September 27, 2010
Countering Islamic Indoctrination in Public SchoolsBy Andrew G. Bostom
The fight against Islamic indoctrination in the schools won a victory in Texas last week. But the forces pushing to obfuscate the nature of Islam's jihad imperative hold the high ground in the education industry, forcing parents and realists to continue to fight.
The Texas Board of Education issued a press release on Friday, 9/24/10, which included a self-described "most debated item on the board's Friday agenda" -- a non-binding resolution that barely passed by a 7-6 vote, with two members absent. The resolution concludes with the statement that the board
Additional media reports of the resolution adopted Friday maintained it cited "politically-correct whitewashes of Islamic culture and stigmas on Christian civilization" in current textbooks, while warning that "more such discriminatory treatment of religion may occur as Middle Easterners buy into the US public school textbook oligopoly."
But defenders of the textbooks in question, such as the Rev. Bobbi Kaye Jones, superintendent of the Austin District of the United Methodist Church, representing the Texas Freedom Network, an interfaith group of religious leaders, insisted that "[r]ealistic information takes a back seat to religious intolerance [in Texas], and education suffers a blow."
And Imam Islam Mossaad of the North Austin Muslim Community Center, affirming the "objectivity" of the textbooks in question, stated, "Our children's textbooks must treat all religions accurately and fairly."
Gilbert Sewall, although critical of the reasoning in the Texas School Board resolution, was favorably inclined toward its intent. Sewall is founder of the American Textbook Council, a nonprofit that reviews history and social studies textbooks utilized in U.S. schools. His organization issued a comprehensive, evidenced-based 2008 report entitled "Islam in the Classroom-What the Textbooks Tell Us."
This 2008 report observed, prominently, that the deficiencies in Islam-related lessons were uniquely disturbing, with history textbooks presenting "an incomplete and confected view of Islam that misrepresents its foundations and challenges to international security." Among textbooks copyrighted before 2001, "deficiencies" regarding Islam "persist and in some cases have grown worse." Sewall also maintained that publishers and editors, in lieu of making corrections or adjusting contested facts,
And Sewall concluded the 2008 report with this appropriate, but as yet unaddressed warning: "Islamic activists use multiculturalism and ready-made American political movements, especially those on campus, to advance and justify the makeover of Islam-related textbook content."
Responding to the current Texas Board of Education resolution controversy, Sewall opined,
And Sewall reiterated his 2008 concerns about the corrosive impact of cultural relativism, which he argued undermines the ability to defend ourselves against jihadism. The publishing industry, he stated, "resists ugly facts about Islam ... From what they read in history textbooks, students and teachers are not likely to grasp why the United States and its allies consider militant Islam an enemy."
The raging textbook controversy in Texas, because of the Lone Star State's purchasing power, will ultimately affect textbooks distributed across the country. The progressive forces which dominate education will sugarcoat Islam in the name of diversity. The politicized academy, with the help of generous donations from Muslim oil states, has been influenced and corrupted. To find objective, reliable scholarship on the nature of Islam, one has to go back to a time before the left allied itself with the forces of jihad in the name of anti-colonialism and diversity.
One valuable resource that ought to be part of every school library is the Concise Encyclopedia of Islam, which was originally published in 1953 and edited by the eminent scholars of Islam, H.A.R. Gibb and J.H. Kramers. It is now republished and available for $95. This single volume includes all the articles contained in the first edition and a supplement of the nine-volume classic Brill Encyclopedia of Islam, pertaining, in particular, to the religion and law of Islam. The Concise Encyclopedia of Islam remains an unequaled -- and unbowdlerized -- reference work.
Consider the entry on jihad (spelled "djihad") -- arguably the most important single subject today's students must grasp about Islam. The concise discussion of jihad was written by Duncan B. MacDonald (1863-1933), a very sympathetic scholar of Islam, renowned for his seminal analyses on the development of Muslim theology and jurisprudence. Here are MacDonald's key observations about the nature and conduct of jihad, which he defines with doctrinal and historical accuracy as "holy war":
MacDonald concludes his entry on jihad -- published in the mid-1930s -- with this warning, relevant then and now:
Two obituaries (published in the New York Times and Yale News) from 2003 for Yale Professor Franz Rosenthal -- the Sterling Professor Emeritus of Arabic -- highlighted his escape from Nazi totalitarianism. Rosenthal's work included lucid, timeless analyses of Islamic "martyrdom" versus suicide and the antithetical Islamic and Western conceptions of "freedom." Franz Rosenthal also wrote an obituary for the Austrian-born U.S. scholar Gustave E. Von Grunebaum (1909-1972) which included these observations about von Gruenbaum's seminal contributions and uncompromising standards:
The anti-intellectual, cultural-relativist attitude toward Islam which is now predominant in our primary and secondary school systems was already apparent by the 1970s. It was well-characterized by another esteemed 20th-century scholar of Islam, Maxime Rodinson. Writing in 1974, Rodinson noted,
As parents, we have a moral obligation to our children and our Western heritage to combat the corrosive indoctrination on Islam that currently passes for "Islamic education" in public school curricula. That effort must begin by providing our children ready home access to objective, unapologetic Western scholarship on Islam.
The faulty textbooks which cover Islam as a benign force in world history while short-changing the Judeo-Christian tradition do not come cheap. In comparison, the Concise Encyclopedia is quite a bargain for schools that always plead poverty. A Global Mosaic, published by Prentice Hall, costs schools $106.63. The Human Experience by Farah, Mounir A. and Andrea Berens Karls sets back schools $106.94. Parents who want to counter this propaganda that anesthetizes our children to the dangers of Islamic jihad doctrine have to insist that their schools balance the propaganda with objective, un-politicized scholarship.