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From the 1920s to the 1960s, most Americans were more afraid of standing up against the murders and other atrocities committed against blacks. You didn't hear the suggestion that we needed more understanding of what motivated white bigots to lynch blacks. It was simply a matter for the vast majority to finally stand up against the injustice and exert their power over the hateful minority.
By standing up, one at a time, they performed a miracle unimaginable just a decade or so earlier: They overcame their fear and changed their culture.
Muslims have a similar challenge today with radical jihadists within Islam who greatly harm the image of Muslims around the world.
Today, in contrast, we often hear the call for more tolerance and understanding of the jihadists motivation and the root cause of their terror against their own people and the "Great Satan," America. We're called to examine why they hate us and what we have done that causes such hate and indiscriminate killing.
It's now politically correct to refer to Islam as the "religion of peace" while their own radicals praise Allah and proclaim "we are a religion of peace and if you don't believe us, we'll cut off your head." Surely, this kind of terror is not representative of mainstream Islam.
The time is way past due for the majority of Muslims to speak up against the terror of the radicals who have hijacked their religion.
It's time to have a "Million Man-Woman Muslim March" in every major city around the world, not to prove their innocence, but to let the terrorists know that good Muslims will not support them. They should march to isolate the radicals who kill in the name of Islam.
It's only the Muslim majority who have the power to conquer the hate and terror represented by the jihadist minority. Just like America's majority had to finally stand up against racism, its time Muslims stood up against the terrorists within Islam. This may be the only way Muslim terrorism will finally be defeated. Strictly from within, not by the superpowers mighty weapons of war.
So, stand up one by one, and you can change the world.
Darrell D. Newton
Kudos to East Hall Middle for its academic achievement
This year, as students, parents, teachers and administrators prepare for the start of another school year, it will be anything but usual for East Hall Middle School. The school has been challenged over several consecutive years in meeting targeted annual measurable objectives for purposes of Annual Yearly Progress under No Child Left Behind legislation.
This year, for the first time in school history, the school will not be in Needs Improvement status. Exiting from that status requires two consecutive years of achieving AYP.
Student demographics of the school in 2007-2008 from data at the Department of Education Web site indicate that Hispanics made up 46 percent, exceeding the average for the system and state. This contributed to the 14 percent of students who were limited in English proficiency which far exceeds the state average of 5 percent but slightly less that the system average of 18 percent.
The most distinctive feature is the large 73 percent of students who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. This representation of poverty far exceeds the system and state average of 51 percent.
As a former teacher at the school, I have some insight into the transformation. The success of the students is a result of implementing research based practices in education addressing the needs of the student population. Extensive staff development in teaching strategies, the infusion of technology, and training in data based decision making were provided.
Most important was the commitment to the idea that every student can learn. The leadership provided by the principal, Kevin Bales, and his team of teacher leaders, deserves the highest recognition for their hard work and commitment to the students in this community.
Gregory Scott Sell