CAIR: ANTI-ISLAM TALK AT DUKE-AREA HIGH SCHOOL PROMPTS ACLU ACTION
As part of an ongoing investigation, a Christian evangelist's appearance at a Duke University-area high school has now sparked reaction from the American Civil Liberties Union.
During his Feb. 15 appearance at Enloe High School, Kamil Solomon denounced Islam and distributed pamphlets titled "Do Not Marry A Muslim Man, Part I" and "Jesus Not Muhammad, Part I" to teacher Robert Escamilla's social studies classes.
Escamilla, suspended with pay last week, awaits an internal review of the matter by the Wake County, N.C., Public School System.
The case attracted the attention of the ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation when the father of an Enloe student filed a complaint against the high school.
The ACLU said it believes the incident is a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution, which forbids any government action that advances any one set of religious beliefs over another.
In a Feb. 22 letter to Enloe principal Beth Cochran, Azadeh Shahshahani, Muslim/Middle Eastern community outreach coordinator for the ACLU-NCLF, outlined the constitutional basis for the complaint.
"I am writing to ask that you provide us with a written assurance that such speakers engaging in unconstitutional conduct will never be invited again to Enloe High School," Shahshahani wrote.
In a brief response the next day, Adelphos Burns, superintendent of the WCPSS, wrote "appropriate actions" would be taken following a review of the incident.
"We are deeply disappointed by the manner in which the school has thus far handled these serious allegations," said Jennifer Rudinger, executive director of the ACLU-NCLF, in a Feb. 27 press release. "In the face of overwhelming evidence that proselytizing took place in this public school, school officials have insisted on miscasting this as a free speech issue." . . .
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a national Muslim advocacy group that received complaints following Solomon's appearance, said it was not satisfied with the school district's response, especially after allegations that proselytization has occurred at Enloe before.
"Now we're hearing this wasn't an isolated incident and that this teacher has been involved in controversies before," said Ibrahim Hooper, communications director of CAIR. "This kind of hate-filled bigotry demands a strong response."