Update on September 7, 2021: It has been brought to our attention that the VA Department of Education put out a statement that the views presented in Amaarah DeCuir’s lecture do not necessarily represent those of the VA Department of Education. We have updated this post and our social media posts accordingly. The lecture seems to have been removed from the VA DoE’s public YouTube channel’s EdEquityVA webinar series. The opening slide of the presentation did allegedly say that the presentation was part of the VA Department of Education’s EdEquityVA webinar series, leading some to push back on the Department’s denial of endorsement.
A recent lecture hosted at the Virginia Department of Education advised teachers not to attribute the attacks that happened on September 11, 2001 to Islamic terrorists.
The Daily Wire reports that education leadership scholar Amaarah DeCuir shared a PowerPoint presentation about the anti-Muslim sentiment that occurs around the anniversary of 9/11. To reduce racism, DeCuir tells teachers that when they’re discussing the history of 9/11, they shouldn’t use any kind of wording that could blame the horrific events of that day on Muslim extremism.
“School and classroom 9/11 commemorations are sites for increased anti-Muslim racism,” her presentation shares. “This year’s 20th anniversary commemorations will likely result in heightened risks of racist discourse, threats, and violence targeting Muslim students in schools and society. Educators are well-positioned to disrupt these risks by centering the socio-emotional needs of Muslims in their commemoration plans.”
The presentation included a list of what was “in” and “out” for teaching the history of 9/11. The “in” category included “humanization of Muslim students” and “acknowledgment of anti-Muslim racism.” Under the “out” category were listed “false assumption of Muslim responsibility for 9/11,” “reproduction of anti-Muslim rhetoric,” and “American exceptionalism.”
Additionally, DeCuir deemed “harmful teaching” to be “reducing 9/11 instruction to death counts and fear mongering.” The full presentation can be found here.
Virginia State Senator Steve Newman was outraged by DeCuir’s presentation and its endorsement by the Virginia Department of Education. He shared his thoughts in a Facebook post.
“I lived through 9/11…just like many of you did,” he writes. “We all know where we were when we heard the news that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center…and that our country was under attack. It was life changing.”
“Historically, this one event was due to Muslim extremists and their actions, the desire of these individuals to kill as many Americans as possible at one time,” he adds. “Why do we need to change history, again? Just tell the facts. We have a responsibility to our children today to ensure they know the awful truth about the events of that day, and the evil intent behind the terrorists.”
DeCuir’s presentation follows other attempts to stand by Islamists as they face hostility from 9/11.
Back in 2019, Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar said in front of the Council on American-Islamic Relations that the group was “founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.”
Omar’s comments received pushback. Nicholas Haros Jr., whose mother was killed in the 9/11 attacks, addressed the congresswoman’s words at the Ground Zero remembrance ceremony. Haros Jr. wore a black t-shirt saying “Some people did something” and read off a list of 9/11 victims’ names, including his mother’s.
“Today I am here to respond to you exactly who did what to whom,” Haros Jr. stated. “Madam, objectively speaking, we know who and what was done. There is no uncertainty about that. Why your confusion?”
“On that day, 19 Islamic terrorists, members of Al-Qaeda killed over 3,000 people and caused billions in dollars of economic damage,” he said. “Is that clear?”
Haros Jr. continued, “But as to whom: I was attacked. Your relatives and friends were attacked. Our constitutional freedoms were attacked. And our nation’s founding on Judeo-Christian principles were attacked. That’s what some people did.”
What are your thoughts about Amaarah DeCuir’s presentation hosted by the Virginia Department of Education?