In mid-March I published an article about an incident at St. Petersburg Catholic High School in St. Petersburg, Florida, Last month, the entire student body was called together to hear a deceptive presentation on “Islamophobia” from the notorious Ahmed Bedier, who openly supports the jihad terror group Hizb’allah and has worked for the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Now the principal of St. Petersburg Catholic High, Fr. Richard Rosin, is making a clumsy attempt at damage control. He sent parents this letter — and some of them sent it to me:
You may have heard that Ms. Pam Geller of Breitbart media has written a scathing and erroneous article about St. Petersburg Catholic High School. The article attempts to address the assembly held on Thurs. Feb. 18, 2016. It is important to allay any fears that this article has created.
The principal is sloppy and intellectually lazy: my name is Pamela Geller and the piece to which he is referring didn’t run in Breitbart News, but in World Net Daily. And while he claims that my article was “erroneous,” you’ll see that he doesn’t in his entire letter give a single example of any erroneous claim I made.
A few months ago some students came forward who were concerned about the media coverage of the Islamic people. The impression that seems to be prevalent in the media is that all Muslims are terrorists. The students recognized that such an irrational, global portrayal is not in concert with our Catholic faith nor our mission to educate the whole person.
“The media coverage of the Islamic people” were news reports of jihadi attacks — and many of those attacks involved the slaughter of Christians living under Islamic rule. They were oppressed and slaughtered because they were Christians. Is this how the good Father Rosin should respond and educate his young people?
And where did these students see media reports claiming that “all Muslims are terrorists”? That’s ridiculous. The media bends over backwards to make sure that Americans think that terrorism has nothing whatsoever to do with Islam, and that peaceful Muslims are victims of “backlash” after terror attacks.
Meanwhile, one of my sources at the school has informed me it was just one student who thought this deceptive assembly would be a good idea, and she reportedly pressured the administration to get it approved. In the end, however, everything that occurs at that school is the responsibility of the principal. I wonder if anyone even vetted this Fr. Rosin. Not only was it a disgrace to subject these Christian kids to this propaganda, but it could have potentially been very dangerous.
After considering the request to present an appropriate and correct view of Islam, the administration agreed to have an assembly. Upon the recommendation of a well respected member of the clergy of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, who previously had our speaker make a presentation to his parish as part of an interdenominational dialogue, we asked Mr. Bedier to speak to our students.
A correct view of Islam? From a former representative of terror-tied CAIR, an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorist funding trial in our nation’s history? If Fr. Rosin really wanted to present an accurate view of Islam, he should have Ibn Warraq, Wafa Sutlan, Nonie Darwish, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Robert Spencer — not a former representative of a group with multiple links to Hamas, and which has been designated a terrorist group by the United Arab Emirates. Why didn’t the principal invite to the school one of the Catholic priests from the Middle East whose flock has been decimated by Islamic jihadis?
Beginning with the Baron Bulletin of Feb. 5, 2016, I indicated that we would be having the assembly on Islam. The assembly was published on our calendar. As always, parents were invited to attend. In fact, I had hoped more parents would be in attendance to share this information with their child and have a meaningful discussion.
After the assembly, our teachers spent time in classes discussing the assembly. By all accounts from the teachers, the discussions were very productive.
If this is true, all the teachers are as clueless and intellectually subjugated about this foremost issue of our time as Fr. Rosin is.
Additionally, St. Petersburg Catholic High School recorded the presentation. This was done so that any parent who wished could view the presentation for discussion with his/her son/daughter. There were a few parents who requested the link to this video.
While there is some disagreement about a few comments Mr. Bedier made, I did not find anything to be inappropriate in the presentation for our students. The Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of St. Petersburg has reviewed the presentation and found nothing inappropriate for our students.
Nothing inappropriate? As I showed in my original article on this, Bedier minimized, downplayed, and dissembled about the jihad threat. He falsely exaggerated Muslim achievements, played moral equivalence games in claiming that there were Christian terrorists as well as Muslim ones (with his one example being Tim McVeigh, who is supposed to be equivalent to the perpetrators of 28,000 jihad attacks since 9/11), and gave students an incomplete and misleading picture of the doctrinal differences between Islam and Christianity – even as Muslims are persecuting Christians to a degree unparalleled for centuries.
After the assembly it was discovered that Mr. Bedier posted a picture of our students on his Facebook page. We were not aware he would do so and in our continuing effort to protect the privacy of our students, we requested he remove it.
More dishonesty. Bedier took the picture during his presentation and said that he was going to post it to social media. So then Fr. Rosin was shocked to find it on Facebook?
As soon as I contacted Mr. Bedier he very willingly removed the picture. However, it is apparent that one or more of our parents have shared misinformation about this assembly with outside sources, e.g., Breitbart media, initiating a chain of events that could potentially incur significant negative repercussions for our school and our students. Ms. Geller not only spoke disparagingly about St. Petersburg Catholic High School but also the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. She also encouraged her readers to contact St. Petersburg Catholic High School and published the school phone number. Since we have received a few phone calls as a result of Ms. Geller’s article, we have been extra vigilant with regard to our visitors on campus as an added measure to continue to ensure the safety of our students.
What ridiculous posturing. Fr. Rosin, those who oppose jihad and Sharia are not murderers. None of my readers or supporters have committed any acts of violence. Nor have I ever called for or condoned any violence. Your students need have no fear of me or my supporters. They should fear Islamic jihadis who have repeatedly threatened to murder American civilians — but you have made sure that they are ignorant and complacent regarding that threat.
In his presentation, Mr. Bedier explained the Muslim perspective as well as bringing our attention to some very interesting and salient points for dialogue with the Abrahamic traditions. He condemned terrorism of any kind as well as advocated for reconciliation and understanding among all people. Is that not what our faith teaches? There was no occasion during Mr. Bedier’s presentation where our students could have been exposed to physical, psychological, spiritual, moral or intellectual harm. This was not an exercise for the purpose of indoctrination but of understanding, which is what we want our students to be able to accomplish.
“There was no occasion during Mr. Bedier’s presentation where our students could have been exposed to physical, psychological, spiritual, moral or intellectual harm”? What a hubristic claim. How could Fr. Rosin possibly know this? Is he so relativistic and intellectually compromised that he thinks that a patently deceptive presentation designed to make students less willing and able to resist a genuine and growing threat doesn’t cause psychological, spiritual, moral or intellectual harm? And Bedier, who has featured open supporters of Hizb’allah on his radio show and worked for a Hamas-linked Muslim Brotherhood group, condemned terrorism? Is Fr. Rosin really that naïve and eager to be fooled? And does he really expect parents to be as well?
Our assembly followed the example of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, who urge us to open, honest dialogue of our faith with all our brothers and sisters. Our students are taught not to be ignorant of their Catholic faith, nor to shy away from sharing their Catholic faith. They are also taught that living their faith as Jesus commanded is the best way to help others understand their life with God.
In reality, Muslim groups worldwide are making active efforts to convert Christian young people to Islam (sometimes forcibly). The Catholic Church has done absolutely nothing to counter this, even as former Catholics have become jihadi terrorists. The Pope and the U.S. bishops are committed to the idea that Islam is a religion of peace while Muslims who know better are picking off their young people and turning them into killers. The “dialogue” they’re so fanatically committed to, meanwhile, has not saved one Middle Eastern Christian from being brutalized by Muslims, or one church from being destroyed.
In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, we are reminded that God’s mercy is greater than all of us. Let us share His love and mercy with each other.
Love and mercy — good. Love, mercy, and truth — better. But you’re not going to get truth from either Ahmed Bedier or Fr. Rosin.
Article reposted with permission from Pamela Geller.