Yesterday when this story broke I was in transit and so wasn’t able to post it, but by now the whole world has seen the footage above of public school students praying inside a mosque. Now the school has apologized for allowing this to happen, and that’s fine — but why isn’t anyone calling the Islamic Society of Boston to account for its role in making this happen as well? Or is it simply understood that they will try to convert Americans to Islam by hook or by crook whenever possible, and no one can expect them to adhere to basic rules of civility or decency in doing so?
And would the school have apologized if this had not come to public attention? Or would they cheerfully have allowed it to happen again and again, with other groups of students?
“Praying by pupils at mosque decried: Wellesley chief calls it a mistake; group releases field trip footage,” by Erica Noonan and Katrina Ballard in the Boston Globe, September 17 (thanks to Weasel Zippers):
WELLESLEY — Wellesley’s school superintendent apologized yesterday for allowing middle school pupils to participate in a prayer service during a field trip to a Roxbury mosque last spring.
The apology to parents was made after a group that has been critical of Islamic Society of Boston Community Center — New England’s largest mosque and Muslim cultural center — released a 10-minute video featuring footage of Wellesley pupils bowing their heads during a prayer service.
The group, Americans for Peace and Tolerance, received the footage from a mother of one of the pupils, its director, Dennis Hale, said yesterday. The woman, whom they would not identify, went on the May 27 trip as a chaperone for her son’s sixth-grade class, he said.
Superintendent Bella Wong said yesterday that allowing the children to participate in the prayer service was a mistake, and apologized to parents in a letter.
Five middle schoolers participated in the Muslim midday prayer at the mosque, she said. Some can be seen in the video imitating some of the movements.
“It was not the intent for students to be able to participate in any of the religious practices,” Wong said. “The fact that any students were allowed to do so in this case was an error.”
A community center spokesman said no one from the organization asked the pupils to participate in the prayers.
“Certainly in our tours we do not invite kids to take part, but if someone wants to come pray and take part, we shouldn’t prevent them,” said Bilal Kaleem, president of the Muslim American Society of Boston, which manages and runs the cultural center. “It’s more an issue with the school.”
Kaleem said that the cultural center offers tours and that Wellesley educators had set up the field trip….