Attacks on Muslim class speaker unnecessary
SteinbrennerHigh Schoolteacher KellyMilizianoreceived more than a mere parentcomplaint when she invited a Muslim speaker to visit her class.
The history teacher is now facing a battle with DavidCaton'sFlorida Family Association (FFA) after having HassanShibly, executive director of the Council on Islamic-American Relations, speak to her students, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
This is not the first timeCatonhas been at the center of acontroversy involving anti-Muslimsentiment. He was behind a December campaign against TLC's series "All-American Muslim" that successfully got Lowe's Home Improvement and othercompanies to drop advertising from the television show.
As with the "All-American Muslim" situation,Caton'sactions demonstrate a still-lingering strand of anti-Muslim beliefs.Catondemanded to the Hillsborough County School Board (HCSB) thatMilizianoeither stop invitingShiblyto speak, according to the Times, or give equal time for Christian speakers to dispute his perspective.
To see how unreasonable this notion is, imagine if every Muslim scholar and professor at USF was forced to give equal time tosomeone of another sect - or if any type of scholar and professor had to provide equal space for a different viewpoint to denounce them.
Milizianohad also invitedspeakers of many different religious affiliations, including Christianity, to speak to her class, according to the Times. The goal of her class speakers seemed to promote diversity - something students will encounter as they continue their education.
AsHCSBchairwoman Candy Olson said to the Times: "Our kids need to understand a lot ofdifferent perspectives. They're going to have to deal witheverybody in the world, and they can't just be afraid of them because they don't know them."
Still,Catonseems to believe that Muslims solely come in the radical variety. He may beequating the Islamic communityas a whole with certain violent Muslim individuals such as SamiOsmakac, who was arrested Monday and charged with plotting to attack Tampa locations with bombs and other weapons.
Yet, according to the Associated Press,Shiblywas among those disturbed byOsmakac'sbeliefs, and told concerned members of the Muslim community toimmediately notify the police about him.
This makesCaton'scomments even more offensive.Shiblyis not just far from a radical Muslim, but he actually aided in bringing a legitimate violent radical to the authorities' attention.
Every belief will have a few radical followers. Nonetheless, religion has shaped the world into what it is today, and a history teacher would not be doing their job if they did not expose others to those lessons. Education thrives on diversity, and individuals such asCatonand theFFAcannot bully others into one sole belief.
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