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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

February 09, 2003

Textbooks said to 'hide' problems with Islam

There has long been a problem with school texbooks as being outdated, but the American Textbook Council raises another issue, an issue that has been ignored I would imagine till 9/11 forced us to take another look at how history is presented
World history textbooks in U.S. classrooms sanitize the problems of Islam when compared to how they often treat Western civilization, a review of seven widely used texts reported yesterday.

The study, released by the American Textbook Council, said a rosy treatment of Islam may arise from the lobbying of the Council on Islamic Education on national publishers.

"When any dark side [of Islam] surfaces, textbooks run and hide," said the report, "Islam and the Textbooks," by Gilbert Sewall, a former professor who directs the council.

"Subjects such as jihad and the advocacy of violence among militant Islamists to attain worldly ends, the imposition of [Shariah] law, the record of Muslim enslavement, and the brutal subjection of women are glossed over," the 35-page study says.

This contrasts, the report suggested, with the candor in textbooks over such events of Western history as the Crusades, the Inquisition, slavery, imperialism, Christian fundamentalism and women's suffrage.

Without solid facts about Islam, the study said, "instructors fall back on themes of tolerance and apology [and] skirt the reality of international affairs and threats to world peace." [more]