Bigotry on the Playing Field against Judaism and Islam

Posted on March 12, 2012


Editorial, New York Times, March 11, 2012

Intolerance seems to be part of the message sent to student-athletes on the sporting fields of Texas. Only under legal pressure and public criticism did the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools, which organizes competitions for more than 200 schools, recently agree to accommodate an Orthodox Jewish school and reschedule a basketball game that would have violated the Sabbath.

The association’s ignorance and bigotry toward Islamic schools is more stunning. As reported in The Times, one Islamic high school that sought to join the association, known as Tapps, in 2010 got a questionnaire that asked the school: “It is our understanding that the Koran tells you not to mix with (and even eliminate) the infidels. Christians and Jews fall into that category. Why do you wish to join an organization whose membership is in disagreement with your religious beliefs?” It also asked: “What is your attitude about the spread of Islam in America?”

The school, the Iman Academy SW in Houston, wanted to join the local soccer competition. It filled out the questionnaire and was denied membership. “Our kids are just as American as their kids,” an academy official said. “We just wanted to play ball.” At least two other Islamic schools declined to respond to the questionnaire.

Tapps also has surveyed member schools about allowing in Islamic schools. Sixty-three percent of 83 respondents rejected Islamic schools for membership in 2010, according to school officials. The others said it was in Tapps’s best interest to be open. Ten schools said they would quit Tapps if Islamic members were admitted.

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