ERIN ELMORE: Department of Education teaches incorrect translation of 'jihad' to NY teachers

New York City educators were given a partial translation of the word “jihad” in an “anti-Muslim bias” training hosted by the Department of Education.

The webinar training, apparently led by a Department of Education official and hosted by New York City’s Commission on Human Rights, was titled “Understanding Muslim Experiences and Combating Anti-Muslim Bias.” According to the New York Post, the training was part of a series of “anti-discrimination workshops launched in the wake of the October 7 Hamas massacre of hundreds of innocent Israelis.”

During the training, teachers were told “jihad“ means to “struggle,” rather than its better-known translation, “holy war,” and were reportedly given the example, “My jihad [“struggle”] is to stay fit despite my busy schedule,” in a video used throughout the training. Other examples provided to educators included, “My jihad is to never settle short of my best effort,” and “My jihad is to build friendships across the aisle.”

According to the New York Post, which obtained videos of the training, the definition provided by the Department of Education training ignored the word’s “history of being used to justify violence, including terrorism by groups such as Hamas, al Qaeda and ISIS.”

Additionally, teachers were told that “Sharia” means “religious observance.” The training did not describe the brutality that often accompanies Sharia law or the persecution of women which typically occurs in cultures that abide by Sharia, the outlet’s report notes.

The webinar host told educators, “Sharia literally translates to ‘path of the watering well’. Sharia is overwhelmingly concerned with personal religious observances such as prayer and fasting and not with national laws.” Additionally, the host added, “There is no official document, such as the Ten Commandments, that encapsulates Sharia. Sharia is personal religious and moral guidance for the vast majority of Muslims.”

“They are trying to normalize jihad,” one attendee of the webinar, a Jewish teacher, told the New York Post. “By changing the terminology it becomes easier to say and repeat, especially for children. It’s like, genocide doesn’t mean genocide anymore and terrorist means freedom fighter.”

“When someone hears a word like jihad they now associate it with a struggle to go the the gym rather than violence,” the teacher added.

The New York Post notes that several humanitarian organizations and human rights groups have criticized Sharia law for contributing to violence. Additionally, the European Court of Human Rights declared Sharia law “incompatible with the fundamental principles of democracy.”

This piece first appeared at TPUSA.


Image: Title: flag of jihad
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