About 200 Friendswood residents, divided over a junior high principal’s decision to let an Islamic group make a presentation to students last month, packed Tuesday night’s school board meeting as the governing body considered whether to ban any future religious presentations by outsiders.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations in Houston sought permission to address the mostly Anglo student body at Friendswood Junior High after a Muslim student was stuffed head-first into a trash can by a classmate. Principal Robin Lowe agreed to the 40-minute PowerPoint presentation on the basic beliefs of Islam, which drew howls of protest from some parents, talk radio hosts and Christian clergy.
Last week, Lowe requested and received a new central administration job because she felt the controversy made continuing at the junior high impossible, Superintendent Trish Hanks said.
Most who spoke Tuesday blasted the school board and Hanks for not supporting Lowe.
“I ask that you as a board take certain actions — reinstate Robin Lowe with a suitable and public apology,” said longtime Friendswood resident Tom Burke, drawing a loud burst of applause and whoops of approval from the audience. “Pledge to listen to the wishes of the large, but all too silent majority, and close your ears to the vocal minority. This community has been embarrassed. You can turn that around and make yourselves and your community proud.”
Other speakers, however, accused CAIR of having links to terrorism.
See also “R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Religious persecution, not lessons in tolerance and diversity, should spark outrage”, Houston Chronicle, 7 June 2008