Parenting Series | Part V(b): The Reality of Sex-Education in Public Schools

Disclaimer: This article is not suitable for all ages. Children please make sure your parents have read this article thoroughly before you take permission from them to read it.

Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | | Part V(b) | Part VI | Part VII | Part VIII | Part IX

I added this part in the series after a few requests to be explicit what I meant by “Sex-Ed in schools is NOT a Biology lesson”. Some parents/people still insist on allowing children to learn Sex-Ed at schools, which is their personal choice, but in order to be fair I thought of giving some more details on the issue.  I believe I cannot do justice with this topic in just one article, I can at least highlight a few reasons.

If parents think that Sex-Ed class aims towards teaching biological process of reproduction, or to educate our young pre/teens about pregnancy preventions, STDs, or teach children a fair balance between early/delayed relationships, then they are being duped.

Sex-Ed curriculum in US is primarily based on PPF (Planned Parenthood Federation), AFY(Advocates for Youth), and SIECUS (Sexual Information & Education Council of the United States). Parents: please familiarize yourself about the beliefs of these networks.

Did you ever wonder WHY:

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  • There is so much sexuality in our society these days?
  • Homosexuality at its rise?
  • If Sex-Ed was so beneficial why is it that teen pregnancies and STDs continue to rise?

We are up against a sex-ed. “industry” that is dedicated to promote radical, social ideologies that value unconditional sexual freedom above any health, science or parental authority. The aim is to encourage promiscuity, experimentation, unrestricted sexual behavior, and to embed in minds that sexual freedom is a “personal choice”. Children are encouraged toquestion the family values and religious beliefs.[i] While we, Muslim parents, close the door of communication on our children, they struggle at schools with the strong sexual message, and battle with their hormones that continue to cloud their judgment!

  • Parents, have you ever sat through Sex-Ed classes yourself?
  • If you have pulled your child out of the Sex-Ed class, have you monitored what they learn from their friends at school?
  • Have you ever visited SIECUS, PPF, AFY websites and read what they are promoting?

We are still debating whether parents should talk to children about sex and sexuality while the “experts” of Sex-Ed are promoting,  “teach preschoolers that each of us is sexual, from cradle to grave…”[ii] “they should be taught about body parts in games like ‘Simon Says’, preschoolers should be told about intercourse[iii], they should be told about “body parts that feel good when touched.” FIVE years old should be informed, “everyone has sexual thoughts and fantasies”, “people experience sexual pleasure in a number of different ways.” Basically teach the kids about HIV before ABCs!

Planned Parenthood says, “3rd grade is the time to find out about wet dreams, masturbation, rape, and “sex work.”[vi] “Nine to twelve year olds should understand that male and female are not defined solely by chromosomes or genitalia; everyone has an “internal sense” of his or her identity, and that “sense” might not jibe with what they see in the mirror”.[vii] In other words, they have the right to change their gender!

I implore parents/mentors to please check out some of the most commonly recommended websites by SIECUS, PPF, and AFY during sex-ed for pre/teens orientation and questions:

GoAskAlice.com: An award winning Columbia University website, gets over 2000 questions/week from pre/teens. It may have good information about drugs, alcohol, and diet BUT it also teaches teens how to purchase “adult products” by phonesecretly purchase birth control pills without parents’ knowledge, arrange a “trio/threesome”, and “S/M role playing”!

gUrl.com:  There “experts” teach our children about sadomasochism, blow jobs, anal sex etc. Think of any perverse sexual act and you will find it there.

  • Why are we facing unprecedented sexual practices and fantasies in our times?

Our youth (and even adults) are being educated about human sexuality by porn-stars. Sacreleteen.com, one of the most visited website by teenage girls, because porn sex-education industry organizations like SIECUS refer to this site to gain more information about skin, acne etc. runs by Heather Corinna, a “bona fide pornographer”[viii]. She runs other website where she teaches teens “how to flirt”, “talk dirty”, “go tantric”, though the site warns that it is intended for adults[ix]. I cannot access that site from here (alhamudlliah for living in Doha).

Parents, please be warned that these websites, other than sex-ed organizations, are also advertised through Facebook, Twitter and My Space. Even if *I* were to visit these sites to gain information about drugs, acne, depression, I would not be able to keep myself from reading the Q/A, then how about pre/teens who are fighting their internal hormonal cyclone, external peer pressure and natural curiosity? I must tell the married couples that after being married for 14 years and having three kids, I can still learn a LOT from these websites.

  • Why Sex-Ed organizations are propagating these corrupted sexual ideologies?

Primarily because they are following Alfred Kinsey’s doctrine of human sexuality. In short, he introduced a new model of human sexuality which were institutionalized though SIECUS in the 1960s. Dr. Grossman says, “Dr. Kensey was to sex education what Henry Ford was to the automobile…‘Sexuality is not an appetite to be curbed,’ he insisted. He believed that monogamy is unnatural; rather, the “human animal”- a term Kinsey liked to use- is pansexual”[x]

“Kinsey believed that in our natural state-that is free from social constraints-we human would become sexually active early in life, enjoy intercourse with both sexes, indulge in a variety of behaviors, and eschew fidelity. Kinsey applauded practically every kind of sexual activity…and he disapproved of sexual abstinence.”[xi]

Pervert will be a mild term to use for Kinsey.  He used to film his sexual encountering with his wife and other members of his “inner circle”, “seldomly passed up an opportunity to show off his genitals and demonstrate his various masturbatory techniques to his staff members”, “believed that heterosexuality is only a result of social pressure”.[xii]

Wardell Pomeroy, who coauthored Kinsey’s books, also the former president of SIECUS said,

“In father-daughter incest, the daughter’s age makes all the difference in the world. The older she is, the likelier it is that the experience will be a positive one. The best sort of incest of all, surprisingly enough, is that between a son and a mother who is really educating him sexually, and who then encourages him to go out with girls.”[xiii]

A’oodhobillah! When such perverts are the pioneers of the so-called “educational” institutes responsible for teaching our children about their body part and sexuality, I can only imagine what kind of curricula they must be following: The beliefs of Kinsey and his ilk!

Sexually corrupting our children is not the only flaw of these institutions, they further move on to causing gender-identity confusion in preteens who go through a natural phase of disliking the opposite gender. They are encouraged to like the same gender and explore. I read an 11 year being told that it was okay to be homosexual and/or bisexual at the same time!

My son will turn eleven, inshaAllah, in 2 months and he hates girls. What if I had allowed him to attend the Sex-Ed class? And had taken a more “traditional” (hush-hush) approach of educating him at home about these subjects? I cringe at the thought. May Allah azzawajal protect our children.

When confused pre/teens questions about their disliking of the opposite gender:

Columbia University’s Alice:

“Participating in safe sexual encounters and activity, whether with men, women, or both, can provide wonderful opportunities to learn about your likes and dislikes, passions and goals…Questioning your sexual orientation or sexual identity is by no means a sign of a problem…your feelings are completely normal, as is exploring the. Enjoy!”

Heather says:

“For most people, the teen years are not the time to be 100% in what sexual orientation you are…”

What happened to the “normal” phase of preteens disliking the opposite gender?

These Sex-Ed organizations/websites consistently encourage our children to contact counselors/advisers at health facilities instead of truing to their parents for help and support.

Parents, remember pre/teens go through a confused stage of pre/post hormonal phase when their judgment is clogged and clouded. In addition, they are naturally tempted by shayateen, do they need to be exposed to these vulgar, unrestricted, morally corrupt ideologies to become further confused? What we learn affect our beliefs, way of thinking, ideologies. Top that with the environment our kids are in, where refusing premarital sex is a joke; being transsexual, bisexual, a cross dresser, or undecided is being “normal”.

There is a lot more to say about this subject and I cannot lay out in one article all the reasons why children should not attend Sex-Ed at schools. To conclude, my sincere advice to the parents is to educate your children at home about Sex and Sexuality and widely open the doors of communication.

InshaAllah in next part we will discuss how we can educate our children about the following most commonly asked questions:

  1. What is the difference between a girl and a boy?
  2. Where do babies come from?
  3. Why can’t mommy pray?
  4. How does the baby get in mommy’s tummy?
  5. What is Sex?

 


[i] “an opportunity for young people to question, explore and assess their own and their community’s attitudes about society, gender, and sexuality,” 19:http://www.siecus.org/_data/global/images/guidelines.pdf

[ii] Grossman, Miriam. M.D, “You are Teaching MY Child What”, pg. 8

[iii] “Growth and Development, Ages FOUR to FIVE- What Parents Need to Know,” http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/storage/advfy/documents/4_5.pdf

[vi] “Human Sexuality-What Children Need to Know and When,” October 29, 2008:www.plannedparenthood.org/parents/human-sexuality-what-children-need-know-when-they-need-know-it-4421.htm

[vii] Grossman, Miriam M.D, “You’re Teaching My Child What?” pg. 9

[viii] Grossman, Miriam M.D, “You’re Teaching My Child What?” pg. 18

[ix] Grossman, Miriam M.D, “You’re Teaching My Child What?” pg. 196

[x] Grossman, Miriam M.D, “You’re Teaching My Child What?” pg. 20-21

[xi] James H. Jones, Alfred C. Kinsey: A Public/Private Life (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1997), 512 and 519.

[xii] Ibid

[xiii] “Wardell Pomeroy: Kinsey Coauthor Speaks Out”, Chic Magazine, February 1981.

121 / View Comments

121 responses to “Parenting Series | Part V(b): The Reality of Sex-Education in Public Schools”

  1. H says:

    I have a question sister. You say that Kinsey’s claim that monogamy is not natural is wrong. I agree with what you are saying but my question is, if this is the case, than why in Jannah are men allowed to have many wives? Why is this the case if monogamy is supposed to be natural? A similar extrapolation could ask why men are allowed four wives maximum (not including taking care of a widow or doing some kind of favor). I don’t mean to offend, I am just genuinely curious, but Allah knows best.

    • Umm Reem says:

      I didn’t say that “monogamy is not natural’ is wrong. Monogamy maybe unnatural for men but what about women?
      Kinsey supported multiple partners for everyone men AND women, homosexuals/bisexuals…anything and everything! And that is what I don’t agree with….

  2. abu Abdullah says:

    Bismillah,

    Off topic. It seems to me that boys tend to respect (being conscious of) more, in their life RESPECT the opposite sex more if they grew up in a family with siblings having one or more sisters or spent a lot of time with their mothers. It may be true only for desi culture but at least they tend to treat their mothers/wives better hoping their sisters/daughters would be treated well.

    I am clueless on what is best way of sex-ed topic for children. I learnt about it for the first time in 12th grade embryology class that I regret taking but had no option as it was compulsory part of the syllabus. Even if you end up home schooling your children and control what/where they learn from, would you rather not have them any friends (a source of their misc knowledge)? Auzubillah.

    I hope a group of caring Muslim families together in a neighborhood, mothers without being too selective of other issues, could bring children together for good company and teach them what they need to know. Different parents usually have different yardsticks which could be normalized. Mothers can teach girls and Fathers when time permits could teach boys. It may sound simple but I am not sure of any right way. Its natural for one to find out things and we are only worried that children don’t get that education pre maturely and from sources we don’t approve off. Its a difficult question to answer, how to teach your kid the education i don’t know what salaf did in this regards other than seeking help from Allaah and allowing the nature follow its course.

    Allahu ‘alam. wassalam

    • Umm Reem says:

      It may be true only for desi culture but at least they tend to treat their mothers/wives better hoping their sisters/daughters would be treated well.

      Allahu ‘alam, but to be honest brother abu abdullah, i have a very conflicting view. I believe that one of the cultures that teat women in the worst way is desi culture, in many ways. And most of the desi families have multiple children so normally boys do grow up with sisters.

      As for respect, it is a wide term. I believe a deeper problem emerges when the topic of sex & sexuality is left unexplained for confusion. One of the most significant harms/side effect may be the increase of porn/sexual addiction especially among Muslims. They may show respect to women but a significant part of their mind sexualize and objectify women, which I strongly believe can be controlled if they are given a proper education and tarbiyyah from a young age, inshaAllah.

      Even if you end up home schooling your children and control what/where they learn from, would you rather not have them any friends (a source of their misc knowledge)? Auzubillah.

      Of course they will have friends and they will learn/hear from their friends! But that is not the point. As long as parents are the primary source of proper and detailed islamic sex-education to their children, they will not be confused or have incorrect/corrupted perception in their developing minds inshaAllah.

      With the advantage of an open communication and always welcoming questions, most of the time children will share what they hear from their friends, inshaAllah.

      Mothers can teach girls and Fathers when time permits could teach boys.

      true but I dont’ see any problem with mothers teaching their sons as well, especially in those families where wives fail to convince their husbands to communicate with the boys.

      • F says:

        Umm Reem,

        Jazakillah for the article.
        About your last point, while from a mothers loving perspective she might think there is nothing wrong with teaching boys about sex, from a son’s perspective its better to be done by another male (ie. father) if possible.

        Just like men don’t really understand and can never fully explain menstruation to their daughters, similarly the raging hormones and feelings that a young boy goes through can and are very difficult to be understood by mothers because they never had the same feelings/thoughts.

        • Umm Reem says:

          wa iyyak…

          I do agree with you that women/mothers can not fully understand what goes through a man during hormonal changes and puberty and it can be best explained by men. And it must be explained to children by father (not any male relative– for many reasons).

          However, sex-ed is more than that, as we will see in next few parts, and again, I don’t see anything wrong with mother conveying necessary message to her son, keeping an open communication especially when fathers have busy work schedules and he cannot keep up with “daily chats”.

          It is especially necessary, as i said before, for those mother who cannot get their husbands (who maintain their “traditional” mentality) to talk to their sons. In that case, she must take the lead. And Allah knows best.

          • Mohamed says:

            JazakumAllahu Khairan,

            I thought this article was great. I just wanted to give my perspective about one point.

            “I hope a group of caring Muslim families together in a neighborhood, mothers without being too selective of other issues, could bring children together for good company and teach them what they need to know. Different parents usually have different yardsticks which could be normalized. Mothers can teach girls and Fathers when time permits could teach boys.”

            I think this is a great idea because it could help build community, and hopefully a means for our kids to learn about these important issues. However, I would really like for us to stress the importance of men MAKING TIME to spend with their kids in general and their sons in specific. It’s absolutely ridiculous how many of our sons learn about how to be a man from movies, athletes, and other kids their age.. Generally speaking, I think the quality of men in the ummah is pretty poor, and part of the reason is that men do not raise their sons to be men. They think they can just enjoy the process or reproduction without having to deal with it’s result….A3oothibillah… Real men raise real men!

      • abu Abdullah says:

        I would like one correction (in bold) here that was open for mis interpretation,

        it seems to me that boys tend to respect (being conscious of) in their life the opposite sex more if they grew up in a family with siblings having one or more sisters or spent a lot of time with their mothers, COMPARED TO those who do NOT have any sisters or don’t have enough time spent with women in the home like mothers.
        It was just an observation in real world and classic exception to my observation above is life of the prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, who never had sister nor did he have long enough time with his mother. And as I said, the point was off topic.
        Being raised a desi, I could speak for self that we are most racist and sexist people ever.
        No matter how much we prepare for, just like marriage, we are never prepared for a best mould child formula. Allah has written everything for all of us and best we can do, after our efforts are adi’ya and if you are too much up to it, then read al Baqarah in your house ever third day to keep our open enemy away from our houses. Saying Bismillah opening/closing doors, making them read their duas and keeping tawakkul in Allaah.

        may be we are little too much worried in today’s world about little things and bring little extra stresses, tensions in our plate than we should.

        may Allah save us from treating our family/women harshly and grant us among those who treat their women the best, at least may be just may be we will be regarded the best ( in manners ) if we treat our families better. Allahumma Ameen.

        • F says:

          It’s common to think that something is the worst just because it is the culture we experience the most. As they say the grass is greener on the other side.

          While desis do tend have a strong sense of racism, it is nothing compared to the hundreds of years of slavery and colonialism by the west or the modern day labor slavery by the Gulf countries. Every race and ethnicity has dark practices so lets not take those and generalize to the entire population. It’s insulting.

          Lets keep things in perspective and be cognizant of the fact that our opinions are shaded by our experiences.

          • Umm Reem says:

            I am specifically talking about “women’s treatment” in different cultures and not all the dark practices of cultures….

            Our opinions maybe shaded by our experiences at times, but they are also formed by traveling and observing and learning from other cultures…and i formed this opinion by the later…

            I used to think that Arabs treat their women the worst, but my view has changed. I do stand by what I said. I don’t know how much you know about what happens to women in Pakistan, but I don’t know of many places where women are burned alive, accused of adultery just like that and are punished in whatever way maybe pleasing to husband/his family, honor killing etc.

            Visit some women shelters in Pakistan, in US, in Middle East and compare it yourself…

          • N says:

            I am a pakistani married to an egyptian and i totally agree with ummreem. I know how desis think to a large extent as ive spent parts of my childhood there and now I live in egypt.

            i think desi culture is indeed the worst in general in terms of how women are viewed to how they are treated. I have experienced, travelled and know ppl from various backgrounds and that’s how I’ve come to my conclusion as well.

            I’m not only talking about women in very unfortunate circumstances either although that obviously is the biggest problem. Even if you take a large portion of the upperclass in pakistan, the ‘norms’ that are in place in the society for women are simply too much.

        • Muslim says:

          Salaam,

          What is up with the “desi” bashing? It really has nothing to do with the article. Also, there is no such thing as “desi culture”. If you define desi as someone who comes from the Indian subcontinent, there are hundreds of different cultures there.

          If you have a problem with the way you have been raised or the way your distant relatives live their life, admit that the problem is within your family. NOT within a whole entire race of people that number more than 1 billion. I am desi and I respect and take care of and have concern for my mother and sisters more than anyone else. My mother and sisters are educated and have a huge say in our family decisions. Unlike other Muslim cultures, most of the desis I know don’t divorce women left and right or marry more than one wife because they are bored with life or can’t control their sexual appetite. Most of my money is spent on my mothers, sisters and wife and my wife’s mother and her sisters. At the same time, the respect is reciprocal. Our women listen to their men, serve their men with love and have more of an understanding of taking care of a family and the responsibilities of motherhood than any other Muslim culture. And, on top of that, most desi women score high on their SATs and end up becoming doctors, nurses, teachers, pharmacists, and best of all, loving homemakers who make everyone’s life in the world a lot easier by raising kids with manners. How’s that for generalizations? lol

          • Amad says:

            Agree. Let’s stop with this race-centric stereotyping. It adds no value to the article or its contents.

          • Amad says:

            I think part of the “desi-bashing” and for others “arab-bashing” is that when people are close to a culture, they are exposed to the worst of it, and they think that no other culture could be worse.

            I have an especially hard time swallowing statements such as “y is worse than z”. Because for the most part, our experiences are only about y, with scant information on z, and we are in a no position to jump to that conclusion.

            And it is easy to fall in this trap of making sweeping comparisons when one really delves and researches the evils of the culture closes to him or her. Because really no one “else” could be worse than this!

            All cultures and societies have their goods and bads, and when we start stereotyping and generalizing, then all the good that we are trying to intend with a certain hypothesis goes down the drain because no one likes to hear from prejudiced minds, regardless of how much truth they hold.

          • UmmSarah says:

            I don’t mean prolong this discussion to ‘bash’ any culture; however, I do want to make a point… it is very offensive when someone gets all fired up and defensive over ugly facet of extreme women oppression in Pakistan. It’s not bad enough that majority of the women in rural areas or even cities are treated like a secondary citizen or even worse, but to dismiss that it is even a problem, wow. I’m a Pakistani myself, and you have to be living under a rock to not see the worst forms of women mistreatment in this culture. A lot of this subcontinent mentality is influenced by Hinduism which has a completely different ideology on women, very different from Islam. It is very difficult to bring a positive change to an entire culture but the least you can do is not dismiss it.

          • UmmSarah says:

            And I’m not sure, which Pakistan Muslim is taking about, probably where women don’t have a choice to divorce because they can’t survive on their own, but even then, divorce rate is increasing very high, specially in cities and among Pakistanis in US and Canada.

          • Umm Reem says:

            Okay, for the last time, please read before anyone jumps to conclusions:

            I was not bashing desi culture entirely, I was talking about one specific area: The treatment of women.

            I can say a lot to back up my position. And no it has nothing to do with my personal life walhamdullilah, but yes a lot of personal observation in Pakistan and among Pakistanis, and visiting and reading about cultural norms and practices.

            The violence against women is extreme in Pakistan. One small example of it is how the law actually supports honor killing.
            But even if we put the violence aside, isn’t it from pakistani culture to put females at a different standards in many aspects of life, like when it comes to choosing suitors for marriage, forced marriages, forced to stay in unhappy and even abusive marriages because divorce is a taboo, divorced women looked down upon and losing hope to remarry, heavy burden of dowry, lack of dowry resulting in harder circumstances with in-laws, families of daughters at the lower end because they are the parents of daughters etc. etc.

            I didn’t particularly delve or researched the evils of this culture, but some evils stand out so much that it becomes impossible to turn a blind eye over it. The least we can do is acknowledge that there is a problem.

            As for those Indian/Pakistanis who are living in the west, please don’t compare your culture with the one I am talking about, because mostly that is “western” desi culture and not purely desi :)

            I do not want to steer away from the main topic of the article here, so inshaAllah we can end this discussion here.

          • F says:

            The part about the SATs is very true.

          • The Truth Seeker says:

            About the SAT part .Well women in that part of the world don’t have anything to do except sitting home and studying . What do you expect then

          • Muslim says:

            Salaam,

            First of all, I was generalizing. I was doing it to be sarcastic to show that it sounds unintelligent to use general terms when defining a people with a population of more than 1 Billion with a lot of diversity in regards to religion, language, climate, economic prosperity etc, etc.

            Secondly, I am from Pakistan. I live in the west, but a huge chunk of my family is from Pakistan, which is a huge part of the “desi world”. Within my family out there, I have not witnessed the type of women oppression that people are discussing here. My mother went to college and all of her sisters were also educated. They are respected in their family and the my distant cousins are also in the same situation as well. etc.

            I am not dismissing problems in the subcontinent. I am saying its not only there. It is everywhere in this world. Even in the west. It is a human problem, not a Desi Problem. The media just has its “magnifying glass” on Pakistan/Afghanistan right now, which is why we can’t help to have this issues in our public discourse. I’ve noticed this desi inferiority complex come up several times by bloggers on Muslim Matters and I have rarely seen anyone mention a positive.

            Also, it is very unfair to say this was all influenced by Hinduism. Hinduism didn’t influence these women’s rights abuses in the Desi world. Other elements such as poverty, lack of law enforcement, lack of funding of law enforcement, lack of education, bad economies in specific areas as well as general human rights violations on entire peoples, not just women, did. You will rarely hear of a woman born to an educated or middle class family being abused the way you hear about these stories in the middle of farmland areas where people don’t even know what century they are living in.

            I can continue to discuss this but I just noticed Sister UmmReem said to end the discussion here so I will end it.

        • MW_M says:

          The Prophet ï·º didn’t have any sisters? Misconception akhi. No siblings by blood, but he did have foster siblings. Google “ash shaima bint harith”

  3. Yusuf Patel says:

    Assalamualaikum,

    JazakAllahu khairan for this. I live in the UK and we have a similar situation in state schools (what you would call public schools). A couple of years ago the government proposed making Sex and Relationship Education compulsory in all schools from the age of five, alhamdawlillah this did not manage to get passed and they do teach some aspects of this in science lessons. In the UK decisionmaking in non-statutory areas such as SRE are left in the hands of individual schools and there is a clear correlation between parental scrutiny and what is taught. Where parents sit back and let the school decide what is taught you generally get the worst manifestations of liberal sexual license. We are trying to get Muslim parents especially, to be more active in schools but this is a very difficult task for a number of reasons.

    On a side note, I attended a Christian conference a couple of weeks ago in London in which Miriam Grossman M.D spoke at, it is very important for parents to read her book, it is very eye opening, although from the perspective of someone from the UK it does focus on sex education from in the US, nonetheless groups such as SIECUS and Planned Parenting have their equivalent here, they are called the Familay Planning Association (now known only as FPA) and Brook and they have similar ideological foundations.

    Finally, it is important to provide information to our children as they grow up and to immunise them against the rising sexualisation of society, but of course this needs to take into account the age of children and must be grounded in Islamic principles. I am working to develop something in collaboration with the support of shuyookh and educationalists here and I’m sure there are similar initiatives across the pond.

    Yusuf Patel
    SREIslamic

    • Umm Reem says:

      mashaAllah brother! It will be kind of you if you can share some of the crucial points with us.

      • Yusuf Patel says:

        Assalamualaikum sister,

        Could you please clarify what you would like me to elaborate on?

        JazakAllahu khairan, this has been a very useful discussion for me.

        Yusuf

        • Umm Reem says:

          I have 4 more parts on this series, inshaAllah, I would like to hear your thoughts on them? what is missing and where I can elaborate more? Also, I am still debating on how to divide different age groups.
          Since we have children in different circumstances, like homeschooled vs. Islamic schools vs. public schools, it becomes a bit complicated categorizing information in different age groups.

          JazakAllah khiar!

  4. Uthman says:

    mashAllah sister this was a very nice article!

    You can never be too careful!

  5. AnonyMouse says:

    What’s really sad is that within the Muslim community we’re presented with two extremes…

    1) The “conservative” extreme where parents consider the very idea of sex to be haraam and forbid their children to learn anything about it (which as we all know is completely ridiculous) and obviously do not make any effort to educate their children about it.

    2) The “liberal” extreme which insist that children need to be aware of these issues and think it’s ridiculous that we think that sex ed. classes at school are going to corrupt our children. Many of them will honestly consider it a conspiracy theory of sorts if we tell them exactly what is being taught at school!

    It is also terrifying true that many schools and preschools are pushing for “sexual awareness” for preschools and kindergarten (never mind grades 1 and 2)… a friend of mine has worked as a preschool teacher and she was appalled when she discovered that children were taught that their “private parts” are “okay to play with.”
    And then we wonder why child sexual exploitation is on the rise… when you sexualize a prepubescent child, you are destroying yourself, the child, and the entire society.

    • OC says:

      “And then we wonder why child sexual exploitation is on the rise… when you sexualize a prepubescent child, you are destroying yourself, the child, and the entire society.”

      highly dramatic.

  6. Rapnsum says:

    It might also interest you tat Planned Parenthood has some real issues as they are and were very well connected to the KLAN and Eugenics. I encourage you to watch and educate others about a powerful documentary called: Maafa21 Black Genocide in 21st Century America, http://www.maafa21.com

  7. The Truth Seeker says:

    I want to first comment on Umm Reem’s statement

    They may show respect to women but a significant part of their mind sexualize and objectify women, which I strongly believe can be controlled if they are given a proper education and tarbiyyah from a young age, inshaAllah.

    The bitter reality is that you can’t control it . It is fixed in the male brains . Even the people who are very strong religiously fall for this matter .

    As for the sex education , lets be realistic , You can’t hide any thing regarding sex . Even if you teach and protect your child from all these things , he may still find the resources . Especially in the west . I have lived in both east and west .

    The people in the west openly know what sex is from very young age . They even engage in it .

    For the people of east . They also know everything from a very young age . They are only good at hiding and pretending to show that they don’t know anything . Pre-marital sex is also rampant in muslim societies now , it is just that all these things happen quietly .

    After reading this article , I remembered prophet(SAW) hadith .

    “Adultery and fornication will be on rise near the end of times ”
    “People will consider harm things lawful and lawful things haram ” .

    • Umm Reem says:

      The bitter reality is that you can’t control it . It is fixed in the male brains . Even the people who are very strong religiously fall for this matter .

      Allah azzawajal would not have made something haraam which could not have been controlled. The reality is that a lot of it CAN be controlled, inshaAllah.

      Improper sex-ed and sex exposure just didn’t star over night. This problem was building up for some time and now we are seeing the rampant effect of it all over the world, east and west. At least western Mulsims are acknowledging the issue, eastern world still have to wake up.

      When a young growing mind is exposed to sex and sexuality in a wrong/evil/corrupt way then it obviously has wrong perceptions, psychologically damaging and lasting evil effects. Same things can be taught in a different way and the outcome maybe different.

      I dont’ know if you have read the series, but that is exactly what I am suggesting to parents to change inshaAllah….and let us wait for the positive results.

      • The Truth Seeker says:

        I think sis you are way to optimistic .

        Look around you .. you know the answers . Temptation everywhere . There needs to be a massive change in our society in order for us to escape this evil . Our minds have been poisoned . I have completely lost hope .

        • Umm Reem says:

          Brother you just said the key phrase:

          “Our minds have been poisoned”

          Exactly my point. Our minds need the proper tarbiyyah, education and training with Islam as a guide and pscyhology as a tool inshaAllah.

          Of course i am optimistic, shouldn’t every Muslim be? I do not believe that we will be tested with temptations beyond our control. Allah swt does not overburden any soul. And there is always a solution to our problems. Please don’t lose hope because there is always hope for Muslims.

      • The Truth Seeker says:

        I am specifically talking about “women’s treatment” in different cultures and not all the dark practices of cultures….

        Our opinions maybe shaded by our experiences at times, but they are also formed by traveling and observing and learning from other cultures…and i formed this opinion by the later…

        I used to think that Arabs treat their women the worst, but my view has changed. I do stand by what I said. I don’t know how much you know about what happens to women in Pakistan, but I don’t know of many places where women are burned alive, accused of adultery just like that and are punished in whatever way maybe pleasing to husband/his family, honor killing etc.

        Visit some women shelters in Pakistan, in US, in Middle East and compare it yourself…

        Dear sis

        I had lived in pakistan for a long time. Yes , there is violence against women but it is in minority . Most of the times the media just exaggerate the things . Every time when women is treated badly , why do people assume that every time the women is the victim . Please women are not innocent beings all the time . The women who face genuine oppression belongs to very poor areas to pakistan . The middle to rich class females are mostly happy over there . Western culture have now poisoned brains of people over there in pakistan . If I started to tell you the things which females do over there in pakistan , you wouldn’t believe .

        As for gulf countries . One of my friend did his MD form U.S and moved to KSA about 8 years ago . What I have heard from him is that , the media just want to create this hype that women are oppressed over there . A poll over there in K.S.A showed that about 82% of the women over there supported the current system in Saudi arabia . If this was not the case then the results would have been different . The lifestyle of Saudi women are much much better the lifestyle of women from other countries even in the west .

        • N says:

          It’s not only violence though. Its the mindset that the daughter in law is somehow more ‘obligated’ to serve her inlaws while their actual daughter isn’t.

          It’s the mindset that she has to give up her goals or any life vision and that is totally subservient to the demands of many inlaws.

          It’s the mindset that she has to obey her inlaws.

          I know of personal cases , relatives where they just truly feel that they have some kind of ‘right’ upon their daughter in law but they are irked if their own daughters serve them. It’s some kind of slight to them.

          Middle class Women in pakistan are totally used to living their whole lives either pleasing their parents(which is great) or pleasing their inlaws(which can become very stifling).

          • The Truth Seeker says:

            Well for the inlaws things …. The women is not obliged to serve her inlaws . She should only serve her husband .

            I know that most people in pakistan do not have a good education which ultimately leads to these scenarios but then there are females who have forced their husband to cut all sort of connections with the in laws but its frequency is low

          • ivoryTower says:

            Well, then it’s not oppression agianst women but against ‘daughter-in-laws’ by ‘mother-in-laws’ and ‘sister-in-laws’. Women oppressing women, cool!

        • Umm Reem says:

          Brother,

          if you meant western media by media then no i don’t pay much attention to what they have to say about the Muslim world, but I did pick up some news form the local newspapers in Pakistan and from the women’s shelter itself…

          Women are generally mistreated in almost every culture ( i guess except for China :) )I know women are not innocent being and to be honest in many cases, women play key roles in making other women’s lives miserable but it is men who enforce that injustice (again in most cases and not in all…)

          Having said that, women’s maltreatment is not limited to domestic violence only, it is a whole mindset of double standards, what is not okay for girls/women is okay for boys/men though sharee’ah may not even make any distinction.

          To be honest, I am writing an article on this and I do not want to get into this discussion here because it is a totally different topic. So inshaAllah in near future we can discuss this in more detail…

          • MW_M says:

            Women are generally mistreated in almost every culture ( i guess except for China )I

            No, they still bury female infants alive in China

          • Umm Reem says:

            really? even with women being scare there?

            one of my class fellows is form China and he was telling us that there is no domestic violence in China because the husband has to hold on to his wife lest she leaves him for someone else…women are high in demand :)

          • The Truth Seeker says:

            better move to sweden or russia …. i hear that male to female ratio is 1:3 …. lol

            I think no sane man will ever go to china to settle down , except if he wants to make his life miserable ….

          • MW_M says:

            That’s why they’re scarce…..they’re buried alive at birth except in rare circumstances. Also, domestic abuse is high and on the rise in China in all social classes.

            Let’s check our facts before posting stuff, one person with a clear bias for China saying something is true doesn’t overturn numerous NGO’s reporting on the problems facing women in China.

          • Umm Reem says:

            MW-M, it was a joke!

  8. Ramadan says:

    jazakillahu khayr for this educational article.

  9. M says:

    Maybe I’m just being really naive, but what exactly is taught in sex ed in schools these days?

    I remember I had a few classes in school when I was younger, and we were just taught the basic differences between the genders, body changes in puberty, how women reproduce, how the cycle goes, etc, and how babies come, and that was pretty much it..

    I don’t remember something so explicit that could have corrupted me?
    But yes, I do agree that this is something that should preferably be discussed in the home environment by the parents and not by school teachers.

  10. Teena says:

    Assalamu Alaikom, very good article mash’Allah! I think this is a big part of why parents shouldn’t send their children to public schools at all. I don’t understand how Muslim parents can send their children to public schools here in the US (while I know many do and would probably be offended by this point of view). Homeschooling and full time Islamic schools are a much better way to go in terms of PROPER sex education. I teach my daughter about the things that a child her age should know about, like menstruation (for pre-teens). I also bought her a book which I think could benefit every pre-teen Muslimah insha’Allah: “A Muslim Girl’s Guide to Life’s Big Changes”. That comes in handy because even if you try to talk to your children openly about sex, they will often be too shy to come to you with any questions they may have, so it helps to have a parent-approved resource that they can turn to as well. Jazak Allahu Khair for such a wonderful article.

  11. Stranded says:

    Jazak Allah Khair for this article. SOMEONE needs to inform parents, who sometimes I feel, choose to remain ignorant.

  12. Brother says:

    This is some really scary stuff. Its like rearing kids to take careers in the brothel industry. With this kind of teachings, I can only think of the hadith (I’m not sure what the exact wording is but you get the jist) that talks about a man taking(in the bad sense) a woman on the streets and the best of people at time time would suggest doing it behind someplace.

  13. Umm Reem says:

    This quote is from Dr. Grossman’s book and is quite valuable (like the rest of the book :) )

    Profound Impact of Parents on Teen’s Behavior:

    She talks about a question asked on PPF’s site by a mother of a 12 year old about her daughter’s growing age and at what age she should take her to gyno, about birth control etc. An official OB/GYN answers who is also the VP of medical affairs, suggested birth control pills and advised the mother to have separate gnyos for herself and her daughter because , “now that she is older she wants her own nurse or doctor to take care of her…respect whatever decision she makes and help her find a caring provider…”

    Dr. Grossman refutes,
    “At age 12, what the girl needs ins’t pills, it’s parenting. there is so much mom can do to keep her on track, and it’s critical for her to hear that from you, a medical authority. Sure, I know how much harder it is–to say nothing of time-consuming–to discuss parenting than write a prescription….

    Most of us would agree that parents can have some effect on their teen’s behavior, but recent studies overshelmingly confirm that the impact of parents is profound. They demonstrate that good parenting has a “significant, enduring, and protective influence” on adolescent development. The mom who turned to you needs to know what family factors and parenting style can deter risky behavior, moderate the influence of peers, and optimize her daughter’s potential. ”

    Dr. Gorssman suggests a response for the mother:
    “Rest assured that at 12, your influence on her is greater than you might imagine. What’s critical for your daughter is the parenting she receives. She will do best if you model good behavior, and you’re warm, supportive, and hands-on. She needs you to establish firm rules and high expectation…

    mom, know this: your daughter needs you. Instead of visits to the gyno, schedule special time together, just the tow of you, and talk. strengthen your connection with her. She wants a close and confidential relationship with you, not her health care provider.

    Ask your daughter about her life–how things are going at home, school, and with friends. Is there anything bothering her? What can you do to help? What does it mean to her to become a teenager…speak about what you’ve learned from your own experiences, and communicate your values…”

    There was a survey done by “The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy in 2001, and it asked teenagers “when it comes to your decisions about sex, who is most influential?’

    49% teenagers said ‘Parents”

  14. UmmSarah says:

    UmmReem, my comments were NOT directed at you, I concur with you 100% on your stance. I was replying to Muslim’s comment.

  15. Haleh says:

    Assalamo alaikom,

    Masha’Allah this is such an informative article. I appreciate all the effort you put into researching the material. You really opened our eyes to this corruption.

    This is one of the reasons my husband, 3 kids and II made hijra (migrated) from the U.S. and moved to Egypt in order to provide a more wholesome environment in an Islamic shchool. I pray that Allah protects Muslim children from this filth and guides all children to the straight path.

    Thanks again for addressing such a critical topic! May Allah bless you and your family.

    Haleh

    • UmKhamsa says:

      Dear Haleh,
      I have my kids in an Islamic School here in the states, and am stunned when I hear about what they are learning from the peers. Even in science class, my child has learned reproduction without me being informed. When I grew up in public schools, at least the parents were informed.
      May Allah help us all.
      WA

      • Umm Reem says:

        UmKhamsa,

        That is one of the problems with parents sending the children to Islamic schools, they assume that the children don’t get exposed to anything there. Sometimes, it is worse than public schools. Parents really need to reclaim their roles in their children’s lives no matter which school they maybe attending!

    • Umm Reem says:

      Thanks Haleh! And ameen to ur du’a

  16. Olivia says:

    This article is very disturbing but true. Growing up in a liberal American home, I can say that this idea of sexual experimentation being encouraged by parents is very real. Alhamdulillah I found Islam in my teens, but chastity was against the tone in our home. You were supposed to be free but smart. I remember in my college years one family being horrified that I was thinking about getting married. Rather I should be “taking advantage of these years” to “experiment with different relationships.” I was such a weirdo for wanting to be in a committed monogamous relationship!

    Also, anyone ever notice that in parenting books they tell parents to not make the child feel like they shouldn’t masturbate so that “shame wont be associated with sexuality” etc.?” And this is in books for parenting infants.

    • Olivia says:

      I think it really depends on the state. I went to public school in Indiana, where we learned about menses from watching a video just with other girls while boys went on their own and watched their’s. In middle school we did “sex ed” but it was all just biological about the womb and sperm and stuff like that.. chromosomes.

      I personally never experienced any education that actually talked about the act of sex or encouraged anything either way or had condoms passed out. I have heard that does happen, but probably in more liberal states. States control the curriculum. I can only imagine what my current state of California is like!

      I was in the dept. of education for a while at Purdue though, and I remember we were taught how to “promote” homosexuality. Meaning how to explain it, what books to read to kids about it, how to talk about adoptive kids of homosexuals.

      by the way, this comment belonged in the post below.

      in any event, the real source of sex ed was TV. i had seen porn on our TV (cheater box! remember those?) thanks to my two stepbrothers when i younger than fifth grade. my friends all got the same education when they slept over at my place.

  17. F says:

    So has anyone on this site actually gone through the system and taken sex education classes in public schools? Seems like no on really has (other than myself or sr. Olivia?).

    If there is anyone, I’d like to hear first hand accounts of what was taught to them.

    • K says:

      I grew up in the US in a Muslim home and had always attended public schools. In 5th grade sex ed, the girls and boys went into separate rooms and had separate presentations. The girls presentation consisted of a video that discussed the changes the female body goes through at puberty and about menstruation. We also had a nurse presentation about menstruation. I think it was suitable for young girls. However, after class, kids were talking about sex/pregnancy/condoms out of nowhere.

      In 6th grade, the class watched a video about HIV/AIDS and possibly other things which I missed and didn’t have to make up.

      In 7th grade, we learned the anatomy/physiology of both the male and female reproductive systems and about pregnancy. We also had a project where we were partnered up with a classmate of the opposite gender to take care of an egg for a week. Girls would often bring magazines that discussed sex and relationships to school and everyone would take turns reading them.

      In 8th grade we were supposed to watch a video of a woman giving birth in Health class, which Alhamdulillah, I missed. In my public middle school, a number of girls had already dropped out due to pregnancy. Many of the other girls had already had intimate relationships by that point.

      In 9th grade, we were supposed to learn even more about sex, and the Health teacher gave a presentation on how to put a condom on. There were forms parents could sign to exempt their kids from that portion of the class, but I was too embarrassed to ask my mom to sign the form. Any discussion of that nature was taboo in my house. So I signed my mom’s name on the form and was exempt from the class.

      After that point, we only learned anatomy/physiology of the reproductive systems in elective anatomy/ap bio class.

      In retrospect, I would have liked it if my mom had talked to me about the changes my body would go through during puberty…Even though I had learned it in school, when I began menstruating, I was crying in the bathroom for over an hour before I summed up the courage to go to my mother. And even then I couldn’t utter that taboo topic and she guessed what was “wrong” after a few minutes of my crying in her presence. She did reassure me that “this is what happens,” but it came off as something that must be endured and never spoken of/mentioned (kind of like what “happens” in marriage).

      PARENTS: Please, please, please do not neglect to be available to your children during the time that Allah has set for them to mature into adults. Because your children WILL feel lonely and helpless and will only be able to rely on other kids their age for questions/help, and everyone knows that’s far from the best way for them to grow up.

    • Umm Reem says:

      I wasn’t in US during junior high but during high school I was exempted…i think it was during our PE class. In any case, that was the pre-internet era. So whatever was taught remained limited to the class and the brochures.

      One day, while i was in 10 grade, i got off the school bus and a lot of people (now that i think about it they must have been form PPF or SIECUS) were standing outside the school passing out contraceptives and brochures. I had no clue what I was holding in my hand and before I made a fool of myself one of my the seniors (an agha khani) took the stuff from me and said “you wouldn’t need it!”

      One day my parents had taken me to my pediatrician for a regular check up, I was 14. After the check up, the pediatrician asked my parents to leave the room and wait in the waiting area. Then she asked me if I had attended the sex-ed class at school, when I told her I hadn’t and that I didn’t want to know either because my mom will not be very pleased if she find out. And she told me that “you have the right to know and decide not your mother!” (the doctor was originally pakistani!) And she said she she was “obliged” to tell me as a health-care requirement.

      The whole time I had my head down and I tried my best to “tune her out”. She tried to keep me engaged by asking question but I gave her weird answers. I can’t remember now why I did that. I didn’t want to disappoint my mother and I had a feeling that whatever this doctor is telling me is wrong. Alhamdullialh, wAllahi only Allah protected me!

      And then lastly, since i was going to a health profession school, we were shown a detailed movie during our senior year. I put my head down and slept. Later I copied my friend’s answers for the quiz…haha

      So alhamdullialh I didn’t learn anything from any of these exposures and I really do thank Allah firstly and then my parents.

      • F says:

        So it appears that most have not really gone through any kind of sex education in the schools but are going off second hand news and websites. Sort of reminds me of non-Muslims who read/hear about jihad and think that’s what the religion is all about.

        Umm Reem, for anyone coming from a Muslim country, even the word ‘sex’ is going to be offensive. So I can understand why many people who haven’t been through the school system are downright scared of it.

        Most, if not all schools, are very open to parents’ concerns. Why not ask the Muslim parents to visit their respective schools and ask what will be taught in sex education? And if there are subjects that are un-Islamic, lets pull the kids out. If not, leave them in.

        Wouldn’t that be a more practical and pragmatic approach instead of a knee jerk reaction based on fears of the ‘sex industry boogeyman?’

        Or at the very least speak with Muslim teachers and students who have actually gone through these classes to have a more accurate portrayal instead of relying solely on internet information.

        • Umm Reem says:

          F,

          I spent my pre/teen age years in US, in public schooling and have lived there since then…so I am not sure what you meant by being scared merely at the word “sex”. I am in fact encouraging the parents to talk OPENLY about sex and sexuality!

          Perhaps, if you read the entire series of the articles it will make more sense. There is a whole list of reasons why I am discouraging parents from allowing thier children to learn about sex and sexuality from other places, and this article is just a part of the reason…

          Besides, this article is mostly based on Dr. Grossman’s book who is a psychiatrist and her message is, “Sex-Ed is public schools is a 911 call for parents”. And it is not only her there is a whole team of MDs wbo believe this because of what they are seeing in clinics: tremendous increase in STIs, STDs, depressions, psychological disorders etc. etc. And if was after some research that they discovered it was mainly because of the distorted message of sex-ed organizations…

          Did you read SIECUS’s curriculum? Their complete curricula is available online.

          Would you mind if I ask you exactly when did you go to school? Because I cannot speak of the time before the internet, but internet itself has given sex industry far more freedom than ever before.

          Besides, that doctor who made an attempt to teach me about my rights in US, was not concerned whether or not my parents would approve of what she was going to tell me. In fact, i was encouraged to try and explore without telling my parents and was advised how and where i can get contraceptives without my parent’s knowledge should i need them. That message was coming from PPA…. And that was in 1991.

          PPA’s and SIECUS’s position has become worse !

          • F says:

            Jazakillah for the response umm Reem. I know it must take a lot of time to respond to each poster.

            “Would you mind if I ask you exactly when did you go to school? Because I cannot speak of the time before the internet, but internet itself has given sex industry far more freedom than ever before”

            I went to school in late 90s and early 2000s so in the internet age. My sex education classes were pretty tame for the most part and related to mostly anatomical changes of the body accompanied by discussions. Now, I’m not assuming my experience represents all schools in Canada (let alone US) because the subject matter can vary greatly from school to school.

            “I wasn’t in US during junior high but during high school I was exempted”
            You stated this earlier so it led me to assume you only came to the US in high school. Am I wrong?

            “Besides, this article is mostly based on Dr. Grossman’s book who is a psychiatrist and her message is, “Sex-Ed is public schools is a 911 call for parents”. And it is not only her there is a whole team of MDs wbo believe this because of what they are seeing in clinics: tremendous increase in STIs, STDs, depressions, psychological disorders etc. etc. And if was after some research that they discovered it was mainly because of the distorted message of sex-ed organizations”

            Maybe this book by Dr. Grossman has really compelling arguments which makes you believe so strongly a link between sex education and the resulting promiscuity. While I can see the openness of some sex education curriculum contributing to this phenomenon, as of now I have a hard time believing it is the driving force behind teenage pregnancies, STDs, etc.

            Once again, if you present some sort of evidence (ie. numbers, studies, etc) linking the two, I am open to changing my mind. The numbers can’t simply be “50% of teens have STDs” because it doesn’t prove it be a result of sex education. For all we know, it is the TV, advertisements, their own family teachings, or whatnot.

            One more question: did you speak with any Muslim teachers or students to see the ground reality before writing this article?

          • Umm Reem says:

            F, as i said i cannot speak for Canada. I don’t know what they teach you there.

            I went to school in late 90s and early 2000s so in the internet age.

            internet was still picking up speed at that time…people were still using dial ups and were still becoming familiar with world wide web!

            In any case, my article is for parents of our times and for kids going to schools now. Society is changing rapidly and so is what is being taught.

            “I wasn’t in US during junior high but during high school I was exempted”
            You stated this earlier so it led me to assume you only came to the US in high school. Am I wrong?

            What does this have to do with my article that I am writing now after living in US for more than two decades? Besides, I started high school early…when i was 12…please don’t ask me for my birth certificate now :)

            As for grossman’s book, it is just one source from a psychiatrist’s point of view and based on more than 100s of doctors’ observation… there is a lot available…I’m sure you can search and read esp. if you visit the sites i linked in the article.

            Sex-ed organizations, like the TV, movies and magazines, are just a part of the big sex industry in US

          • F says:

            Umm Reem, I am a proponent of home schooling if the conditions are right. But I am not a proponent of reactions based on incomplete information that take into account only the theoretical but not the practical side of things.

            Issues are rarely as black and white as we would like them to be.

          • Umm Reem says:

            F,
            all i can say is that if you read the entire series of this “parenting” you will realize that this is an effort of educating parents with good parenting skills inshaAllah. And, in last two parts I was specifically talking about Parent’s responsibility of providing proper Sex-ed (from an islamic and biological perspective). This particular part was added in response to the request of some parents (as i mentioned in the beginning of the article) asking specific questions about sex-ed in public schools.

            This is not a “reactionary” article. In next 2 series I have specifically discussed a brief “islamphized” version of sex-ed. As the last part of this article reads:
            “InshaAllah in next part we will discuss how we can educate our children about the following most commonly asked questions:

            What is the difference between a girl and a boy?
            Where do babies come from?
            Why can’t mommy pray?
            How does the baby get in mommy’s tummy?
            What is Sex?”

    • M says:

      I have.. I live in Canada and I don’t know if the curriculum here differs significantly from America’s (probably does) but I was taught same as Olivia was, where ‘sex ed’ classes were mostly about biological matters like reproduction, chromosomes, the women’s menstrual cycle, puberty, and just differences in male/female bodies. Nothing that could have “corrupted” me, as I said before; nothing encouraging sexual acts/etc.

      Then again, I don’t know if the curriculum has changed, or perhaps I was just saved from the horror stories I am reading here (alhumdulillah!)

      • Umm Reem says:

        I don’t know anything about Canada’s Sex-ed curriculum so I can’t speak for it. Would you mind if i ask you how long ago was when you went to school?

    • UA says:

      I lived a somewhat sheltered life, so it was actually my brother who taught me the very basics of this subject when I was in middle school. He said even though I was a girl, it was wrong to be left ignorant. Alhamdulillah, for a teenage boy he was extremely sensitive and modest in his approach.

      After that, whatever I learned was from biology textbooks so I understood the physical and biological aspects, but was comepletely clueless as to the social and psychological ramifications.

      I do not believe my ignorance affected my marriage at all, but then who knows if it would have been better to have a higher lever of understanding.

  18. jenan says:

    As a current teacher, it is fair to say when it comes to any issue or topic in islam especially this one…balance is the answer. The problem with the Muslims today is their approach to talking about any issue regardless of what is..no communication or “your gonna burn in hellfire” “haram haram haram”. That’s all kids today hear from their parents who for the most part are ill educated and rather dump their kids off society to raise them. The best way to answer this is really simple. Parents need to recognize that they are the most important “teachers” their child will ever have. I think its important for parents to keep the line of communication open for their children at all times. Parents need to be aware of what sex ed entails…ask for the program guide or packet at your kids schools. Sometimes it really is just a biology lesson. IT all depends on where you live. I know teenagers become very curious and inquisitive. (I taught middle school for 3 years.) Especially about this topic. And whether you like it or not as a parent, they need answers. Yes, I will just say it plainly and bluntly, You need to talk to your teenagers about sex and the reprecussions of premarital sex. Why do we wait to have sex before we get married. Why is it better for you. Also, how to deal with the temptations of sex all around them. Use the quran as a tool. Believe it or not the story of Yusuf, is a beautiful example.
    With regard to womens issues, thats part of the problem. Muslims countries are still stuck in the ice ages. I dont care what anyone says. Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and other muslims countries are humiliating to us and Islam period. Its true there are certain areas in those countries that are demeaning and oppressive to women…but why do those place still exist and why has it not been stopped. If the Prophet was alive, he’d be floored about the way women are treated. Saudi Arabia doesn’t even give women the right to drive. ENough said. Schools being blown up because girls are attending them is an insult to islam and our religion. These people are driving their society into the ground. A society cannot progress when half the population is being oppressed. If the women of your society remain ignorant, what happens to her children? The generation of ignorance continues. We need to stop pretending these problems dont exist and we need to stop blaming others for our problems. God will not change the condition of a people till they change the condition of themselves…enough said…

    • Umm Reem says:

      The best way to answer this is really simple. Parents need to recognize that they are the most important “teachers” their child will ever have. I think its important for parents to keep the line of communication open for their children at all times. Parents need to be aware of what sex ed entails…ask for the program guide or packet at your kids schools. Sometimes it really is just a biology lesson. IT all depends on where you live. I know teenagers become very curious and inquisitive. (I taught middle school for 3 years.) Especially about this topic. And whether you like it or not as a parent, they need answers. Yes, I will just say it plainly and bluntly, You need to talk to your teenagers about sex and the reprecussions of premarital sex. Why do we wait to have sex before we get married. Why is it better for you. Also, how to deal with the temptations of sex all around them. Use the quran as a tool.

      look out for the next few parts of the series inshaAllah :)

  19. be says:

    MashaAllah such an opening eye article I knew things were bad but not to the point of teaching toddlers “touching your private part is ok if it feels good” ….arudubilleh!

    I assume that those thing must be common in some big states such as NJ, Virginia etc…
    anyone who had personal experiences on that matter when sending their kids to school could share please… Jazak

    • HenaZuberi says:

      Just got back from our halaqah and one if the sisters shared how her five year was told by his teacher that. he was an egg inside his mother’s tummy ( without her knowledge) and how he should ask how he came out. This was without informing the mother before or after the event. This conversation should have taken place between the mother and child or a trusted Muslim teacher with the parents’ permission not in kindergarten.

      • Umm Reem says:

        Unfortunately that is the problem we are facing, especially with CA judge passing out the verdict that public schools can teach what they deem necessary, parents have lost “rights” over their kids education!

        There maybe schools where parents can develop a relationship with the teachers and find out teachers’ views and personally request not to teach more than what a parent has already talked about but it I don’t think it can be done “officially”

  20. ummMaryam says:

    salamu ‘alaikum,

    my son is in 4th grade in a public school and no sex ed. but we live in conservative christian country. 4th graders were supposed to have a one day session on hygiene this year, i took him off school just to be safe but the differences in gender thing comes up in 5th grade. i don’t plan to send him regardless, but not all schools have such extreme promotion of sexuality…maybe my son’s school is an exception. alhamdulillah

    • Umm Reem says:

      There are two types of “official” curricula: abstinence only and comprehensive…

      The problem is though that even with ‘abstinence only’ sex-ed class, they do refer to their websites for additional information and questions and then there is no limit to it. And even if those parents who monitor their children’s computer activities at home, can’t keep them from learning form the other students who have unrestricted access to the internet at home.

      So really the sex-ed “industry’ has become free bird with the invention of internet, unfortunately!

      • ulya says:

        Exactly! :) and sister ummMaryam, only out of a sincere concern for your child i would also like to point out that preventing him from going to the class will not solve the problem altogether. He would still go to school the next day and the other students will feel that they have to fill him in on all the ‘”valuable” information he has not been able to receive.
        With the kind of media that the kids of today are exposed to, parents have to come out and communicate with them and tell them what is right and what is wrong. e.g you have to tell your child that its NOT ok to be a homosexual (the Quran again would be blessing while doing that) because if parents won;t come out and tell them that, they would very easily believe what the media these days is trying to teach; that homosexuality is a part of your identity and it your right to choose your sexual orientation, if anyone (including your parents) thinks contrary to that its their problem not yours!

        • Ayesha says:

          @Ulya: Agreed – simply not sending your child to school is not going to absolve him from all the sexuality that exists all over the place. Sexuality is meant to peak curiosity and if we don’t give our children the respect they deserve to learn about their bodies, they will feel free to experiment, search the internet, ask their friends, do whatever it takes to quench their thirst for knowledge. parents are doing a great disservice by 1) dissing the sex ed system in schools, rather than talking with teachers and administrators about what will be discussed and 2) not sending their children to school that day and 3) pretending that just because we are muslim, such issues don’t exist.

          I highly disagree with Umm Reem’s technique of demagoguery and I find it appalling that you are trying to get a rise using scare tactics.

          Do you even live in this country? Do you not have any idea of what is already going on?

  21. J.M. says:

    One last point, some people on here are claiming that certain countries don’t have problems and that the media generalizes too much putting the focus on those particular countries. But lets be honest. While western and European countries have their problems, you don’t see girls schools being attack, acid being thrown on women, so-called honor killings. In America or the West, when you kill or rape a person, you get arrested and there is court of law. In Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, India, the middle East, Iran, and Afghanistan, Im sorry thats not the case. Usually a rape victim is the one who is solely blamed while the attacker runs scotch free. They manipulate sharia at their convenience and thats the God honest truth. Just because you know someone from those countries who are educated, so what. I’m looking at the population and government as a whole. In Saudi Arabia, parents had to watch a school of girls burn down with the girls inside because the girls did not have their hijab. Those girls were 9 year olds. The religious police ordered the girls to return to the burning building and burn to death. The parents were forced to watch their daughters burn to death! THIS IS INSANITY. How do you think that makes us look to others? I’m of Arab descent. I have no shame in admitting it. We are a community who is crying out for reform. You can’t compare and say well i’m from those countries and I am educated. No you live in the west and you were educated in the west.
    I’m also a teacher. I tend to look at statistics. Education in those countries are stagnant and poverty is rising high. We (Muslim countries) don’t even make it on the charts. It’s pretty pathetic that not one muslim country out of the tens has an adequate education system. What has been our latest contribution to modern society? Our last major contribution was 500 years ago! This is not good. STOP living in the clouds and start looking at our reality. If we don’t recognize that as a community we need to encounter real relevant change, we will continue on this downward spiral of stagnation.
    Islam is a religion of science, medicine, love, faith, freedom, and excellence. It is a complete way of life whose sole purpose is to enhance and lighten existence. Unlike christianity, islam and science have always worked hand in hand more in complimentary and less contradictory. What happened? More importantly, how can I alter it and become that agent of change?

    • J.M. says:

      We can’t keep using the Golden age…The golden age is over and that generation made its glorious impact. What will our generation’s impact be known for? We can keep our values and faith in ISLAM firmly intact and progress at the same time. It is achievable. We just have to work really hard and start by bettering our local communities. As for the Middle East, alhamdillah their people have risen up and spoken. They are dying for what we living in west take for granted; and that is the opportunity to better. May Allah be with them.

  22. AbdulMujeeb says:

    Jzk Umm reem.
    Tears filled me eyes as i confirmed those website. We’re in deep trouble. The youth today that does not commit illegal sexual intercourse is indeed A STRANGER. Please Umm Reem could you write a book, may be a combination of all ur series on this topic or better still a book for the Muslim youth that can neutralize all the nonsense we’re being taught in the name of sex education. I was once a peer educator in my Secondary school. We had this ABC acronym we were taught which stood for Abstinence, Be faithful to your patner and Condom but I decided to change it to Always Be Chaste. I think there is a BIG DIFFERENCE between one being a VIRGIN and one being CHASTE. don’t you?

  23. 'liya says:

    I’m a high school teacher…
    I don’t know about in the States but in Canada males and females have seperate health classes. In middle school the boys are usually taken into one room with a male teacher and the girls to another with a female teacher. The information is given in a mature manner and although I can only speak about the girls (of course I wasn’t in the boys room), most girls were too shy to talk about anything after anyways. We were given the basic info about birth that someone going through puberty should know about. Maybe because children (including Muslim chidlren) are going through puberty earlier now it’s important that they understand their bodies and the body’s functions. I don’t have any children, but if I had a daughter I’d definitely want her to be aware of her body as it goes through changes and understand the differences between hers and a males body because this is a life changing time for girl. This is information that a mother (or older sister/aunt/grandmother if there’s no mother) should be able to sit down and discuss with the girl. Otherwise she will use the Internet and no matter what kind of school you send that child to, she will always have the internet at her fingertips and you can’t moniter that 24/7 …Muslim child or not.

    I went to a high school of more than 2000 students and I only knew of one girl who got pregnant. Some of the comments here make it seem like girl after girl after girl drops out because of early pregnancies. That’s ridiculous. I’m not sure what the age range of people commenting here are but it sure sounds like there’s a lot of assumptions from people who never did attend a high school in the West or are just relying on information from a “friend” who attended public school. We all know how much teens love to exaggerate and be dramatic, Muslim teens do this too. There are so many quoted parts in this article that really don’t make sense and I can assure those parents out there who are feeling scared after reading this article that those things aren’t even taught!! I mean come on, 5 years old and having sexual fantasies? — this site does one thing really well, public school bashing.

    Instead of scaring others away from public school, how about just educating how Muslim parents can talk to their children? Comments saying that the best thing one can do is pull their children from school don’t help. How can running away from a problem solve anything? The majority of Muslim parents who send their children to public schools will never be able to send their children to private Islamic schools. It costs money. It’s not news that the Muslim community isn’t a financially able one. Look at the amount of low income Somali families in the rougher areas of Toronto, is it realistic to hope that they all pull their children from public school and send them to a school where they have to pay a tuition? No.

    Why not organize a group of mothers – Christian, Muslim, whatever it is, petition it is whatever you feel most strongly about? Schools listen to parents because parents = money and they don’t want to lose that. Get to know the people in your community and find out who would be on your side to have discussion groups after school with your teen. You don’t have to be living in a Muslim community to find other parents who will agree with your values. Teens learn best with their friends, others who are going through similar things in life, so get your child together with other children who you feel are respectable people in your community and get them to take part in activities that include their parents. This could be a mother in the community teaching girls to knit (we did this at the school I teach at – it IS possible to take action), it could be a father teaching boys about car parts, whatever their interests are, then get them to open up and discuss sex ed in an environment where nobody needs to hide behind books or brochures left awkwardly in their teens room. Nobody learns from a book.

    Just some practical suggestions…

    • Umm Reem says:

      Liya, you are talking about Canada.. My work is based on US, so we can’t compare.

      Some of the comments here make it seem like girl after girl after girl drops out because of early pregnancies.

      No, but in US:

      – There is a young person getting infected by genital bacteria and virus every 3.5 seconds (guttmacher institute ‘facts on STDs in US, aug 2006)

      – According to 2008 report from the federal Centers of Disease Control: one in four adolescent girls in US has a STI (when this fact hit the news CDC called it a “wake up call”)

      – Almost half of high school students nationwide and about 62% of students in 12th grade have had sexual intercourse. (this was done in 2005. Based on statistics I am sure I can say that it must have increased in 6 years)

      – 3.2 million American girls have an STI

      Did you ever wonder why more than 26 of our states are planning to make HPV vaccine (against STDs) mandatory. In some states, 6th graders, 11 year old girls, are required/highly recommended to take this shot…(Some states have opt-out options)…

      • Umm Reem says:

        There are so many quoted parts in this article that really don’t make sense and I can assure those parents out there who are feeling scared after reading this article that those things aren’t even taught!! I mean come on, 5 years old and having sexual fantasies? — this site does one thing really well, public school bashing.

        it is all authentically quoted from the official US sex-ed organizations’ websites and their curriculum. please verify it before you claim they are not true!

        Instead of scaring others away from public school, how about just educating how Muslim parents can talk to their children? Comments saying that the best thing one can do is pull their children from school don’t help. How can running away from a problem solve anything?

        sister, I don’t think you read the entire series!

        • 'liya says:

          Thank you for the reply :)
          No I didn’t read the rest of the series, this post just caught my attention because of the title… as I’m a teacher. Perhaps you’re right, we can’t compare schools because we’re in different countries. I forget how different things are there even though you’re our neighbour. I don’t know much about education in America except from watching movies, reading a few articles here and there (and from what other teachers have said about hor horrible schools are) and if the schools are anything like potrayed in teen movies then I would never send any children there!

          • 'liya says:

            But anyways – maybe there’s a few things schools down there can learn from their northern neighbours? Our sex ed classes are pretty tame. I have a friend who teaches physical education at the middle school level and nothing of any sort is taught in elementary schools, besides the fact that girls and boys use different washrooms…

            I actually enjoyed health classes because it meant we didn’t have to have gym and could sit and write instead :)

            I think getting to know the teachers of your children and school admin is still key. They will always listen to what parents have to say. Everyone wants to please the parents.

  24. skeptical says:

    Jazak Allah Khair for this article and all the different points of view.

    As a parent, it’s horrific to realize what our children are exposed to in the western countries and even more devastating, unfortunately, is what they are exposed to in some Muslim countries.

    I do agree with talking to your own children and educating them about sex (among other things). No matter how uncomfortable the topic may be, it is very important for parents to educate themselves about this topic and develop a level of comfort with it, prior to engaging in a conversation with their children. It is necessary to this because we’re all faced with 3 options:
    1. Seclude out children, thus ourselves, from society all together (restricting them to family members can be perilous as evident in the articles titled “Sex and the Umma”.
    2. Educate ourselves and our children.
    3. Let society (regardless of where you live) educate ourselves.

    Since option # 1 is highly unlikely, realistically we’re left with only two choices. I find it amazing that when a child is born, we’re so eager to teach them manners, ABC’s, how to socialize, etc…, but when it comes to sex education, we so often pass the buck. It’s either the husband’s place, or the wife’s or school, or friends, or my favorite: ” they will learn when they need to, everyone always does. It’s not something we need to discuss with our child. There’s a parda (curtain) between a child and parent and they should always remain in it’s place”. ( I was actually told that from a Pakistani born, American raised (since KG) friend, who had all of her education in American Public schooling, now a mother of kids in public school.

    About who should speak to the child in a Muslim household, there is no right answer. At the end of the day it’s your child, thus your responsibility.
    The “desi bashing” mentioned in the above comments is not completely false. It is just the reality of our times. I have personally lived in Pakistan,attended college, university and taught high school English. Needless to say I don’t consider myself “lower class”. Most people are uncomfortable with speaking about this topic. Even educated women resort to living in the comfort of a doll’s house, where they don’t like to rock the boat.
    It’s a taboo society where double standards are only too prevalent.
    Anyhow, at the end of the day, no matter how you look at it, the topic here, your child, your responsibility, your choice.

  25. zuma says:

    great article! a lot of those things are unfortunately out there but…

    I am going to have to disagree with the point where the sister said that this is taught in our schools. I went to public school all my life and I was kept from learning sex ed in the 7/8th grade by my mother which i regret on her part because I Feel we wouldve had a better relationship. When I did take a few of the classes there was nothing that was taught that is being said in the article.

    My aunt who came from saudi arabia/pakistan was asking me and my brother if she should have her son learn the sex-ed and he was in 5th grade. We told her that she should due to a lot of reasons and he is starting to go through puberty so we told her that to build a good relationship with her son she should show her son that feelings like this aren’t bad as we tend to be taught. Also, the sex-ed in schools are mainly about anatomy and what will happen when one gets her period or when a boy has his first wet dream.

    I know fairly well that those organizations are out there and they have things like that, but none of that is getting into the school curriculum. all those things are on the internet and magazines,etc. I’m just defending schools here because I am starting to get irritated how parents that homeschool their children seem to look for excuses to not send their children to schools/ public schools. I’m not saying thats the purpose of this article, but that first part where it was said that this is what is being taught in our schools, etc is way off from fact.

    • Umm Reem says:

      I don’t have the time to copy paste the comprehensive curriculum from SIECUS and PPA’s websites but it is available online on their sites. So please feel free to check it out. Also check out their surveys that they pass out…

      I am not denying that your school only taught anatomy lessons…it depends when you went to middle/high school and also where. There are some schools that still support the abstinence only curriculum.

    • Umm Reem says:

      I’m just defending schools here because I am starting to get irritated how parents that homeschool their children seem to look for excuses to not send their children to schools/ public schools. I’m not saying thats the purpose of this article, but that first part where it was said that this is what is being taught in our schools, etc is way off from fact.

      :) i don’t think those parents who are homeschooling are trying to find “excuses”, I think they are very concerned parents who are making an effort to protect their children as much as they can and are investing their time very wisely :)

      • F says:

        But the attacks on public education systems (some justified, others exaggerated, few imagined) feel like attempts to justify their actions.

        Public education will remain the dominant method of teaching for Muslims in the near future (for better or worse). Perhaps attempts should be made to give tips/suggestions to parents on how to deal with the system and bring changes in it instead of preaching mass abandonment which is unrealistic.

        • Umm Reem says:

          F,

          did you even read the entire series of my article?

          • F says:

            Yes, I did at least half of the articles and found them to be very beneficial.
            Keep up the excellent work. It’s important to keep an open mind about issues and make it a discussion with the audience instead of a one way street where we are simply expected to accept everything written.

  26. Umm Reem says:

    I am requoting from part V of this article:

    An elementary school passed out a survey in CA in 2006 asking questions that parents may not necessarily have discussed with their children:

    “The survey asked children aged seven to ten about the frequency of: “Touching my private parts too much,” “Thinking about having sex,” “Thinking about touching other people’s private parts,” Thinking about sex when I don’t want to,” “Not trusting people because they might want sex,” “Getting scared or upset when I think about sex,” “Having sex feelings in my body,” and “Can’t stop thinking about sex.”

    This was passed out without parent’s knowledge. 7 parents objected (out of the entire school) actually filed a law suit against the school and lost because the judge believed:
    “public schools have the right to administer sex instruction to any children, at any time and in any manner, notwithstanding the objections of their parents.”

    http://www.academia.org/elementary-school-sex-survey/

    • Nadiah says:

      I am sorry to hear this survey was passed out in California. There are ethical implications to collecting data from minors, which is why respectable research with publishable data are subject to Institutional Review Boards. Unfortunately, it sounds like these researchers did not go through the IRB – had they gone through – they would have been required to have parental consent before administering the survey.

      On a larger note, I find your article troublesome and inaccurate. I wrote a response here: Our latest article on altmuslimah.com: http://www.altmuslimah.com/a/b/rsa/4302/

      The thing is, with many of the scenarios you reference, including this one, do not support your claim that sex ed itself is what is causing increased promiscuity. This survey is not part of any ethical study, and therefore should never have happened. Sex ed in and of itself is not the problem, its all these other things, like this survey, the media, hypersexualized youth that is causing the problems, not sex education.

      • Yusuf Patel says:

        I posted some questions and queries to sister Nadiah in relation to her article on AltMuslimah, as that article was a response to this one I thought it would be useful to post that comment here as well.

        I agree with your concerns about opposition to sex education. I believe young people need to be able to reconcile themselves with the society in which they live, they are bombarded with sexual imagery which is shaping their view of what healthy human sexuality should be. Where I take issue with your thesis is that you seem to suggest any sex education is better than no sex education. This undermines the need for Muslim children and young people to have values and boundaries by which they can make decisions. The problem with a lot of sex education programs is they are not grounded in values but are merely designed to impart information about contraceptive use. Indeed your article seemingly speaks of nothing else and I find this troubling.

        I have some questions about some of the research you have quoted, I would be grateful if you could clarify some of

        Concerning the Guttmacher research,
        How would you define comprehensive sex education? How many different types of sex education programs did this study lump together? You yourself argue, quite correctly, that different schools use different programs, therefore how can a single conclusion be made from studying the broad spectrum of approaches?

        You conclude that more sex education is better than less or none and you refer to research which seemingly proves this, to arrive at this conclusion the study you refer to should have compared two controlled groups, a group that was given sex education and a group that was not given any formal sex education. Was this the case with this study?

        You say that researchers have attributed the decrease in STI/teen pregnancy rates to comprehensive sex education, can you point to the research where the correlation between these two variables has been proven so that causation can be established?

        You say,
        “Ironically, STI and teen pregnancy rates have increased due to teens’ lack of information or belief in wrong information, stemming from abstinence-only sex education, or even no sex education at all. The 2006-2008 National Survey of Family Growth reveals that as many as 46% of sexually experienced males and 33% of sexually experienced females did not receive formal instruction about contraception before they first had sex . A 2009 study conducted by the National Campaign to End Unplanned Pregnancy indicates that among teens aged 18-19, 41% report that they know little or nothing about condoms and 75% say they know little or nothing about the contraceptive pill.”

        I do not doubt these statistics; I am more interested in proven correlation and causality.
        Has the causation been proven? Does the mere circumstance of not receiving sex education lead to a higher rate of STIs and teen pregnancy?

        Does access to contraception lead to less teenage pregnancy and STIs? Which peer reviewed research suggests that is the case.

        By the way how affective is condom use to guard against pregnancy in teens and to fend off STIs?
        Do you believe that if a parent believes that the sex education their child will be exposed to in school will be harmful to them they should consider removing them? Or do you believe any sex education is better than the humble attempts of a parent or no sex education.

        Do you think it would be better to advocate a more open approach by Muslim parents and geographically dispersed communities than to accept the status quo and all that it entails for a child’s Islamic identity and character?

        I’m grateful for your time and answers.

        Yusuf

        • Nadiah says:

          Salams Thank you for your post and for your
          interest in this topic. I will try to answer all your concerns in a concise
          way.
          [How would you define comprehensive sex education? How many different
          types of sex education programs did this study lump together? You yourself argue, quite correctly, that different schools use different programs, therefore how can a single conclusion be made from studying the broad spectrum of approaches? ]

          Most people define comprehensive sex education as a program that
          emphasizes the benefits of abstinence while also teaching about contraception
          and disease-prevention methods. A good comprehensive sex ed program also has a
          role-playing, decisionmaking, and life skills component, to encourage critical
          thinking skills during adolescence and teaching kids to make more responsible
          decisions regarding their sexuality. There is little evidence that
          abstinence-only programs are successful in encouraging teens from delaying
          sexuality activity until married, and consequently avoiding pregnancy, STIs or
          HIV. disease-prevention methods, has been proven to
          reduce rates of teen pregnancy and STD infection. Comprehensive sex ed
          programs, however, have been proven time and time again to be effective in
          reducing the following: pregnancy rates, STIs, as well as risky sexual
          activity. There is no evidence showing that youth who receive comprehensive sex
          education engage in sexual activity earlier, and more importantly, there is
          evidence that they are safer about it (ie use contraception) when they do
          engage in sexual activity. As for how these studies (and there are many many of
          them) come to this conclusion – most clinical research studies that are
          evaluating the effectiveness of something have a control group and a variable
          group, and they control all other factors. So, the way studies that are
          evaluating the effectiveness of comprehensive sex programs would have two
          populations to look at: one that receives the intervention (in this case
          comprehensive sex ed) and one that doesn’t (in this case, either abstinence only or no education at all) Then,
          they control for all other factors, and try to make the both populations as
          identical as possible so as to reach statistically significant results proving
          their hypothesis (in this case, that comprehensive sex ed programs are reducing
          pregnancy and STIs). If you’re interested, all of the studies I cited are
          available here: http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs
          If you go to the resources section, you will find all the studies and their
          references and can probably find them at most libraries if you are interested
          in reading the details of the researchers methodology and results.

          [You say that researchers have attributed the decrease in STI/teen pregnancy rates to comprehensive sex education, can you point to the research where the correlation between these two variables has been proven
          so that causation can be established?]
          Please refer to the above link, as well as this
          article: http://www.liebertonline.com/d
          [“Ironically, STI and teen pregnancy rates have increased due to teens’ lack of information or belief in wrong information, stemming from abstinence-only sex education, or even no sex education at all. The 2006-2008 National Survey of Family Growth reveals that as many as 46% of sexually experienced males and 33% of sexually experienced females did not receive formal instruction about contraception before they first had sex . A 2009 study conducted by the National Campaign to End Unplanned Pregnancy indicates that among teens aged 18-19, 41% report that they know little or nothing about condoms and 75% say they know little or
          nothing about the contraceptive pill.”I do not doubt these statistics; I am more interested in proven correlation and

          causality.]

          I think the research speaks for itself. The
          majority of these studies reveal statistically significant results, showing a
          correlation between comprehensive sex ed and reduced pregnancy and STI rates.

          [Has the causation been proven? Does the mere circumstance of not
          receiving sex education lead to a higher rate of STIs and teen pregnancy?]

          Yes, many studies have also looked at the value and effectiveness of
          abstinence-only programs and have determined that those programs are not
          reducing the rate of STIs and teen pregnancy

          [Does access to contraception lead to less teenage pregnancy and STIs?
          Which peer reviewed research suggests that is the case.]

          Yes. Several. Pls see above references.

          [By the way how affective is condom use to guard against pregnancy in teens and to fend off STIs?]

          Some stats about condom use: In one year, only two
          of every 100 couples who use condoms consistently and correctly will experience
          an unintended pregnancy—two pregnancies arising from an estimated 8,300 acts of
          sexual intercourse, for a 0.02 percent per-condom pregnancy rate.[3] and In one year with perfect
          use, 95 percent of women relying on the female condom will remain pregnancy
          free. With typical use, 79 percent relying on female condoms will remain
          pregnancy free.[3]

          For STI facts, it’s a little
          different depending on the STI you are talking about. Please see: http://www.advocatesforyouth.o
          but the overall conclusion is that condoms are effective barriers.

          [Do you believe that if a parent believes that the sex education their child
          will be exposed to in school will be harmful to them they should consider
          removing them? Or do you believe any sex education is better than the humble
          attempts of a parent or no sex education.]

          I think this is an important part of a student’s curriculum that parents should
          be involved in. Most public schools have informational sessions for parents
          about what will and will not be taught during sex education. If they do choose
          to remove the child from sex education, that is there prerogative, though I
          highly suggest that they provide them with that same information at home. Receiving
          no sex education is a disservice to youth. Not only because of peer pressure
          and the rampant sexual experimentation and sexual abuse that is out there, but
          also because it is important for them to know their bodies, be familiar and
          comfortable for them for when they are married. We have encountered so many anecdotes
          about married young women, who took months, sometimes years, to consummate
          their marriages because of their discomfort with their bodies and with
          sexuality. That’s a discussion for another day, but just think about what
          implications that has on marriage in general. But going back to the sexual
          experimentation and abuse, the reality is: our Muslim youth are engaging in
          sexual activity more often than we think, and many of them are also survivors
          of sexual violence. For this reason alone, it is important to empower our youth
          with education, information and resources so that they can protect themselves
          when they have to make difficult choices (or when something is forced upon
          them)

          [Do you think it would be better to advocate a more open approach by Muslim parents and geographically dispersed communities than to accept the status quo and all that it entails for a child’s Islamic identity and character?]

          I’m not sure I understand your question.
          But you mentioned earlier that sex ed programs do not have values attached to
          them. This is not true. The majority of comprehensive sex ed programs do not
          deny the benefits of abstinence and delaying sex. However, the writers of the
          curriculum have to be realistic in that there will always b youth who do not
          abstain. Therefore, talking about contraception, STI prevention, healthy
          relationships and decisionmaking skills is key. In addition, I mention that
          strong parental communication is also key. Because we live in a western
          society, and we send our kids to public schools that can not endorse any
          religious values, it is essential for parents to also emphasize at home what
          Islam has to say about sexuality and intimacy and why we have the values we do.
          This is key if we want our children to understand and uphold their values.

          I hope this has been of help. Please feel free to continue the
          discussion.

          • Yusuf Patel says:

            Wa alaikum salam,

            Thank you for taking the time to respond. I’d like to make a few points in reply to your answers, insha Allah I will try and relay more of my own opinions about sex education than I did in my previous post.

            I believe comprehensive sex education can be dangerous as it supposedly promotes delay (not abstinence) whilst at the same time promoting the use of contraceptive methods. This sends a very dangerous message to its intended recipients, our children.

            The problem with comprehensive sex education is that it does not deliver what young people need and that is boundaries. I fully subscribe to the need to deliver sex education and I often challenge those that disagree. It is from Islamic teaching to prepare children for the changes that they will go through but this must reflect their age, maturity and any teaching must not surrender itself to the state of the society around it. What I mean by this is, children are exposed to sexual messages, as you yourself have mentioned in your article, they are exposed to media messages that glorify sexual experimentation, whether that be through teen dramas, peer pressure, advertising, lurid Music videos and even pornography accessible through a smart phone. I believe that the Muslim community and Muslim parents in particular have to be active in counteracting these messages. I know you highlight culture as being an obstacle to parents being upfront about these matters, but we have to recognise this is where this has to start. The solution is not give in to conclusion that it is inevitable that young people will engage in early sexual experimentation, there is no situation that is inevitable and we must look to the many young people Muslim and non-Muslim that have saved sex for marriage.

            You seem to treat abstinence education with disdain, I agree that conventional abstinence education has a lot to be desired, just expecting all of our young people to say no without equipping them to navigate the difficult terrain around them is unrealistic, but convincing them through active parenting, through community initiatives that allow all of our young people to ask open questions and in return they should be given answers that speak about other than ‘do it, but please remain healthy’.

            Studies suggest the following:

            High parental expectations are associated with postponing sex

            The more liberal teens believe their mothers are the more likely they are to have sex and the more sexual partners they tend to have

            Girls that have closer relationships with their mother are less likely to have sex and daughters are less likely to have sex when their mothers discussed the negative consequences of pre-marital sex and delay for moral reasons

            Practicing a religion in adolescence is associated with lower rates of teen sex

            More unsupervised time with groups of peers or with a member of the opposite sex is associated with sexual behaviour

            Junior high and middle school-aged girls in the Best Friends program are six and a half times less likely to have sex compared to their peers in D.C public schools, these are abstinence programs

            There are many factors that can lead to reducing teen pregnancy rates and instances of STIs/STDs. This means that just saying comprehensive sex education is the answer is not correct. What we need to do is reach a balance that deals with the hidden problems in our community but also conforms to values we hold dear such as marriage, not as one of many possibilities but as the goal.

            Many years ago we believed that the teen brain is the same as the adult brain, but in recent years scientists have discovered a crucial difference between the two. One major difference is that in teens the frontal lobes have not yet fully connect and recent studies show the neural insulation is not complete well into the mid-20s. The frontal lobes are an important part of the brain that deals with consequences. Does this not tell us we are expecting too much in our young people if we are leaving life changing decisions in their hands at a time where they cannot yet work through the consequences of their actions.

            If we also appreciate this we should also re-think the safe sex message, condom use is not the answer, your statistics about condom use is as you said, based upon perfect use rather than actual use and relevant mainly in situations related to committed relationships, when we factor in casual encounters in the heat of the moment and between teens, the percentage goes down significantly.
            I believe very strongly as a parent first and foremost, but also as someone involved in my local community, that we have to do more for our children and that we have to, as you also say, uphold our own values with our children. We cannot give in to the belief that sexual experimentation amongst the young is an inevitability, and we need to talk about these issues so that parents recognise their important role in inculcating Islamic values amongst their children and if they are unable or unwilling to do this there have to be initiatives created locally, by masaajid and Islamic institutions to fill in this gap.

            Thank you for your contributions, they have been thought provoking and I hope we can continue this discussion.

            Wassalam
            Yusuf

  27. Umm Reem says:

    For those who claim sex-ed is merely a bio lesson:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/06/AR2008030603536.html

    This effort was initiated by a physician named Ruth Jacobs who, in2005, reviewed a video being shown to tenth graders as part of newly devised Family Life and Human development course in MD public schools. She concluded that the video was dangerously misleading. She appealed to the Board of Education to add and alter information based on Medical and Health facts.

    To make a very long story short, regardless of her consistent meetings/appeals along with the members of Citizens of Responsible Curriculum (CRC) and petitions signed by OVER 270 MDs, no changes were made in Montgomery County.

  28. Yusuf Patel says:

    Some observations and questions posed to sister Nadiah concerning her article “How to Teach American Muslim Youth About Sexuality”. I thought it would be useful to post them here as this article was in response to Umm Reem’s original article.

    I agree with your concerns about opposition to sex education. I believe young people need to be able to reconcile themselves with the society in which they live, they are bombarded with sexual imagery which is shaping their view of what healthy human sexuality should be. Where I take issue with your thesis is that you seem to suggest any sex education is better than no sex education. This undermines the need for Muslim children and young people to have values and boundaries by which they can make decisions. The problem with a lot of sex education programs is they are not grounded in values but are merely designed to impart information about contraceptive use. Indeed your article seemingly speaks of nothing else and I find this troubling.

    I have some questions about some of the research you have quoted, I would be grateful if you could clarify some of

    Concerning the Guttmacher research,

    How would you define comprehensive sex education? How many different types of sex education programs did this study lump together? You yourself argue, quite correctly, that different schools use different programs, therefore how can a single conclusion be made from studying the broad spectrum of approaches?

    You conclude that more sex education is better than less or none and you refer to research which seemingly proves this, to arrive at this conclusion the study you refer to should have compared two controlled groups, a group that was given sex education and a group that was not given any formal sex education. Was this the case with this study?

    You say that researchers have attributed the decrease in STI/teen pregnancy rates to comprehensive sex education, can you point to the research where the correlation between these two variables has been proven so that causation can be established?

    You say,
    “Ironically, STI and teen pregnancy rates have increased due to teens’ lack of information or belief in wrong information, stemming from abstinence-only sex education, or even no sex education at all. The 2006-2008 National Survey of Family Growth reveals that as many as 46% of sexually experienced males and 33% of sexually experienced females did not receive formal instruction about contraception before they first had sex . A 2009 study conducted by the National Campaign to End Unplanned Pregnancy indicates that among teens aged 18-19, 41% report that they know little or nothing about condoms and 75% say they know little or nothing about the contraceptive pill.”

    I do not doubt these statistics; I am more interested in proven correlation and causality.
    Has the causation been proven? Does the mere circumstance of not receiving sex education lead to a higher rate of STIs and teen pregnancy?

    Does access to contraception lead to less teenage pregnancy and STIs? Which peer reviewed research suggests that is the case.

    By the way how affective is condom use to guard against pregnancy in teens and to fend off STIs?
    Do you believe that if a parent believes that the sex education their child will be exposed to in school will be harmful to them they should consider removing them? Or do you believe any sex education is better than the humble attempts of a parent or no sex education.

    Do you think it would be better to advocate a more open approach by Muslim parents and geographically dispersed communities than to accept the status quo and all that it entails for a child’s Islamic identity and character?

    I’m grateful for your time and answers.

    Yusuf

  29. AnonyMousey says:

    Something to note is that perhaps a distinction should be made on what the sex-ed “curriculum” is – as in, what is stated as being taught to the kids – and what ends up actually discussed during the sex-ed classes.

    For example, I do remember that when I was in grades 4 and 5 in public school, they had a sex-ed class that I was exempted from. What I gathered from my classmates was that the “actual” class was about biology (the usual video about anatomy, diagrams, etc.), but what came afterwards in the Q&A discussion is what veered into talking about things like masturbation, homosexuality, sex acts, etc.

  30. Nadiah says:

    In response to your comment above (for some reason I can’t reply to it:

    Salams
    I think you have misunderstood me. I am not opposed to emphasizing an abstinence only message at home and as a community. In fact, that is imperative if we want our kids to uphold these values.As such, I said several times in the article and above in my comments that comprehensive sex ed is most effective in combination w parental involvement and communication. And comprehensive sex does promote abstinence, and emphasizes that abstinence is the best method to protecting yourself.Regarding the parental influence. I completely agree and am aware and strongly believe that parents can have a stronger influence over their kids than their peers. In fact, the university of oklahoma just released the Youth Assets study – a studying following 1100 families over the course of four years – and showed that very thing – kids who have strong parental communication are 8 times more likely to delay sex. So, I completely agree with you that parents have a lot of influence.I also am aware of the prefrontal cortex development, its something I talk w my parents a lot when I give talks. That is why parental communication is even more important – teaching our kids to critically think through their own or their peers actions, understanding them and the context of them, and reaching a strong sense of self is really important for them to be responsible and remain abstinent. None of this is possible without parental.communicationI think we are saying similar things. Umm reem ‘s argument was about sex ed in public schools and how it was an industry promoting sexuality and endangering people’s health, and I still contend that sex ed is not the reason we have teen pregnancy and high sti rates, but rather the hypersexualized society we live in. I am all for parents beginning this dialog – its all I talk about when I work with them. But, there is still a value in the comprehensive sex ed programs in this country, and denying our youth knowledge abt their bodies is unreasonable and unfair. I have never heard of a sex ed program that promotes having sex over abstinence. But I have heard of parents not reinforcing that message at home.

    • Yusuf Patel says:

      Assalamualaikum,

      With all due respect you are saying an abstinence only approach is fine at home and in the community, but ‘comprehensive’ sex education must be taught in schools and you decry any parent that does not support this. Comprehensive sex education promotes the worst excesses in society as it gives a green light to experimentation. Any semblance of abstinence education is cancelled out as soon as contraception is promoted as it offers a window of opportunity to sexually experiment. I am supportive of parents that shield their children from the marketing of contraception. I think through your own words you have proved Umm Reem to be correct, as the message of comprehensive sex education prevalent in public schools does provide a green light to sexual experimentation and the claim of abstinence promotion is a sham. I am shocked that there is an absence of a promotion of Islamic values for our children in your message. Islam mandates the teaching of knowledge to our children based upon understanding and maturity and promotes a deep love of children combined with a need to provide clear boundaries of behaviour, that sex is not dirty but a natural act that must remain within marriage between a husband and wife.

      I do not believe sexual experimentation is inevitable for our young people, no behavioral trait is inevitable. Every one of us make choices and act upon those choices and we live with the consequences of our choices. Our young Muslim brothers and sisters are more vulnerable than we are, they need to be nurtured with Islamic values as the antidote to sexual exploitation in society and school. I know many young people that disprove your lack of faith in their willpower and desire to uphold Islamic values, they are a living embodiment of the fact that the only safe sex approach is through marriage. That is missing from your discourse and that is what our vulnerable children need the most.

      Wassalam

      Yusuf

      • Nadiah says:

        Salams

        [I think through your own words you have proved Umm Reem to be correct, as the message of comprehensive sex education prevalent in public schools does provide a green light to sexual experimentation and the claim of abstinence promotion is a sham.]

        I do not recall ever saying that comprehensive sex ed provides a green light to sexual experimentation. Nor have I denied the importance of promoting Islamic values to our children. But that is not the job of the schools, unless your child attends an Islamic school. The schools are not supposed to promote Islamic values. In fact, it is illegal for them to do so, just like they are not supposed to promote Christian values. The schools are only supposed to promote abstinence, which they do, even in comprehensive sex ed programs.

        I agree with RenKiss on altmuslimah (http://www.altmuslimah.com/a/b/rsa/4302#disqus_thread), not every kid is going to uphold his faith or his values, and we must be realistic in addressing that. We can continue to teach our kids to the best of our abilities, but after that. it really is up to them if they choose to uphold their values or not.

        • Siraaj says:

          Salaam alaykum Nadiah,

          I think between this article and your own on altmuslimah, what I see is that sex ed in public schools makes a strong attempt at teaching a value-neutral approach with respect to abstinence vs promiscuity, and its focus is averting negative outcomes.

          Having said that, I think that a value-neutral approach implicitly affirms that there is nothing inherently wrong with pre-marital promiscuity or homosexuality. And while it is true, as your article states, STI rates and pregnancies may be on the decline, I think it may simply indicate the education is doing what it was supposed – drop STI rates and pregnancy rates, but not halt promiscuity in the least, which is where I think this article’s focus is.

          Siraaj

          • Nadiah says:

            Salams Siraaj
            Thank you for your comment.
            I will not deny, as I have agreed with you in all my responses and articles, that there is increased promiscuity in this country among youth. However, I still contend that is due to the hypersexualized society and media, and not comprehensive sex ed – it’s because kids are being hypersexualized earlier and earlier, and girls are held up to unattainable sexual and beauty standards, and boys are sent messages encouraging them to have sex with many women, and society in general adheres to the philosophy that sex is powerful, sex is what sells.

            Here’s why I do not blame the sex ed “industry.” Kids who attend private Islamic and private Catholic schools, do receive this “value-laden” sex ed that you and others advocate for. Or in Islamic schools particularly, some may not receive anything beyond menstruation for girls and ghusl stuff for boys. However, sexual experimentation is becoming quite a problem there. Kids know about sex, they know about the consequence of getting pregnant by sex, and therefore look for all the ways they can partake in sexual activity without “getting her pregnant.” This includes experimentation with oral sex and homosexuality. And this does not at all address the issue that while pregnancy may be avoided by these acts, the spread of STIs is certainly not. We all know how “effective” this value-laden education has been in Catholic schools. I have been told firsthand by educators, administrators and students at Islamic School that Muslim schools are not immune to these issues either.

            The problem is not our sex ed programs. The problem is the constant messaging our children get every day about what sells, what is powerful, and what is beautiful. And if parents, or other adults don’t have consistent dialog with them about this and other issues, then we can continue this cycle of our kids thinking they are invincible to the same issues their nonMuslim peers are. You see, Siraaj, your problem should be with the media, the music industry, the porn industry, the internet, and what’s available out there – because there is plenty of inaccuracy out there that our kids will find and read if we do not be proactive and provide them with what they need – a trained, experienced adult to give them accurate, age-appropriate information. The values are taught at home. And, with the Islamic and Catholic schools example, its clear that even when they are taught at school, it is not effective until they are reinforced at home.

          • Siraaj says:

            Walaykum as salaam Nadiah,

            I agree with you – the ubiquity of hypersexual messaging pervades popular media and reinforces those ideas within our culture, but I think between what you are saying and what Umm Reem is saying, you’ll find a classic chicken and egg scenario :)

            I think Umm Reem’s point is that the academic acceptance that there is nothing wrong with many sexual behaviors beyond unprotected intercourse is a contributing factor to our hypersexualized culture, which in turn reinforces those ideas in our minds, which creates a demand for more explicit imagery and media, which…it’s essentially a vicious cycle whereby sex ed, while it may have positive outcomes, does nothing to curb what we as Muslims would define as negative outcomes in light of our religious observances.

            The media isn’t really going anywhere, so having a problem with the media and being put off by it is a waste of time and emotional energy. I believe the place of a parent is in monitoring what is within their sphere of influence (TV in the home, sex ed classes in school) and teaching children, to the best of their ability, proper decision-making skills (as you mention in your article) for those matters outside of our sphere of influence (like the media).

            I have no doubt that private schools don’t have religious children in them because more often than not, you have irreligious practice at home reinforced by the family who then sends their kids to private school in the hopes that the school raises the child to be good, whereas the point of the school is supposed to be to continue an environment that originates in the home. This mismatched expectation is what I believe prevents these institutions from being no less free from promiscuous behavior than other institutes. In other words, I don’t believe it is that the value-laden approach is ineffective, it’s that I don’t believe the values have been laden with enough time to incubate and take hold such that these applications of those values resonate when faced with all the other internalized perversity that’s been encountered, perversity which sex ed programs implicitly tell everyone, “When you do it, don’t forget to do it safely.”

            Siraaj

  31. destinyseeker says:

    I would like to propose that this discussion is exploring issues that are perhaps better resolved by focusing on a ‘top down’ approach in addition to a ‘bottom up’ one.

    I agree with the original article that our kids must be educated in a ‘value-laden’ way. And it is upon us, as parents, to deliver this in a frank and honest, yet appropriate way. I appreciate Umm Reem’s suggestions in her latest article on how to approach this.

    But as far as the ‘chicken and egg’ argument is developing — is it the academic approach to sex ed that is leading to media hypersexualization that, in turn, is leading to increased promiscuity, or is it media hypersexualization that leads to increased promiscuity in spite of academic sex ed — I feel that Siraaj made a pertitent point about the media not going away. Kids born into today’s culture, regardless of how much we shelter them, will inevitably be exposed. Equipping them with a ‘value-laden’ education on sexuality will be helpful, but insufficient: equipping them with complete Islamic morals and values in all facets of life should then be our focus.

    The goal, in my mind, should be that ‘when’ they’re exposed, not ‘if’, they’re able to act in a righteous manner by harnessing the overarching principles of Islamic ethics, in addition to their ‘value-laden’ education on sexuality. I doubt anyone will disagree here. I am simply proposing we should focus more on taking a comprehensive, top-down approach to this issue.

  32. Nadiah says:

    Salams Siraaj
    Thanks for your comment. Sex education is not a long unit in school. Its usually a day or two in fifth grade, a couple more days in 7th and then a week or so in 10th grade. It is taught in a very serious, scientific and academic manner. And no program out there, no matter how liberal, denies the benefits of abstinence. All of them send the message: if you want to be truly safe, the only method is abstinence. But do they (comprehensive programs) teach about contraception and STIs and pregnancy as well? Yes, they do. And it’s to give kids the accurate information they need so that they can fully understand the consequences of having sex. Many kids don’t understand the gravity of many STIs (w/ the exception of HIV). They don’t realize that a large percentage (something like 85%) of chlamdya cases are symptom-free and unless tested for and diagnosed, girls are actually facing permanent infertility if it is untreated. They don’t realize that STIs also spread through oral sex and homosexuality, including lesbian sex. They don’t realize what the components to a healthy relationship are – that a sexual relationship should be one of mutual understanding and free of pressure – which is usually not the case in adolescent sex. The research speaks for irself: kids who receive comprehensive sex ed are not more promiscuous than those who don’t, and do not initiate sex earlier than their peers. Historically, we know that people have had pre-marital sex even in societies that we would consider models like the prophetic period. This is a reality we cannot deny. And it is necessary for us to address this for the public’s health and safety. To prevent the spread of disease, to educate about the potential consequences for actions, to avert consequences that can be life-altering, and to promote informed and responsible decisions. That is the purpose of sex ed. And the time that these kids spend learning about this from an academic perspective is still miniscule compared to the constant messaging and pressures they get from their peers, the media and society in general about having sex as a young person, and the effect of sex ed is further mitigated because they gain knowledge that even actions teens often consider consequence free (like oral sex) do truly have serious consequences like contracting STIs. And while you can’t make the media go away, you can definitely educate your child to be media literate and to critically think about these messages.

    Our muslim youth, particularly who don’t get this education, do not understand that reality – how disease spreads and understanding the gravity of these diseases. When I mentioned Islamic school kids, I wasn’t speaking of the “irreligious” problem child, I was actually referring to the traditionally-trained, “religious” kid that comes from the traditional conservative family. Substance abuse, sexual experimentation, including pornography, sexting, oral sex and homosexuality is a reality in muslim schools, and I’m not just talking about the irreligious kid. They are problems that administrators and educators are fully aware of, and have caught students engaging in, but are unequipped as professionals to properly address them. In addition, we haven’t even spoken of the sexual perverseness that happens abroad, in “Muslim” countries. Sexual activity, oral sex and homosexuality are becoming a huge problem in places in like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, etc. And we all know that these countries cultures do value abstinence and chastity.

    The sex ed has to happen, as a way to protect the public at large. We can remain in denial for as long as we want, but that is our reality. But do kids need more opportunities for open dialog, think about these issues out loud, particularly from the perspective of their faith? Yes, of course. And that is the sheer purpose of HEART Women & Girls (www.heartwomenandgirls.org): to create a space space for these conversations to exist, happen, and to empower young girls with what they need to make healthy, responsible and mature decisions.

    • Siraaj says:

      Salaam alaykum Nadiah,

      It’s great to see that we agree on much here – I wrote earlier that sex ed programs aim to avoid negative outcomes, not teach values, and you’ve detailed exactly what those negative outcomes are that they teach are to be avoided. As I recall in my own sex ed classes, abstinence was taught in the context of birth control and STI transfer as the only “100% foolproof method of protection,” and not much else.

      I think we also agree that children receiving sex ed are not more promiscuous than those not doing so, only that they are better equipped to protect themselves with condoms and pills when they decide to do so. Having said all that, these are not the only things taught in sex ed courses – beyond biology, students are taught masturbation, homosexuality, and gender identity switching are “ok” as well, and these are serious issues to deal with, particularly for our youth.

      As for Islamic schools, I have no doubt kids from traditional religious families who were themselves religious can be affected by all this, particularly if their fellow Muslim peers are not coming from religious or permissive backgrounds. Like you, I’m from Chicago, and I used to live next to two of these schools and I know the corruption starts at the top (the administrations) and pervades the student body and the community-at-large.

      I’ve not been to a Muslim majority country in decades, but from what I have been told by others who do visit, the topics are both taboo to discuss, and people are turning to the satellite to learn instead. The man-who-sleeps-around-is-a-stud / woman-who-sleeps-around-is-a-slut double standard is in full misogynistic effect, unfortunately, and I think the causes of perversity in such settings is, as you say, due to a lack of education, but also due to the expression of certain backwards cultural elements juxtaposed with the perversity.

      I don’t doubt that sex ed should be taught – I simply question who should do the teaching, and with what emphasis and perspective. Parents who take their children out of state-run programs still must find a way to educate their children on what is pertinent for them to know, and that will vary from one child to another.

      Siraaj

  33. M says:

    Assalam Alaikum Warahmatulahe Wabarakatuhu Umm Reem, I am a Muslim female, and i would like to tell you about myself, so you can address these issues also. It would also be good, that people write anonomusly to you, telling you about their past. This way, you can get more insight and can add more topics relating to specific issues. Jazaak ALLAHU Khairan

    I was born to a Muslim family and after a year my brother was born.

    On every thurday an indian movie was shown on the local channel. Father, mother, me and bro would sit and watch it together. When ever a romantic or rape seen would come, my mom would change the channel saying “bad scene is coming”. But one would get the idea of affection between male and female. And vice versa also come to know, that when a villian was running behind the herion, he wanted something from her, after pulling her clothes off. Although we as kids, dint knew wht exactly it was, but shaitaan kept on whispering and we would use our imagination.

    Once when i was in grade 3 and my brother was in grade 2, he came and told me. That he and his friend in class would fantasize about having a factory. Where are the girls would come, and they would remove their clothes one by one. I told this to my mother, she later on had a discussion with my bro.

    After couple weeks, my brother asked me that he wanted to touch my private part and he told me to take off my underwear. I did it. And he touched my private part.

    Gradually, when ever our parents would take us out along with them for shopping. Me and my brother would roleplay as a husband and wife. I would talk and act like my mother, and he would immitate our father.

    Me and brother always knew there was something “more” feeling related, when a male and female gets close, but we dint knew what exactly it was.

    Then after couple of years, i remember when i was in grade 6, i had this book, which had some male and female pictures in it. The chapter was about “Invention of Telephone”. I would look at those pictures in the text book for hours and fantasize about them being together alone.

    I also remember, when i was in grade 6 or 7, that in our toilet, we had a muslim shower to wash our private parts with. Once cause the pressure was high and i was washing my private area, I started to feel nice. Eventually reaching orgasm. At that time i never knew what is was. But i got used to it and would do it almost every day. Which eventually lead to masturbation by hand when i grew up and came to know more about it. I also read somewhere that masturbation in often an act of self-discovery.

    I am 30 plus now, I regret what all i did in my past. Alhamdulilah, it is ONLY ALLAH who guided me out of all this. But what i think is, why did shaitaan attack us much before the age of mine and my brother puberty. Does this happen to other children before puberty? If yes, then why?

    Sister, i also want you to discuss the topic of “reaching puberty”. That once thats is reached the girl has to be treated as a “woman” and a boy has to be treated as a “man”. For example, when a 14 year old girl would give some advice to her mother, her mother would scold her back “you be quite! u have no experice! U are still a kid! We know better! Tum ko abhee zameen say ugge bhee nahi ho!”. This should not be the case. Once puberty is reached, the parents should inform the children, that now they have rights, if they want they can start their business, or invest in property, or get married, etc etc….

    Sister, i am not disclosing my email id. Please forgive me. Jazaak ALLAHU Khairan and please reply.

    • Umm Reem says:

      M,

      Thank you so much for stepping forward and sharing with us what happened with you. It takes a lot of courage to let others learn from our own experiences. may Allah reward you.

      Unfortunately, I have heard of a lot of women (and I’m sure men must have too) who have gone through similar situations, where parents didn’t realize their role and the necessity of educating their children about innate/natural issues, hence the children ended up experimenting.

      And I agree with you that once a child reaches the age of puberty (and even before that) must be treated differently than other children in terms of responsibility etc.

  34. […] Parenting V (b): The Reality of Sex-Education in Public Schools […]

  35. […] Parenting V (b): The Reality of Sex-Education in Public Schools Follow MuslimMatters […]

  36. […] by Nadiah Mohajir originally published on altmuslimah.com Umm Reem, the author of the article “The Reality of Sex Education in Public Schools,” contends that Muslim parents should be wary of the sex education curriculum in the American […]

  37. […] Reem, the author of the article “The Reality of Sex Education in Public Schools,” contends that Muslim parents should be wary of the sex education curriculum in the American […]

  38. Sal says:

    Hello everyone. I am a 21 year old male and I was born and raised in the U.S. Umm Reem, I have read some of the articles you have posted and you have said many great things but I truly believe that this article is misleading. As someone who went to good public schools growing up, I can tell you that your view on sex Ed in schools is distorted. You can’t talk about these sex Ed classes unless you have actually gone through them. Public schools actually do an excellent job on teaching kids on puberty and sex, and they are age appropriate about it. Around the age of 10 your child will learn about puberty, at 12 he/she will learn about sex a little more in depth, and at around 15, your kids will learn about STDs, contraception etc. I urge parents not to pull their kids out of sex Ed classes as this may cause kids to become sexually repressed and could hurt them in the future when they are married. I would also like to say that people become turned off when you make up statistics such as “teen pregnancies are on the rise” the CDC (center for disease control) reports that teen pregnancies have been on the decline for the last 25 years. In addition to this, homosexuality has nothing to do with sex Ed, not sure where that came from…sorry if I sound a little harsh, I hope I didn’t offend anyone, and I do really like your other articles.

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