The Week in Sharia: Texas Has Its Sputnik Moment (Updated)

| Fri Feb. 11, 2011 4:30 PM EST

Now with 100-percent more maps:

  • The big news out of Egypt (also, Earth) this week was the departure of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak, prompting furious speculation that the Muslim Brotherhood would take over the country and impose strict Islamic law. That's no sure thing. But if they can't have Egypt, the Brothers at least have a pretty good consolation prize: According to Red State, "there are Muslim Brotherhood sympathizers, apologists, and fundamentalists sponsoring and speaking" at this week's Conservative Political Action Conference. Also speaking at CPAC? Anti-Sharia activist Pamela Geller, who says that criticism of her is basically "the second wave of the 9/11 attacks."  Awwwwwkward.
     
  • Georgia state rep. Mike Jacobs told reporters that he couldn't think of any instances of Sharia being forced on the good people of his state—but just to be sure, he introduced the "American Laws for Georgia Courts Act" earlier this week to block foreign or religious laws from being cited in state courts. A total of 16 states have passed or introduced anti-Sharia legislation since last February.
     
  • Speaking of which: I made a map.
     
  • Good news, Mansfield, Texas: Your school district won a $1.3 million federal grant to introduce students to a "critical" foreign language and culture, a development that's sure to boost cognitive skills, intellectual curiosity, and future employment prospects. Bad news, Mansfield, Texas: Because that language was Arabic, a bunch of parents warned that their children would be indoctrinated with Islamic principles, and now the district has put the program on ice indefinitely. If you're wondering, yes, this is what losing the future looks like.
     
  • Minus-10 gold stars for Gretchen Carlson of Fox News, who informed her viewers that the school intended to make Arabic mandatory for kindergartners. Crazy! Also, false. The Arabic-language classes are electives, and only for seventh- and eighth-graders; fifth- and sixth-graders would get 20 minutes of Arabic "language and culture" per day as part of their social studies classes; kindergartners would, presumably, continue to eat paste. This is all spelled out not only in the clarification issued by the school, but in the informational sheet (pdf) which it had released prior to the controversy, and in the grant proposal (pdf) itself. I found all of that on Google in, like, 12 seconds.

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  • Sarah Posner scored an interview with Wyoming state rep. Gerald Gay, who warned that if Americans don't combat Sharia now, "pretty soon you have the camel's nose under the tent." (Watch a video of Gay blowing up a replica of Congress here.)
     
  • GOP messaging guru Frank Luntz held one of his signature focus groups and discovered that a lot of conservatives—10 of the 25 Iowa voters he spoke with—think President Obama is secretly a Muslim. That sounds high, except that, according to a Time poll from last summer, 46 percent of GOPers believe the president is a Muslim—which means Luntz's focus group was actually sort of moderate.
     
  • And finally, mark your calendars: Rep. Peter King's "radicalization" hearings on the American Muslim communtiy drop March 7. Conspicuously absent from the congressman's witness list? Actual law enforcement officers.
     
  • Update: One more. In an interview today with MoJo's Suzy Khimm, former Colorado congressman Tom Tancredo argued that Muslim immigrants won't assimilate because their goal is to implement Islamic law: "What do you do with people coming for the purpose of advancing sharia law, which is not compatible in any way with the constitution of the United States?" What can you do? He also discussed Winston Churchill. Read the full exchange here.
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