Intolerance is unacceptable in schools

On February 8, the Washington Post published an article discussing the Republican Women of Clifton’s plans for a meeting Feb. 20 at Fairview Elementary School. This meeting would feature a guest speaker who would, according to the Washington Post, “discuss the treatment of women in Islamic society and how she believes the Hijab is a catalyst for Islamic terrorism.”

The Hijab is a religious scarf women wear to show humility and respect towards God in Islamic societies. There are a number of various interpretations as to why the Hijab is worn, but it is undeniably holy in its nature.

This meeting, and the fact it is held at a public elementary school, sends a message to our community and our public school system. The irony of this meeting is overwhelming as our schools are supposed to be grounds for equality, however it appears the struggles the Little Rock 9 faced in 1957 have not disappeared but resurfaced in another form.

We live in an area of Fairfax County which is a mix of diverse cultures and religions. Unlike the opinion of the Republican Women of Clifton, this diversity adds to the strength of our area. Without this diversity our area becomes bland and single minded. Diversity must be encouraged not disputed. Furthermore the notion that a hijab is in all ways, shapes and forms a catalyst for Islamic terrorism is simply untrue.

Not only has this organization put unnecessary hate against an entire population of residents in Fairfax County, but they have also ignored one of the very freedoms this country was founded upon.

The first amendment to the constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” While this amendment also gives this group the freedom of speech, it does not give them the freedom to hate. Freedom of speech should not be infringed upon. However, this speech is dangerous and similar to saying bomb on an airplane, which we are not allowed to say. Saying bomb on an airplane would endanger those on the plane and put them in state of fear, similar to how this speech would put at risks the well-being of an entire population. Speech must be regulated if the safety of equal citizens is violated.

For this is a moral issue in our community. Some say this group has the right of free speech and therefore they should have an opportunity to use public grounds. This is true and they do have a constitutional right to say whatever they deem necessary. However there is no necessity for Superintendent Dale to grant them a public forum. This speech endangers the livelihood of the entire Islamic population and damages the reputation of a diverse Northern Virginia.