André Carson, the U.S. Representative for Indiana's 7th Congressional District, created controversy when he told an Islamic Circle of North America convention that American schools should be modeled after Madrassas, or Islamic schools that are built on the foundations of the Quran, WND reports.
At the 6:19 mark of the video from the May 26 presentation, Carson tells the crowd what he believes American schools are lacking:
“America will never tap into educational innovation and ingenuity without looking at the model that we have in our madrassas, in our schools, where innovation is encouraged, where the foundation is the Quran. And that model that we are pushing in some of our schools meets the multiple needs of students."
Back in April, Arizona passed a bill creating a high school curriculum for public and charter schools that teaches the Bible and excludes all other religious texts, such as the Quran and the Torah.
Bill sponsor Republican state Rep. Terri Proud told the Arizona Star the exclusions are appropriate because the other texts are not relevant to American society.
"The Quran hasn't influenced Western culture the way the Bible has," Proud told the paper.
In the video, Carson also says the Muslim population is something the American education system needs.
"I have found … that we need an educational model that is current, that meets the need of our students. America must understand that she needs Muslims.”
UPDATE, issued to the Huffington Post by the Congressman Friday afternoon:
My remarks at ICNA call attention to the fact that faith-based schools throughout this country have excelled because of innovative instructional methods and a willingness to engage different learning styles – whether visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. While I do not believe that any particular faith should be the foundation of our public schools, it is important that we take note of the instructional tools these schools utilize to empower their young people. Christian, Jewish, and Islamic schools have experienced notable success by casting off a one-size-fits-all approach to education, and this is a model we must replicate. Having attended a parochial elementary school myself, I’ve seen these successes first hand.
If we are going to take American education to the next level, we must expand successful models and implement the practices that will enable success for our students.