Education and National Security At Odds
The entire world faces an imminent threat from radical Islamists. Pretending that it isn't so makes no sense, and misleading our young people about the true nature of the treat we face is criminal.
Yesterday, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) released a task force report titled "Education Reform and National Security." It paints a bleak picture of America's future because of our educators' failure to properly educate our young people. The task force was co-chaired by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former New York City schools chancellor Joel Klein. According to the report, "Educational failure puts the United States' future economic prosperity, global position, and physical safety at risk." Commenting on the report, Secretary Rice said that education is "the glue that keeps us together. If we are not one nation, we cannot defend one nation."
As disturbing as the CFR report is, it's not nearly alarming enough. Another report released recently by ACT! for America Education titled "Education or Indoctrination?: The Treatment of Islam in 6th through 12thGrade American Textbooks" reveals clearly that our nation's educators are indoctrinating our young people about Islam. The report's Executive Summary is lengthy, but it is well worth reading. According to the summary,
The full Report reveals a pattern of historical revisionism, omissions, and bias in the presentation of all aspects devoted to Islam in these  textbooks. Differences in presentation of key problematic areas lie primarily in the nature of the wording or the degree of historical revisionism, omission, bias, sanitization, and misrepresentation.
Below is a list of several important findings in the report. They should serve as a wakeup call for every American who loves our country and what it stands for:
- The doctrine ofjihadis omitted, incorrectly defined, inaccurately described, orunderstated.
- Faulty description of women's rights under Islam: The oppressive and discriminatory nature ofShari'a law with respect to women is omitted, mischaracterized, or understated.
- Omission or minimization of the Islamic slave trade, in sharpcontrast with what is typically an extensive and appropriately critical examination of the Atlantic slave trade operated by Europeans.
- Aggrandizement and elevation of Muhammad's character that is contradicted by accepted historical facts.
- Omission or minimization of Muslim conquest and imperialism, in sharp contrast with what is typically an extensive and appropriately critical examination ofEuropean and other imperialism.
- False claim of Islam's historical tolerance of Jews andChristians.
- MisrepresentationofShari'a Law in such areasas its applicability to non-Muslims and the separation of Church and State.
- False presentation of the Crusades as the cause of the animosity between Christianity and Islam.
- Faulty historical narrative of the Crusades. Muslims in the Holy Land are commonly depicted as innocent victims of unprovoked aggression who were defending "their" lands against Christian invaders, rather than what is historically accurate: (1) that Muslims invaded and conquered the Holy Land centuries priorto the Crusades; (2) that Christians and Jews were victims of Muslim conquest and aggression centuries prior to the launching of the Crusades; and (3) that the Crusades were launched to wrest back control of the Holy Land from the Muslim invaders and conquerors.
- Chronological revisionism of the historical development of Judaism, Christianity and Islam which incorrectly portrays Islam as preceding Judaism and Christianity and the Muslims/Arabs as the indigenous people in the Holy Land, resulting in the delegitizimation of Israel.
- Treatment of Islamism as though it has no origins within classical Islam and Islam's Holy Books.
- Islamist Holocaust revisionism that attributes the creation of Israel to world guilt over the Holocaust and incorrectly maintains that Arabs were forced to give upland for the survivors of theHolocaust. Omission of the fact that the United Nations created a two-state partition forPalestine, one for the Jews and onefor the Arabs.
- Omission of the fact that the Arabs refused to accept the offer of an independentArab state contained in the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine.
- False claim of Israel's responsibility for the Palestinian Refugee problem.
- Omission of the fact that the PLO's recognition of Israel's right to exist was and remains a verbal recognition only, contradicted by theunrevised PLO charter.
- Inaccurate claim that most Middle Eastern terrorist groups have roots in the Israeli-Palestinianconflict.
- Omission of the fact that Islamic Jihadists target Americans not only for theirsupport of Israel but also for what they consider the "decadent nature" ofWestern way of life that threatens the spread of Islam throughout theworld.
- Failure to identify the terrorists who perpetrated the September 11, 2001 attacks on America asMuslims or Islamic Jihadists.
- Failure to explain why the Islamic Jihadists targeted the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and toidentify the fourth target as the White House.
The recent murder of three innocent Jewish schoolchildren in Toulouse, France highlights the importance of properly educating everyone in the United States about the danger that radical Islam poses for us and for the rest of the world. The 24-year-old perpetrator of those horrendous crimes claimed a connection with al Qaida -- an Islamist terrorist organization. When confronted by French police, he explained his motivation to negotiators. According to France's Interior Minister Claude Gueant, he said that "he acted to 'avenge Palestinian children'" and he "also mentioned France's overseas military missions."
As I said, the CFR report on education, as disturbing as it is, doesn't even come close to accurately describing the real danger that we face as a nation because of the unwillingness of our nation's educators to tell the truth. The entire world faces an eminent threat from radical Islamists. Pretending that it isn't so makes no sense, and misleading our young people about the true nature of the treat we face is criminal.
Neil Snyder is a chaired professor emeritus at the University of Virginia. His blog, SnyderTalk.com, is posted daily.