The Islamic Influence on American Textbooks

Monday, February 9, 2009

The following is an excerpt from a carefully-documented investigative report called Islam in American Classrooms: History or Propaganda? (PDF document):

The American Textbook Council (the Council) was founded in 1989 as an independent national research organization. The Council reviews history textbooks and other educational materials. It is dedicated to improving the social studies curriculum and civic education in the nation's elementary and high schools. Consulted by educators and policymakers at all levels, it provides detailed information and textbook reviews for individuals and groups interested in improving history materials. In June of 2008, after two years of painstaking study, the Council released a 48 page report entitled Islam in the Classroom: What the Textbooks Tell Us. This document provides a summary of the Council's detailed evaluation of the major history and social science texts that were offered to the nation's public school districts in 2006. Most modern American textbooks avoid painting a rosy picture of Christianity and Judaism. But, according to the Council, textbooks being used by thousands of public schools across the country are blatantly glorifying and promoting Islam. The report states:

1. There is surely no more perplexing an aspect of the history curriculum than Islam.

2. The misinformation surrounding Islam and textbooks is disturbing, more so because much of it is intentional.

3. Outright textbook errors about Islam are not the main problem. The more serious failure is the presence of disputed definitions and claims that are presented as established facts.

4. Explicit facts that non-Muslims might find disturbing are varnished or deleted.

5. The seventh grade world history textbooks reviewed avoid all conflict and bloodshed in describing Islam's push out of Arabia and rapid conquest of most of the Mediterranean world. They fail to explain how Islam spread in the seventh and eighth centuries. Islam appears out of nowhere, spreads smoothly and by implication without conflict. Once it was common to say that Islam was spread by the sword. Now, textbooks implied, it moved peacefully, with traders. Islam is "brought to apparently willing populations."

6. Terrorism and Islam are uncoupled and the ultimate dangers of Islamic militancy hidden from view.

7. These effusive formulations stop just short of invention and raise questions about the sources of information.

This is a serious indictment of America‘s most widely-used Islamic history textbooks. The Council is a well-respected, independent, non-partisan research organization. Its only agenda is to advance the quality of history and social studies textbooks to promote better understanding of all cultures.


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