statement, three times in front of two muslim witnesses and mean it.

Just making the statement doesn’t automatically make one a muslim.

yo on October 5, 2006 at 11:55 AM


No, you’ve got it wrong. The “three times” thing is for divorce. They have to say “I divorce you” three times in front of two witnesses. Read the wiki and lexicorient entries. Once is enough for conversion, and there’s nothing there about “meaning it.”

wordwarp on October 5, 2006 at 1:08 PM


k – you may have me on the three times, gig (though, don’t you have to stomp on a glass? Heh .. .kidding); but the gig about meaning it, is rock solid. Even your wiki quote mentions “honest recitation.”

In short, muslims won’t let you join up all willy-nilly, and I seriously doubt that a school kid will *oops* accidentally become a muslim in school.

yo on October 5, 2006 at 3:09 PM

wordwarp, Islam is not like cooties. Or “Candyman”, or some playground game. It’s not like saying “Abracadabra” and *poof* you’re a Muslim. It only means if you want to become a Muslim, that’s what you say.

The wiki you linked even mentions you have to do it with understanding and sincerity. Had you bothered to read it.

dorkafork on October 5, 2006 at 5:15 PM

yeah, dorkafork, Islam is not like cooties. It’s more like cancer.

And the way things are going, it’s going to end in radiation therapy.

wordwarp on October 11, 2006 at 2:19 AM