Attacks on Muslim class speaker unnecessary
Published: Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 11:01
Steinbrenner High School teacher Kelly Miliziano received more than a mere parent complaint when she invited a Muslim speaker to visit her class.
The history teacher is now facing a battle with David Caton's Florida Family Association (FFA) after having Hassan Shibly, executive director of the Council on Islamic-American Relations, speak to her students, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
This is not the first time Caton has been at the center of a controversy involving anti-Muslim sentiment. He was behind a December campaign against TLC's series "All-American Muslim" that successfully got Lowe's Home Improvement and other companies to drop advertising from the television show.
As with the "All-American Muslim" situation, Caton's actions demonstrate a still-lingering strand of anti-Muslim beliefs.Caton demanded to the Hillsborough County School Board (HCSB) that Miliziano either stop inviting Shibly to 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 to someone of another sect — or if any type of scholar and professor had to provide equal space for a different viewpoint to denounce them.
Miliziano had also invited speakers 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.
As HCSB chairwoman Candy Olson said to the Times: "Our kids need to understand a lot of different perspectives. They're going to have to deal with everybody in the world, and they can't just be afraid of them because they don't know them."