The Spanish government has published new guidelines for teaching Islam in public preschools and primary and secondary schools.
The guidelines are being touted as a way to prevent Muslim children and young people from being drawn into terrorism by exposing them to a “moderate” interpretation of Islam.
On closer inspection, however, the guidelines — drafted by the Islamic Commission of Spain and approved by the Ministry of Education — are aimed at stirring religious fervor and promoting Islamic identity among young Muslims in Spain.
The new plan, which is the most ambitious in all of Europe, amounts to a government-approved program to establish a full-fledged Islamic studies curriculum at public schools nationwide, at a time when Christian religious symbols are being systematically removed from Spanish public schools by official enforcers of secularism.
Although Spanish taxpayers are being expected to pay for the religious education of up to 300,000 Muslim students between the ages of 3 and 18, it remains unclear whether Spanish authorities will have any oversight of the teaching of Islam in public schools. The government has agreed to allow local Muslim organizations to draft the course syllabi, choose the textbooks, and even determine who will teach the classes.
“Israeli settlements are illegal.”
Jews have lived in Judea and Samaria—the West Bank—since ancient times. The only time Jews have been prohibited from living in the territories in recent decades was during Jordan’s rule from 1948 to 1967.
Numerous legal authorities dispute the charge that settlements are “illegal.” Stephen Schwebel, formerly President of the International Court of Justice, notes that a country acting in self-defense may seize and occupy territory when necessary to protect itself. Schwebel also observes that a state may require, as a condition for its withdrawal, security measures designed to ensure its citizens are not menaced again from that territory. 1
According to Eugene Rostow, a former Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs in the Johnson Administration, Resolution 242 gives Israel a legal right to be in the West Bank. The resolution, Rostow noted, “Israel is entitled to administer the territories” it won in 1967 until ‘‘a just and lasting peace in the Middle East’’ is achieved. 2 Though critical of Israeli policy, the United States does not consider settlements illegal.
The coming Passover holiday represents a make-or-break moment that could decide whether Palestinian violence and terrorism fizzles out, or escalates into a new and more dangerous phase.
Israel’s defense establishment is on alert to the possibility that tensions surrounding Jerusalem’s Temple Mount (known to Palestinians as the Al-Aqsa holy site) could resurface and trigger a new outburst of terrorism, just as a seven-month wave of largely unorganized terrorist attacks begins to draw down.
The tensions could well appear again during Passover, when the number of visits by religious Jews to the Temple Mount rises. There is no shortage of elements in the Palestinian arena – from Hamas media outlets to social media users – who will eagerly present such visits as part of an imagined Israeli conspiracy to take over the site.
As a result, Israel’s defense establishment has advised the government to prohibit any politicians, from any political party, to further inflame tensions by visiting the site.