Day of Silence is April 16th – Muslims Speak Up

By Hena Zuberi

The Day of Silence, which is sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), fast approaches. This year it will take place in most public schools on April 16, 2010. On this day, “hundreds of thousands” of students plan on participating (Day of Silence website) in thousands of public high schools and increasing numbers of middle schools, which will allow students to remain silent throughout an entire day even during instructional time to promote GLSEN’s socio-political goals and its controversial, unproven, and destructive theories on the nature and morality of homosexuality. (American Family Association) GLSEN’s stance is against bullying of gay students and the silence they suffer not an all encompassing ‘bullying’ that is inclusive of students who suffer because they are called terrorist, refugee scum, or wog.

Elementary schools are next. In East London, to celebrate Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender History Month, primary school students watched a special adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet renamed Romeo and Julian. Stories covered in the lessons at George Tomlinson School included a fairytale about a prince who turns down three princesses before falling in love with one of their brothers and the tale of Roy and Silo – two male penguins who fall in love. (Guardian)

We as parents cannot remain passive about this. Even if you are not a parent and especially if you are a youth group leader, you need to make the parents in your life aware of this issue. Many parents are not aware of this movement or think that it will not affect their child. This lax attitude leads to us holding our heads when it is too late.

I’ll tell you how this attitude personally affected me. I attended an all-women liberal arts college in Wellesley, Massachusetts. During our first year orientation, we gathered in the common room where mats were laid out of us. A senior from the Gay and Lesbian Association (GALA) asked us to lie down on the mat and close our eyes. Scared to death, at 17 fresh off the plane from Lahore, Pakistan, I had no clue what they expected from us. It wasn’t anything promiscuous, God forbid. They just asked us to close our eyes and imagine a world where daddies were only married to daddies and mommies were married to mommies and if I was a little girl in that world, who liked the little boy across the street but I couldn’t because mommies could only marry mommies. Very innocent, the words.

Those words stuck with me and I still remember them after 17 years. “Once you have the vocabulary to talk with young children about homosexuality, it becomes very easy,” says Dr. Justin Richardson, a Harvard-educated psychiatrist and director of Columbia University’s Center for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Mental Health. Richardson says educators need to aid the pre-homosexual child with a supportive school environment, paving the way for his later coming out. He claims that a child’s sexual orientation is determined very early in life around four years of age, so why not prepare the pre-homosexual child for the inevitable? This quote by Dr. Richardson came from a talk he delivered ten years ago at a teachers’ conference. This agenda is at work in our public school system and the fitnah has created is real.

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Also in my student orientation, I heard a young, black woman talk about her life as a poor, black, gay teenager. I met many intelligent women who were kind and gentle and gay. I remember being admonished by several housemates for thinking that homosexuality was a mental abnormality akin to physical abnormalities. I was figuratively ‘hypnotised’ into believing that it was natural for 10% of the human race to be homosexual believing that they could not control themselves. That December, when I went to visit my parents over winter break, my sister snapped me out of my brainwashed state. She said ‘Apa! Listen to yourself.’

In psychology, the study of brainwashing, often referred to as thought reform, falls into the sphere of “social influence.” According to Julia Layton, author of How Brainwashing Works, “social influence happens every minute of every day. It’s the collection of ways in which people can change other people’s attitudes, beliefs and behaviors. For instance, the compliance method aims to produce a change in a person’s behavior and is not concerned with his attitudes or beliefs. It’s the “Just do it” approach. Persuasion, on the other hand, aims for a change in attitude, or “Do it because it’ll make you feel accepted/good/happy/healthy/successful.”

The education method (which is called the “propaganda method” when you don’t believe in what’s being taught) goes for the social-influence goal, trying to affect a change in the person’s beliefs, along the
lines of “Do it because you know it’s the right thing to do.” Brainwashing is a severe form of social influence that combines all of these approaches to cause changes in an individual’s way of thinking without that person’s consent and often against his will.

I was 17; away from home but brimming with the confidence that children raised in a Muslim country exude. Now, imagine your middle schooler or your teen. Her politically correct classmates surround her; she doesn’t know what to say when her best honor society buddy starts exhibiting ‘homosexual’ traits. Imagine being a student whose religion teaches her that homosexuality is a sin being in that environment. Being judged by their peers because they did not remain silent in support. If you disagree with homosexuality you are called a bigot or a homophobe. Imagine your teachers and mentors who instruct you from 8 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon, framing their lessons around Day of Silence. The adolescent culture is liberal, and adolescents desire to fit in. The vast majority of conservative teens does not feel comfortable vocally opposing their culture and will not do so. We as adults, often don’t have the guts to speak up against homosexuality, let alone teenagers.

Alan Chambers, a gay man that has overcome unwanted homosexual desires, started a family, and is the author of Leaving Homosexuality says: “The Day of Silence leads to a slanted discussion about homosexuality…because students are being bombarded from every side on the issue of homosexuality…seemingly the only voices that are allowed or respected in the public school system are those from a pro-gay side. It’s important for everyone to have a voice on this issue and for every opinion to be expressed. If one side is going to be expressed, then the other should be as well.”

As a Muslim, I sympathize with others who suffer discrimination and denounce any violence in the name of ‘disapproval’ but agree with following stance:

“Day of Silence participants claim they seek to end discrimination. There is, however, a problem with the way “discrimination” is defined in public discourse today. Groups like GLSEN believe that statements of moral conviction with which they disagree constitute prejudice or discrimination. While relentlessly promoting this view, administrators are never asked to provide evidence for the dubious presuppositions on which such claims of discrimination are based. They are never asked to provide evidence for the arguable claim that homosexuality is equivalent to race; or that disapproval of homosexual conduct is equivalent to racism; or that homosexual impulses are biologically determined; or that the presence of biological influences in shaping desire renders a behavior automatically moral. Parents should demand justification for those claims. If we allow schools to define discrimination so expansively as to prohibit all statements of moral conviction, character development will be compromised and freedom of speech rights will be trampled. And if administrators continue to define discrimination in such a way as to preclude only some statements of moral conviction, they violate their pedagogical commitment to intellectual diversity and render the classroom a place of indoctrination.”

Think of your 15-year-old cousin, who can’t have girlfriend because it is against our deen that is teased at school, called a pansy and wonders whether he is. We need to talk about this and tell our children that Allah loves them and if they are having these feelings then they need spiritual help. Not shun them and turn them over to the wolves, force them out of the folds of Islam. I am not suggesting someone can ‘turn’ your kid gay or not. That is not my concern here.

Some parents worry that taking a stance will adversely affect their children’s grades. What kind of Muslims are we raising? “Cowardly conformists” or those who follow the footsteps of the Sahabah? We need
to teach them to stand up for their beliefs even if they have to sacrifice something. If the teacher does punish them in some way this is unethical and the parents should take it to the school administration. “O you who believe! Ward off from yourselves and your families a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who disobey not, (from executing) the commands they receive from Allah, but do that which they are commanded.” [Quran At-Tahrim 66:6]

Most of the following material is from a website sponsored by Pro-Family groups calling for national support for Day of Silence Walkout. (www.doswalkout.net) Unfortunately Muslim organizations, media
groups and masjids have shied away from supporting this cause. So spread the word on your masjid lists, Muslim websites, etc.

Parents must actively oppose this hijacking of the classroom for political purposes. You can help de-politicize the learning environment, which is paid for by our tax dollars, by calling your child out of school if your child’s school allows students to remain silent during instructional time on the Day of Silence. Brother Kevin Johnson asks, “Why would we want sexual orientation of any type to be taught to our young children? Isn’t that something that is personal and should be dealt with at home by the parents whenever they see fit? After all, the school system’s job is to educate children, not to raise them, that’s the job of the parent.”

If students will be permitted to remain silent, parents can express their opposition most effectively by removing their children from schools on the Day of Silence and sending letters of explanation to their administrators, their children’s teachers, and all school board members. One reason this is effective is that most school districts lose money for each student absence. School administrators err when they allow the classroom to be disrupted and politicized by granting students permission to remain silent throughout an entire day.

Day of Silence – What Should Parents Do?

1. Call your local schools and ask whether they permit students or teachers to remain silent in the classroom on the “Day of Silence.” IMPORTANT: Do not ask any administrator, school board member, or teacher if the school sponsors, endorses, or supports DOS. Schools do not technically sponsor the Day of Silence. Technically, it is students, often students in the gay-straight alliance, who sponsor it. Many administrators will tell you that they do not sponsor the DOS when, in fact, they do permit students and sometimes even teachers to remain silent during instructional time. Also ask administrators whether they permit teachers to create lesson plans to accommodate student silence.

2. Find out what date the event is planned for your school. (The national date in 2010 is April 16, but some schools observe DOS on a different date).

3. Inform the school of your intention to keep your children home on that date and explain why. Download the sample letter from lordsfavor.wordpress.com or from doswalkout.net

4. Explain to your children why you’re taking a stand:

a. What does Islam say about homosexuality.

b. No matter what factors may influence homosexual feelings, freely chosen homosexual behavior is immoral and should be resisted.

c. Homosexuality is not equivalent to race.

d. Disapproval of homosexuality is not equivalent to racism; nor is it hatred; nor is it bullying; nor does it constitute an incitement to violence. It is permissible and ethical to express disapproval of homosexuality. Just because someone may feel bad when hearing that someone disapproves of homosexuality does not mean that disapproval is cruel or wrong.

e. No school should support a view of homosexuality that is unproven and controversial, and that is physically, emotionally, and spiritually destructive to individuals and society.

f. No school should allow instructional time to be politicized.

g. Reiterate that the kids be civil or kind to anyone who exhibits homosexual behavior and make sincere dua for them. It is against the Muslim manners to participate in bullying or calling anyone names that hurt.

50 / View Comments

50 responses to “Day of Silence is April 16th – Muslims Speak Up”

  1. Saadullah says:

    Interesting read, I would like to learn more about what Islam has to say about homosexuality.

  2. Dawud Israel says:

    Most priests give respect to Muslims for being up front and frank about homosexuality. Much respect sister. Keep at it! *fist bump*

    Islam emphasizes agency, homosexuality is not something they are purportedly powerless against. The case of biological determinism on homosexuality is FAR from solid. Conformity is NOT what these socially conscious campaigns should be directed towards. Shoving this stuff down our throats is awful They need to preserve the option to choose tradition over the endless experiments they have going on.

    In some Canadian universities, the funding for LGBTQ2 (no idea what those stand for) goes towards purchasing sex-toys…believe it or not.

  3. fatima says:

    kudos to you for saying something about this. thank you! I agree with the points you make on how we often overlook the need to voice our disapproval out of fear of being labeled as discriminatory, as haters and as bigots. I feel that this speaks volumes of how we’re being brainwashed into accepting this as a norm, that the sin that caused Allah to eradicate the people of Sodom from the earth is really not that big of a deal at all, and that anyone who thinks otherwise is an intolerant villain. It truly is a sign of the times, and in today’s society where messages that homosexuality is okay are pummeled into our faces, it is so important that we don’t lose sight of the truth and properly educate our children about Islam’s stance on this. Thank you again for writing this and for sharing your thoughts, JazakAllah Khayr!

  4. Umm Bilqis says:

    Parents should withdraw their children from these brain washing institutions and either support Private Islamic schools or homeschool which is inexpensive.
    Read John Taylor Gatto for a better understanding of public Schools:

    http://www.edflix.org/gatto.htm

    Step One:
    Hizb shaitan decries the imposition of morality.
    Step two:
    Hizb shaitan promotes the imposition of immorality.

    • Yaqeen needed says:

      Great way to put it

      Desensitization. Parents will be queried on the Day of Judgment as regards their children. Lets be prepared

      Period.

    • Ummezaynub says:

      I agree that would be the ideal situation Umm Bilquis, but the reality is that majority of Muslims kids attend public schools. 100% of my youth group kids attend public schools and this is what prompted me to write this. One of my students says
      “I know my school participates this day and wasn’t really sure how to show that I was “against” it”

      Look at how LGB are everywhere, in TV shows, in stores, very in your face. Its not ‘unacceptable’ anymore. The image of a gay woman has changed in the past few years from manly looking woman to gorgeous starlets. These kids idolize Lindsay Lohan and Angelina Jolie who proudly claim their homo/bi sexuality. They think- if its acceptable for them then there must be nothing wrong with it. We need to equip our youth with knowledge, with techniques to counter them. Parents need to get involved in the schools and make sure our voice is heard.

      • Umm Bilqis says:

        Umme Zaynab,
        Assalamu alikum,
        I agree with you, however the solution can be a 3 pronged approach,
        1)Equip the kids on how to handle these issues.
        2)Have the parents begin to join like minded parents (including those with faiths that do not want this issue foisted on their children) in order to voice their concerns and put a stop to this particular program.
        3) Have a somewhat longer term focus on educating the Muslim community about the homeschool option and about supporting/promoting affordable private schools.
        The final solution and the best in my opinion is hijrah( For those who are able to) because after studying these problems I came to the understanding that not only are these problems not going away but with time they will get worst unfortunately.
        Thanks to a concerted attack on principles and the promotion of situational ethics and a morality that is relative.
        I believe it is imperative for the community to mobilize and discuss these issues especially for those who have no option but to stay in the west.
        As “Yaqeen needed” highlighted this is only one of the issues confronting those who attend Public schools.
        By the way, John Taylor Gatto’s book is called the.” Underground History of American Education”, and it explains the history and reasons for the formation of the Public school system in the U.S . More importantly, the problems that confront those who wish to reform Public Schools.
        He concludes that reforming that system is close to impossible.
        John Taylor Gatto is a long term ex-teacher and winner of awards of excellence in teaching.
        If you ever get a chance, please read this book it is available at his website for free.

        http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/chapters/

        • Ummezaynub says:

          Thanks for posting that Umm Bilquis- I have read some of his work in ‘Educating your child in Modern Times’ with Hamza Yousuf & Dorothy Sayers.

          Homeschooling frightens people; they start thinking extremist, on the fringes of society, hippies, loony. I am just plain scared that I won’t be the best teacher for my children.
          Will I be organized enough? My husband is concerned that our kids won’t be able to compete with kids attending schools. Both of us attended top notched colleges, so he expects that from our children.

          InshaAllah, I plan to take a baby step, I’m going to start my eldest next year- I can’t swim until I step into the water. I spend 2-3 hours with her going over homework, tests, stuff she didn’t ‘get’ in a class filled with 32 kids. So I might as well make the commitment and get her out of the system.

          At least a million American home school their kids. Its not common knowledge that ‘accomplished’ people like Sally Ride & Sandra Day O’ Connor were home schooled. Not that these are my role models but it may sway some: Will Smith and John Travolta home school their kids.

          • Umm Bilqis says:

            Assalamu alikum Umme Zaynab, I am sorry I just saw this comment.
            Masha’Allah congratulations,
            Remember you can also use tutors if you are tired or not so confident in some subjects.
            P.S In addition, there are some really good homeschool materials available .

          • Umm Bilqis says:

            Assalamu aliakum, Sister Ummezaynub, I just saw your comment.
            Masha’Allah Congratulations.
            Homeschooling is a wonderful adventure, make sure you have some kind of support network.
            Check out if you have any Muslim homeschoolers in our area. For field trip purposes .
            Also check if any of your muslim neighbours or those who go to the masjid are able to teach one subject to your kids whilst you teach another to theirs. The kids will have their hands full, and will enjoy the companionship.
            If you are tired or not quite confident in a subject you can get a tutor.
            Some of the books that homeschoolers use are much better than the materials used in public schools.
            Also, check out if your Imaam can hold classes for homeschoolers 2 times a week during the day Seerah, Quran and Arabic.

  5. bint amin says:

    Salaam

    The brainwashing part is soo true. I went to a girls secondary school and I remember in my first year – the stance towards lesbians- they were bullied and hated. They were classified as wierd and in P.E the girls would be cautious whilst getting changed. However when it got to my final year (6 yrs later) in the same school, the position had changed- a lot more people admitted they were lesbians/bisexuals and in general people stopped speaking out against them and became more sympathetic.

    I still remember clearly a bisexual friend of mine said to me “I wish I wasn’t this way, but I was born like this!” She was one of the popular bisexuals and it was because of her popularity a lot of others “came out of the closet”

    Even now when contacting an old friend from school, she always updates me on all the girls who have become lesbians! And one of them was the girl who used to make fun of the other lesbians!

    So definitely attitude has changed, and the shocking thing is that its changing so fast. This is definitely going to be an issue for our future children and we shouldn’t turn a blind eye to it.

    • SA says:

      So true!!Growing up in the Middle East I didn’t even know gays and lesbians existed.But then I moved to North America and well it was an eye opener.The weirdest part was seeing some of my “very Muslim” friends who were brought up here saying a person is born gay/lesbian.

      I hope someone on MuslimMatters writes an article on how one should deal with a child who is gay/lesbian and how we as Muslims should communicate/acknowledge a gay/lesbian.

  6. […] compared to today, however, i wish the kids were like that now.  here’s the link => Day of Silence .  and an […]

  7. Sally says:

    Great article! I was surprised to find more individuals of this orientation in my incoming class than Muslims in the entire school. I treat everyone with respect and mind my own business. If anyone asked me though, i would be quick to explain Islam’s position on homosexuality. I have noticed the omnipresent emotional appeal of the LGBT through these campaigns and the “we have rights too.” May Allah protect us. Individually it is crucial to educate young muslims about sexuality and Islam’s stance on forbidding evil and promoting good.

    • Ummezaynub says:

      Talk to the teens you know- esp if you are daiee. Doesn’t have to be a formal teaching setting, anywhere, family gatherings, iftars, parties etc. Some times they get so turned off or become in awe of our hijabs and beards, they think we will judge them. But they need to connect you never know when you will affect them.
      We survived Prop 8 here in California- the kids couldn’t understand why we didn’t think its ok. An open dialogue dispelled so many misconceptions. So when your kids come home today and they did attend school- TALK to them about this, its an opportune time. Ask them why were people wearing duct tape, what they felt like when people were quiet in the hallway? Discuss Nuh (AS) struggle with them. May Allah help us.

  8. Yousuf says:

    Masha Allah, Nicely expressed. Amr bil maaruf and nahi an-il munkar. I used to think that if I would just do the good and not forbid against evil, I would be ok. But I realize that not forbidding the evil would slowly have an effect on me and make it acceptable to me.

    Jazak Allahu khair for this reminder.

  9. mama A to Z says:

    good stuff– masjids shy away from this because people don’t want to mention the word “gay” or “homosexual” (towba, towba, towba….) it’s easier to pretend like these issues don’t exist. I think more and more people are having wavering thoughts or confused ideas about this and hesitate to condemn homosexuality openly.

    FYI, there’s a blog specifically for Muslims addressing the issue of acknowledging homosexuality as wrong and yet acknowledging that there are people struggling with their feelings who need help: http://gaymuslims.org.

  10. Sayf says:

    “To you your religion, and to me mine (109:6)”

    Without having to go into an elaborate discussion on the science behind this stuff (because I do believe there’s a ton of stuff that has to do with it that we’re missing i.e. sexual desensitization) I think we just simply need to inform people that such things are strictly contrary to our Deen. That way, you make sure people realize it is actually a religious idea being pushed. Of course, we are tolerant of others having different beliefs, but if they’re going to preach those beliefs in public schools, well that’s different. If they have the right to preach gayness is moral on one side of the classroom that would give me the right to preach the story of Lot (alayhi salam) on the other side.

  11. Yaqeen needed says:

    Another perspective – what are pros and cons of getting our children educated in these and other parts of the education system way out of muslim control?

    Does the education system ultimately make our children more Aljannah motivated? Or less
    Do the education system ultimately make our children avoid being Hell bound?
    Do the education system ultimately make our children and ourselves to be correct aqidah-insulated? Or aqidah-annihilated with a slow time release mechanism?
    Are there no alternatives though this may demand more sacrifices individually and collectively?

    The homosexuality is cool indoctrination process should be seen as just one of the evils that are nicely packaged and designed . If we succeed in avoiding this one evil, how about the others

    Remember we should save ourselves and children from the Fire fuelled by stones and guarded by stern uncompromising angels. These angels don’t and cannot sell out

  12. Abu Ibrahim says:

    I’m so glad I don’t live in NYC anymore. As much as I miss where I grew up, I’m sure this crazy “day of silence” would have been supported wholeheartedly in that liberal cesspool.

    This is just all the more reason to continue keeping my kids out of public school. Looks like we’ll be homeschooling for a while, Inshallah.

  13. MD Bro says:

    I’ll talk double

  14. I tend to think of myself as Islamically aware and educated, but I admit I have had some slight confusion on this issue. In reading your piece, I realize that I have suffered from some degree of brainwashing as well. So this was a real reality check. Thank you.

  15. Torq says:

    I am reminded of what the Prophet Lut (AS) said to his people:
    “Is there not among you a single upright man?” 11:78

    It is dumbfounding the number of people who accept this. The only reason this sickness has become somewhat accepted, or tolerated, is it has spread. The power of the “status quo”. But it is what it is, a psychological illness.

    Incest today is where homsexuality was 50 years ago. A few sporadic cases that make it on the news where people argue “there is nothing wrong with it” – and they had an operation so no kids would result.

    But all in all, it makes perfect sense. When you remove God from the picture, your morals will shift slowly but surely as the sand dunes of the desert. And you can always ask “why is this wrong?”. It is simply a matter of enough people approving before the mighty status quo sets the new right and wrong

  16. Saadullah says:

    Every religion, including Islam has changed to meet the needs of society and stood the test of time. Those factions that held on and refused to question themselves gradually faded into nonexistence. Society, culture, technology all evolve, and so does religion.

    There is an obvious myopia or bias on this forum, and I acknowledge and respect your belief. But I ask you this: before imposing these values onto others and judging them, did you had a look in the mirror? Do you really want the world to be a reflection of you?

    The fact of the matter is that homosexuals are people. They can not be denigrated and dehumanized JUST on the basis of their sexual orientation. Egalitarianism is the true spirit of the Quran, let us not forget that what we worship has been passed onto us by people.

    Islam will need to adopt, and WILL adopt.

    • Umm Bilqis says:

      The Godless, Secular order attempts to usurp Allah taala’s power and legislations.
      They corrupt everything from the seeds we eat to the minds and bodies of entire societies.
      The process of unravelling the social order is marching on.
      There is splendor and harmony in gender relations as promoted and preserved by the Quraan and the Sunnah.
      The corruptors can continue in their efforts to overturn the Social order.
      Alhamdullilah Islam will always preserve and stop this anarchy and disintegration of societies.

      • Saadullah says:

        With all due respect, Allah’s legislations have come into effect after the rationalization and deliberation of men. These pious men and Ulama have been the guiding forces in tough times when the Ummah is challenged but what we face now is a lack of leadership. Instead what we are doing is cornering ourselves and resisting while we could embrace the world for what it is. Secularism may not be the solution but Pluralism is, its the only way we can sustain ourselves from further conflict and loss of human lives. Live and let live.

      • Beautiful comment, Umm Bilqis.

    • Farah says:

      see. here you are right. islam needs to adapt, not adopt. i’m a teen. i can’t stand the whole gay lesbian thing. it is messed up, wrong, and it is most deffinitely a mental illness. but we can’t just become radicals and keep kids from going to public school and such. we need to inform kids about this issue. also inform schools on how it is almost as if they are messing with religion. we all know religion is a forbidden topic for schools to discuss, i believe that this is a smarter approach. or make one universal day to be silent not for just gay people (ugh.) but for all those who are oppressed and discriminated.

      • Umm Bilqis says:

        Dear Farah, it is not radical to withdraw children from public school.
        However we do have a right not to have someone elses morality or rather immorality foisted on our children.
        Our values and principles come from our religion, and schooling and education should not attempt to undermine or usurp this role.
        To reiterate, the security of the hearts of our children is as essential as the security of their bodies,if not more so.

    • Ummezaynub says:

      Salaams,
      Au contraire, Brother Saadullah. All nations have perished who have left Islam. I apologize if in any way I conveyed that I want all people to be a reflection of my flawed self.

      We vilify the act not out of hatred towards them but because Allah in His Majesty hates the act. You are right, they are human, the best of creation made by Allah to live as He wants us to. Read the struggles of so many Muslim brothers who are fighting against their nafs to stay within the commands of Allah in the link Mama A to Z posted, gaymuslims.org. Only Allah knows how much He loves them.

      What I am asking for the freedom to call a sin a sin. They are sinning just as we sin by lying or cheating. We have to believe that Allah is Rahman and can forgive anything except shirk as long as we repent.

      Tolerance does not mean support and , leave it to the parents to talk about it. If I can not say God’s name in my kids’ school- believe me their teachers remind me every time I am in their class, then why talk about sexual preference which is such a private topic. It is not the job of the school to raise our children. They try to equate to race- as one of my African American students said- “Its a choice, and all to often this choice seems to change for the kids around me every week. I can’t get up one morning and decide ‘hey! I feel like being black today”

  17. Ify Okoye says:

    It seems rather disingenuous to claim that schools are politicizing an issue or indoctrinating students simply because an idea which one may disagree with is being promoted. All schools (public, private, home) have a mission and core values statements/beliefs and if one does not agree with that mission statement or core values then one should not attend such institutions because obviously the school will seek to push that message through its curriculum onto its faculty and students.

    I grew up in a conservative community which had more liberal school districts and we always witnessed some back-and-forth between the two forces. Conservative Christian groups were able to get most popular radio stations banned from school buses and were always pushing for the school mascot to be changed from the “blue devil” and for creationism to be taught alongside evolution amongst other issues. I haven’t forgotten the huge placards of aborted fetuses some conservative protesters held up along the sidewalks as the school buses passed with elementary through high school students, although it wasn’t particularly good dawah on their part and turned most people off even if they agreed with their message.

    • Ummezaynub says:

      Wasalaam Ify,
      Are you saying that they shouldn’t have pushed for those reforms or they should have done it a
      more constructive way?

      Interesting feedback from kids in our youth group; those that attended public school with very large, affluent Jewish & Asian concentration accounted that there was not much support nor was there a big hoopla. But those that attended school in more homogeneous, less privileged neighborhoods said in some cases up to 90% of class time was used up.

      From sample call out letter:

      “The administration errs when it allows the classroom to be disrupted and politicized by granting students permission to remain silent throughout an entire day. The protesters have a captive audience, many of whom disagree with and are made uncomfortable by the politicization of their classroom. How many political protests will the school allow, and who decides which political issue will be permitted to disrupt the educational process?

      Day of Silence participants have a First Amendment right to wear t-shirts, and if other extracurricular clubs put up posters and set up tables from which to distribute materials, “gay-straight alliances” have that right also. The Day of Silence participants go further, however, by exploiting the instructional time of every student in every class for an entire day in the service of their philosophical beliefs and partisan political purposes. Their silence, and in some cases, the silence of their teachers, transform the activities of the day.”

      • Ify Okoye says:

        I’m saying much of this protest including the sample letter you highlighted appears disingenuous. Schools and instruction time is always politicized or pushes an agenda. So when we choose to engage we should do so with wisdom.

  18. Mezba says:

    Have never heard of this day here in Canada.

    I remember all the anger some felt when the book “I have two mommies” (or something to that effect) was introduced in classes.

    Why? It’s just a book. Read it, write a report on it and be done with it.

    Muslims who can be easily brain washed or indoctrinated should really think why is it so.

  19. Umm Bilqis says:

    Mezba kids can get easily influenced.
    Saadullah the wonderous thing about Islam is it is the religion of the submitters.
    Islam= Submission
    Muslims are Submitters to the will of the Creator.
    As they say in my home,” we did not bring these laws from our back pockets.”
    This Means we are following the will of the Creator, we are following the Holy Quraan and the Sunnah of Our beloved Prophet Sallahu alaihi Wasallam.
    I encourage you to read the story of Prophet Lot..

  20. Abez says:

    Hooray for homeschooling? :)

    • Umm Bilqis says:

      Assalmu alaikum sister Abez,
      Homeschool or to provide/ support a Private Islamic school.
      Please note that security for the heart from fasad is just as important as physical security if not more so.
      Here is a link and excerpt for a lady called Charlotte Iserbyt who was an senior policy Advisor at the U.S department of education.
      This essay is called,” The Devil’s Seven Prong Fork”.

      “Prong Seven is UN control of education lifelong under the umbrella of the school district (community re-education). The late Professor Benjamin Bloom, an internationalist closely associated with UNESCO, and the father of The Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, in which all teachers have been trained, said in his book All Our Children Learning: “The purpose of education and the schools is to change the thoughts, feelings and actions of students.” The UN and the tax-exempt foundations have created a socialist America through Skinnerian/Pavlovian behavior modification programs (animal training which bypasses the brain) and the radical change from academics to the communist/fascist polytechnical (lifelong school- to- work job quota system) being implemented today under the controversial No Child Left Behind/ No American Left Alone Act.”

      http://www.deliberatedumbingdown.com/pages/articles/Devils_Seven_Prong_Fork.html

  21. Jessica says:

    I don’t understand—Muslim girls should be allowed to express their beliefs by wearing hijabs in classrooms, even if it offends those who believe hijabs are degrading to women, but children are not allowed to express pro-equality beliefs by remaining silent for a day?

    • Hena Zuberi says:

      So wear a T shirt that proclaim your belief, why do whole classes have to be framed around this?
      You would probably not like it if I asked your daughter to wear hijab in school to support bullying against Muslims would you? and if she didn’t wear one because it is against her ‘feminist’ convictions and she refuses, would you like her to be called a bigot and Islamophobe?

  22. Ahmed says:

    It is often said that: “When one suffers from prejudice and discrimination, that is when one learns not to pre-judge and discriminate against others.”

    Muslims nowadays are facing a whole lot of unjust bigotry and discrimination from various quarters. But it amazes me to see that even then, muslims can continue to promote bigotry and discrimination against other minority groups – which in this instance, the homosexual community.

    It is not that difficult to understand the gay community. Just walk up to another gay person and ask he or she why he or she is gay. Another way is to ask yourself. Ask yourself: Why are you straight? When did you choose to be straight?

    The answer is obvious. Nobody chooses to be gay, just as nobody chooses to be straight.

    Why then is the muslim community continue to demonize and terrorize the gay community just “because the book says so”.

    There is so far not one shred of valid argument why one can say that homosexuality is wrong. On the other hand, there are plenty of scientific evidence documenting the occurrence of homosexuality in the animal kingdom, pointing out that homosexuality is but a part of the normal spectrum of human sexuality.

    Do you really think that gay sex is more fun than straight sex? Gosh, if you think so, then you might actually be gay. But the more important point is, why would anyone choose to suffer and have their life threatened, just in order to be gay? The answer is pretty simple. It is simply not a choice.

    It is also not a pathology because homosexuality most definitely does not ruin lives. How does lives get ruined by homosexuality? Lives get ruined, young people get killed because of homophobia. Homophobia is a pathology.

  23. Michael says:

    This from a group of people who follow the example of the Prophet Muhammad-edited . And you disapprove of a day in support of an end to childhood bullying based on perceived sexual orientation? Makes perfect sense.

    • Hena Zuberi says:

      If this day was for childhood bullying across the board it would be a different scenario. Aren’t kids bullied because of race, religion, ethnicity, language, body size, speech impairments, physical development. And the kids celebrating this day, bullying kids who do not want to celebrate this date, excommunicating them, harassing them, calling them names, refutes the very purpose that this day supposedly stands for.

  24. Leilani says:

    …This confuses me. Gay youth are committing suicide and winding up homeless left and right. it is an epidemic. I can understand not agreeing with homosexual behavior, but to be offended by a day devoted to recognizing that gay youth are suffering in silence, out of fear, is an overreaction. To say that a day of silence, to recognize the epidemic of homophobia in this country and commemorate the lost lives of bullied homosexual youth, is offensive to Muslims is going well overboard.

  25. Leilani says:

    After discussing this article with someone else, I think it should be removed from Muslim Matters. I’m not saying this in order to curb the free flow of discussion. I really don’t think this article has anything to do with Islam. It’s just not appropriate. That kind of article belongs in a personal blog, or a blog campaigning against Day of Silence. Or even just an anti-gay blog. I’m sure there are many more writers who could create more deserving articles about Islam and homosexuality to be on this site.

    I learned nothing about Islam from this article. All I learned was that the writer did not want her child to observe a day of silence, to raise awareness of the isolation LGBT youth face as a result of bullying, because she thought it was equivalent to brainwashing her kid to believe it is okay to be gay.

    This is not about agreeing or disagreeing with the content of the story. I just don’t think it fits into the theme of this site.

  26. Sam says:

    But the thing is, most public schools don’t force this day on students. It’s a matter of choice. Remember, its not only Islam that’s against this. Other groups also view this matter differently, so its not like everyone is silent on this day. In my experience, I had some friends who chose to participate while majority of the other students and I did not. Nobody was bullied or made fun of not partaking. Perhaps it matters what type of school you go to, but coming from a person who has attended almost 3 different public high schools(all very diverse and liberal environments), Day of Silence isn’t like a day of brainwashing students or forcing them with this viewpoint. It’s a matter of choice…not all public schools have some agenda to “brainwash” students.

  27. […] Zuberi, calls the Day of Silence (an annual day on which students are encouraged to observe silence to draw attention to the […]

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