Wednesday, January 19, 2005
HOUSTON —An application form to join a parochial schools group that was sent to Texas Islamic schools has created misunderstanding and anger between local Muslims and Christians.
The Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (search), which is 90 percent Christian, sent 10 questions to the Dar-ul-Arqam school (search) in Houston after the group applied to join the association.
The Islamic Society of Greater Houston (search), which runs Dar-ul-Arqam schools at three locations, wanted students to be able to compete with other parochial schools in extracurricular events.
One question that upset Dar-ul-Arqam administrators focused on perceived intolerance: "The Koran clearly tells you not to mix with (and even eliminate) the infidels. Christians and Jews fall into this category. Why do you wish to join an organization whose membership is basically in total disagreement with your religious beliefs?"
Iesa Galloway, Houston Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (search) said the questionnaire was "rooted in deep-seeded ignorance of the religion of Islam and the Muslim people."
But the outcry over the form has surprised the parochial association's president.
"If there was anything offensive in the letter," said TAPPS President Edd Burleson (search), "that should have been addressed to us so that we'd have the opportunity to clarify and make sure that everyone understood there was no animosity."
The Dar-ul-Arqam school group is now drafting a letter of its own to respond to the questions.
Click in the box near the top of the story to watch a report by FOX News' Phil Keating.