Daniel Scot’s, Critique of Learning from One Another
Review by Elizabeth Kendal
Bringing Muslim Perspectives into Australian Schools
In normal parlance, the phrase “learning from one another” denotes a mutual exchange of information. As such, “Learning From One Another: Bringing Muslim Perspectives into Australian Schools” (2010) would be more honest if it were known simply by its subtitle: “Bringing Muslim Perspectives into Australian Schools”.
As a concerned Australian parent and grandparent, Daniel Scot felt he had a responsibility to critique the Muslim perspective being put into Australian schools. As a Pakistan-born Mathematics professor and internationally acclaimed authority on Islam, he is well placed to do so.
One of the really great things about Scot’s critique is that, in order to keep the text very readable, Scot deals with the issues in a very concise manner, simply backing up his statements with references. Then, so that no-one will need to access to a Quran or volumes of Hadith in order to read the Islamic source material cited, it is all printed out in full in Appendix 3 in the second part of the booklet.
Scot employs his encyclopedic knowledge of the Qur’an, the Ahadith (plural for Hadith; Hadith is what Muhammad said, did or approved) and the life of Mohammed, Shariah (Islamic Law) as well as his knowledge of trends in international Islamic scholarship, politics and human rights, to demonstrate scientifically that Learning From One Another: Putting Muslim Perspectives into Australian Schools (LFOA) is little more than Islamic propaganda aimed at advancing accommodation of Islam in Australia via Australian schools to pave the way for Shariah, Islamic Law.
Using source material, Scot shows that the claims made in LFOA are at best biased, and at worst, totally false.
According to LFOA, Islam’s religious texts provide us with “an ideal code of morality and conduct”.
Scot responds by demonstrating that Islam’s religious texts are “beset with contradictory messages”, sighting numerous Islamic texts as examples. Scot makes special reference to the Qur’an’s handling of the Ten Commandments, noting that sometimes Allah endorses them, while at other times he demands the opposite depending on circumstances. Thus Islam is an extremely flexible systems where the end may justify the means (i.e. lying is wrong, but ok if it advances Islam; killing is wrong, but ok if it advances Islam; stealing is wrong, but ok if it advances Islam etc). Thus the Qur’an endorses very high and very low moral values.
According to LFOA Muhammad was a paragon of religious tolerance who respected people of other faiths and gave special honour to Jews and Christians and their scriptures. According to LFOA, “Islam orders Muslims to be kind and friendly to all people as long as they mean no harm. Even if they mean harm, the Quran urges Muslims to respond in a kinder manner.”
After reminding us that the Qur’an is full of contradictory messages, Scot agrees that some Islamic texts do promote tolerance. This tolerance is only promoted when Muhammad was in a powerless situation. Whereas when Muhammad had military might he clearly taught that Muslims must subjugate, humiliate and even kill non-Muslims. Amongst the Qur’anic texts Scot cites, are verses that forbid Muslims from submitting to or even making friends with non-Muslims.
According to LFOA, “In Islam, men and women are equal before God”.
While Scot agrees that some texts do teach the equality of men and women, this equality is only “before God” and there are many other texts that seriously denigrate women, teaching that they may be regarded as possessions, used as chattel and disregarded on the grounds that they are mentally deficient and the majority of them are going to hell
LFOA seriously undermines the concept of jihad by maintaining that jihad can either be spiritual or an act of self-defense. But as Scot clearly demonstrates, jihad also includes offensive war to advance Islam – that is, to expand the territory over which Islam rules.
To extend Islamic territory, the founder of Islam Muhammad, himself planned 81 battles and led 27 of those during his nine year term in Medina.
LFOA misrepresents the rule of Islam as something quite benign, a system wherein non-Muslims were all treated well so long as they abided by some basic rules.
But as Scot points out, the situation for non-Muslims under Islamic rule was (and is) horrendous. Just as the word “Islam” means “submission”, the non-Muslim living under Islamic rule must also submit. TO live in “peace”, the non-Muslim must live as second-class citizens, without legal rights, and pay jizya to the Muslims (essentially protection money to protect non- Muslims from Muslims). Refusal to submit is regarded as a declaration of war. No-one wants to live like that.
LFOA extols Muhammad as a man of exemplary morals and conduct – a role model, someone to emulate.
Yet as Scot demonstrates, Muhammad’s treatment of women and of non-Muslims is something we would not want to see emulated today. Muhammad took more wives than he permitted his followers; amongst them a child and his daughter-in-law. Muhammad also instituted “temporary marriage” so that his warriors could “marry” captive women so as not to be accused of rape. Muhammad taught his followers to lie and deceive to advance Islam. He dealt cruelly with non-Muslims so that many actually regard him as a ruthless tyrant. Is this the sort of role model Australian parents want for their children?
Scot is concerned that Australian teachers will be obliged to propagandise for Islam; that Australian students will be obliged to imbibe that propaganda; and that Muslims who have fled to Australia from Islamic States ostensibly to escape Islamic repression, violence and Sharia, Islamic Law, may not be permitted a dissenting view.
Scot is also concerned that the gulf between what LFOA teaches and what is observable will create confusion and cognitive conflict in the minds of those who participate. As they fail regularly, to present the Islamic faith in its totality ignoring the reality of Islamic terror; violent persecution of non-Muslims; violence against dissenters and critics; repressiveness of Islamic states and the devastation being wreaked by Muslim pogroms and riots in cities as diverse as Mombasa, Cairo, Lahore, Paris and Stockholm. How is a teacher — let alone a child — supposed to make sense of it?
To resolve this conflict, participants will essentially be obliged to conclude that Islamic repression of women, persecution of non-Muslims, terrorism, and even the violence in and backwardness of the Islamic States are “misconceptions and stereotypes”, not real Islam which is presented in LFOA as liberal and progressive.
Such thinking will pave the way for Islam to be accommodated and advanced in Australia through our schools, even though Islam – that is, the Islam of the Qur’an, Ahadith, and Muhammad – provides the rationale for Islam’s repressive and anti-democratic expressions.
In light of the teachings in the Islamic holy books and the practical and historical example of Muhammad, every kind of violence against humanity have been carried out to the present day to please Allah, the Islamic god. Hundreds of millions of innocent people have been affected by this religion.
Daniel Scot’s critique is essential reading for all involved in the education industry from policy makers, parents, school principals, teachers, religious education instructors and students. There can be no genuine peace without the implementation of openness, honesty and truth in the discussion of the Islamic faith; rather than accommodation, submission and surrender. Our future as a democracy would be best served, not by “putting Muslim perspectives into Australian schools”, but by really learning from one another in complete openness, honesty, freedom and security.
Daniel Scot’s Critique of Learning from One Another can be purchased through Ibrahim Ministries International http://imi.org.au
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