BRAVE NEW SCHOOLS
History textbooks promoting Islam
New report says Muslim activists ‘succeeding’ in expunging criticism
12:30 am Eastern
By Bob Unruh
© 2008 WorldNetDaily
WND has reported several times on issues involving the promotion of Islam in public school texts, including a recent situation in which California parents complained their children were being taught that “jihad” to Muslims means “doing good works.”
The new report is from the American Textbook Council, which was established in 1989 as an independent national research organization to review social studies textbooks and advance the quality of instructional materials in history.
In the two-year project, whose report was authored by Gilbert T. Sewall, the ATC reviewed five junior and five high school world and American history texts, concluding:
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“Many political and religious groups try to use the textbook process to their advantage, but the deficiencies in Islam-related lessons are uniquely disturbing. History textbooks present an incomplete and confected view of Islam that misrepresents its foundations and challenges to international security.”
The report finds that the texts present “disputed definitions and claims [regarding Islam] … as established facts.”
“Islamic activists use multiculturalism and ready-made American-made political movements, especially those on campus, to advance and justify the makeover of Islam-related textbook content,” the report continued.
“Particular fault rests with the publishing corporations, boards of directors, and executives who decide what editorial policies their companies will pursue,” the report said.
- Medieval and Early Modern Times by Jackson J. Spielvogal
- Medieval to Early Modern Times by Stanley M. Bernstein and Richard Shek
- World History: Medieval and Early Modern Times by Douglas Carnine, Carlos Cortes, Kenneth R. Curtis and Anita T. Robinson
- Medieval and Early Modern Times by Dianne Hart
- History Alive! The Medieval World and Beyond by Bert Bower and Jim Lobdell
- World History: The Modern World by Elizabeth Gaynor Ellis and Anthony Esler
- World History: Modern Times by Jackson J. Spielvogel
- America: Pathways to the Present by Andrew Cayton and others
- The American Vision: Moder Times by Joyce Appelby and others and
- The Americans: Reconstruction to the Twenty-first Century by Gerald A. Danzer
The report noted that several of the textbooks have found harsh critics among parents and others, and “History Alive! The Medieval World and Beyond” published by the privately held Teachers Curriculum Institute has been criticized repeatedly.
In Lodi, Calif., parents “were not objecting to a word or two that they took out of context but to a textbook long on chapters filled with adulatory lessons on Islam.”
A parent whose child has been handed the text in a Sacramento district at that time accused the publisher of a pro-Muslim bias to the point that Islamic theology has been incorporated into the public school teachings.
“It makes an attempt to seem like an egalitarian world history book, but on closer inspection you find that seven (not all are titled so) of the chapters deal with Islam or Muslim subjects,” wrote the parent, whose name was being withheld, in a letter to WND.
“The upsetting part is not only do they go into the history (which would be acceptable) but also the teaching of Islam,” she said. “This book does not really go into Christianity or the teachings of Christ, nor does it address religious doctrine elsewhere to the degree it does Islam.”
She said the book’s one page referencing Jews “is only to convey that they were tortured by Crusaders to get them to convert to ‘Christianity.’ (It fails to mention that the biggest persecutors of Jews throughout history and still today are Arab Muslims). It gives four other one-liner references to the Jews being blamed for the plagues and problems in the land. It does not talk about the Jews as making a significant impact on the culture at large.”
Bert Bower, founder of TCI, told WND at that time not only did his company have experts review the book, but the state of California also reviewed it, and has approved it for use in public schools.
“Keep in mind when looking at this particular book scholars from all over California (reviewed it),” he said.
One of those experts who contributed to the text, according to the ATC, which earlier released a scathing indictment of that specific project, was Ayad Al-Qazzaz.
“Al-Qazzaz is a Muslim apologist, a frequent speaker in Northern California school districts promoting Islam and Arab causes,” the ATC review said. “Al-Qazzaz also co-wrote AWAIR’s ‘Arab World Notebook.’ AWAIR stands for Arab World and Islamic Resources, an opaque, proselytizing ‘non-profit organization’ that conducts teacher workshops and sells supplementary materials to schools.”
The newest report cited the same issue raised by parents.
“In a passage meant to explain jihad, they encountered this: ‘Muslims should fulfill jihad with the heart, tongue, and hand. Muslims use the heart in their struggle to resist evil. The tongue may convince others to take up worthy causes, such as funding medical research. Hands may perform good works and correct wrongs,'” the new report said.
The ATC report noted a complicating factor is a ban in California, to whose standards most textbook publishers align their work, on “adverse reflection” on religion in school.
“Whatever ‘adverse reflection’ is, such a mandate may be conceptually at odds with historical and geopolitical actuality,” the study said.
“None of this is accidental. Islamic organizations, willing to [provide] misinformation, are active in curriculum politics. These activists are eager to expunge any critical thought about Islam from textbook and all public discourse. They are succeeding, assisted by partisan scholars and associations… It is alarming that so many individuals with the power to shape the curriculum are willfully blind to or openly sympathetic to these efforts,” the report said.
Regarding the TCI book, the report said its lessons contain “stilted language that seem scripted or borrowed from devotional, not historical, material.” Also, the “Medieval to Early Modern Times” book features a two-page prayer to Allah “the Merciful.”
“Among the textbooks examined, the editorial caution that marks coverage of Christian and Jewish beliefs vanishes in presenting Islam’s foundations. With materials laden with angels, revelations, miracles, prayers, and sacred exclamations; the story of the Zamzam well; and the titles ‘Messenger of God’ and ‘Prophet of Islam’ the seventh-grade textbooks cross the line into something other than history, that is, scripture or myth.”
Among the lessons public school students must learn from the various books:
- Muhammad “taught equality”
- Fasting reminds Muslims of people who struggle to get enough food
- Muhammad told his followers to make sure guests never left a table hungry
- Arab traditions include being kind to strangers and helping needy
“These effusive formulations stop just short of invention and raise questions about the sources of information,” the report said.
The books’ praises of Islam continues, the report said. “TCI devotes 13 text-heavy pages to textiles, calligraphy, design, books, city building, architecture, mathematics, medicine, polo, and chess, some of it spun like cotton candy,” the report said.
For example, the book reports: “Singing was an essential part of Muslim Spain’s musical culture. … Although this music is lost today, it undoubtedly influenced later musical forms in Europe and North Africa.”
“Undoubtedly, the TCI volume declares. Yet the book acknowledges the music is lost and the claims are speculative. Empty text dilates Islamic achievements,” the report said.
Glossing over the actual physical conquering of some peoples, the “World History: Medieval and Early Modern Times” says people were converted to Islam because they were “attracted by Islam’s message of equality and hope for salvation,” the report said.
Another book teaches: “Q: How did the caliphs who expanded the Muslim Empire treat those they conquered? A: They treated them with tolerance.”
“At a time when intolerance marks Islamic cultures worldwide and multiculturalism is a ruling idea in U.S. schools, these ‘wonderland-of-tolerance’ tropes constitute a major content distortion,” the report said.
The books teach the Crusades were “religious wars launched against Muslims by European Christians.”
“When … Muslims groups attack Christian peoples, kill them, and take their lands, the process is referred to as ‘building’ an empire. Christian attempts to restore those lands are labeled as ‘violent attacks’ or ‘massacres,'” the report said.
Some of the books are rife with other errors. In the TCI book, it says the Crusaders wore red crosses. “No. Only Templars did,” said the report.
“While Christian belligerence is magnified, Islamic inequality, subjugation, and enslavement get the airbrush,” said the report, which also found inaccuracies in teaching about sharia religious law, women’s rights and terrorism, especially the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, which killed nearly 3,000.
“The Modern World” says, “On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, teams of terrorists hijacked four airplanes on the East Coast. Passengers challenged the hijackers on one flight, which they crashed on the way to its target. But one plane plunged into the Pentagon in Virginia, and two others slammed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York…”
“The flatness and brevity of this passage are dismaying. In terms of content, so much is left unanswered. Who were the teams of terrorists and what did they want to do? What were their political ends? Since ‘The Modern World’ avoids any hint of the connection between this unnamed terrorism and jihad, why September 11 happened is hard to understand,” the report said.