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The Attack on Studying History in the South

Ancient Civilizations

Islamophobic groups, motivated by a hatred for Islam and a sort of twisted “Judeo-Christian” supremacist belief are targeting social studies programs and the historical approach to studying Islam as a world religion in public schools. Several counties in Florida have been targeted and ACT! For America is also pushing the anti-education crusade in Alabama.

It will not be surprising to see this campaign take on the momentum of the “anti-Sharia” campaigns if something is not done to expose these groups. In Florida, the campaign is led by a group called Citizens For National Security which has on its advisory board Islamophobes such as Walid Phares, Daniel Pipes and the Islamophobia-enabler Zuhdi Jasser.

In many ways the crusade that these Islamophobic groups are engaged in against historical education mirrors the drive to instill Creationism into science classes, it is another way in which Conservative groups are propagating ignorance and once again the Republican party is all too willing to comply.

Local GOP leader goes after history textbook as ‘propagating’ Islam

By Bill Thompson (Ocala Star Banner)

A controversy brewing in other parts of Florida over a history textbook that critics maintain is too pro-Muslim has reached a boil in Marion County.

The School Board recently heard complaints from conservative activists, including the head of the Marion County Republican Party, that a state-approved textbook slights Christianity and Judaism while being favorably biased toward Islam.

A spokeswoman for the publisher counters that the book meets state standards in accordance with Florida’s adopted history curriculum, which directs that Christianity and Judaism be explored more fully in earlier grades.

The critics of “World History,” published by Pearson Prentice Hall, one of the biggest publishing houses in the world, demanded at the School Board’s meeting in late November that the book be pulled from area schools.

Or, in lieu of that, the board must somehow provide equal space to chronicling Christianity and Judaism, they argued.

Randy Osborne, chairman of the local Republican Party, told the board that the book’s 36 pages about Islam were actually a “propagation” of the world’s second biggest religious faith.

“It’s something we will not tolerate in Marion County,” Osborne said.

“We came from a Judeo-Christian country. This is the country that we live in, and for a textbook to be propagating an Islamic religion is not acceptable.”

The school district purchased “World History” in July 2012 for use in 10th-grade history classes.

Osborne said he came forward because School Board member Nancy Stacy had publicly taken exception to the use of the book back in the spring, and that her concerns had been ignored by the rest of the panel.

“The board has had ample time to do something with this textbook … and not one thing has been done with it,” Osborne said.

“We are going beyond asking,” he added in saying the School Board should yank the textbook from classrooms, or add a supplement to it.

Osborne urged the board to hold a workshop on “World History” within 30 days, meaning before Christmas.

Others at the meeting echoed Osborne’s comments, sometimes as part of a wider broadside against the Common Core education standards.

Randy Fritz, a former civil rights investigator with the state of New Hampshire, told the School Board that Islam was not just a religion but also a political philosophy.

He described Islam’s tenets as anti-homosexual, “anti-woman” and anti-Semitic, and denounced the faith as “the most bigoted religion on this planet.”

“Why don’t we get some equal treatment” for Christianity? he asked.

Another speaker, Robert Dreyfus, listed “promoting Islam” among a number of social ills he associated with public education, including weeding out the religious beliefs of “95 percent” of schoolchildren by the time they graduate.

“I know what you’d call that system, but I’d call it evil,” Dreyfus said.

“We can fight this nonsense,” added a third voice, Linda Miller, “because these people don’t care about our children, just the almighty dollar.”

In her comments, Stacy said the issue was not just that “World History” appeared to be one-sided for Islam but that its information was incorrect.

She did not specify which parts were wrong. She only noted that the publisher agreed to make changes to the text after Jewish leaders in Palm Beach County complained.

Stacy also pointed out that family members of the late Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi owned shares in Pearson.

Pearson is headquartered in Britain, and the Libyan Investment Authority reportedly owns 3 percent of the company’s stock, news reports say.

Keeping with the theme, Stacy said her investigation also led her to question other social studies and reading texts used by the school district.

For example, a sixth-grade textbook referenced another book for suggested extracurricular reading that lumped stories from the Bible, such as the account in Genesis about the creation of man, in with mythical and folk tales.

“I really don’t think my religion is a myth,” Stacy said. “This myth thing and religion is very, very concerning to me.”

The School Board, at the urging of Chairman Bobby James, who pointed out the district has a process for buying its books, agreed to host a workshop so its textbook-selection committee could explain its work.

That has been scheduled for Jan. 30.

Susan Aspey, Pearson’s vice president for public affairs, said in an email that in Florida, as in other states, Pearson customizes its course materials to align with the state’s individual curriculum standards.

Florida splits its world history curriculum over two years, in grades 6 and 10.

Middle schoolers learn about early civilizations up through the fall of Rome near 500 A.D., while the 10th-graders start with the rise of the Byzantines, around 330 A.D. and proceed to the present day.

Florida’s edition of “World History” aligns to the state’s standards, which requires high schoolers to study the origins of Islam, while the middle school text details the origins of Judaism and Christianity, Aspey said in the statement.

Read the rest of the article…

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  • A Muslim Guy

    I’m not ready to characterize the South so broadly, but I agree that “pro-Islam” these days just means not anti-Islam enough.

  • Seeker

    wow ! I have to to study Muslim history. Any good books or links that you can suggest ?

  • Pingback: The Attack on Studying History in the South | Islamophobia Today eNewspaper()

  • The greenmantle

    Maybe , just maybe next they Will suggest that the history books are changed to show the South won the Civil war. :-)

    Sir David

  • Tanveer Khan

    I don’t think it’s the really schools who want to “brainwash” them, just some stupid people and unfortunately the stupid people get what they want sometimes.

  • Carlos Danger

    America’s public schools are simply preparing these kids to join the US Military by brainwashing them to hate all Muslims, since the US Military will need a lot of manpower to invade and occupy all the countries that Israel doesn’t like, such as Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Libya, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, Syria, Lebanon, etc….

  • Jennifer Anne Bangstrom

    Pro-Islam? What they really mean is that it isn’t sufficiently ANTI-Muslim. That’s the South, for you.

  • Awesome

    Hopefully the School Board of Marion county is rational enough to realize that teaching world history is not supposed to be subject to the political vanities of Marion county’s Repugnantcon party.

  • Reynardine

    I make no secret of my age.

  • Mehdi

    What a wonderful man that was

  • Rights

    Well, the Constitution is a living document, and therefore people interpret it in a living, dynamic way. Put another way, those who want the Constitution to suit their agendas feel free to pervert it as needed, which just confirms that the Constitution is a living document, which then explains its perversions in ways that suit certain folks’ purposes.

    On a different note, you realize that what you said in the first sentence is a dead giveaway for figuring out your age. Ah! Now you have done it. How can you live with that?

  • Christian-Friend

    Hypocrisy at it’s best. You put 20 pages involving Christianity or Judaism, it’s all fine and dandy. You put a few pages about Islam, then it becomes a silent jihad.

  • The greenmantle

    I am reminded of this great poem , by the much underated Gill Scott Heron .http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJEbh3DxLEU
    Sir David

  • jacobin777

    From the article:

    ““We came from a Judeo-Christian country. This is the country that we live in”

    No we didn’t moron.

  • Reynardine

    Over half a century ago, I remember being taught the history of the classical world and its fall in the Dark Ages, plus material about the feudal system, in sixth grade in Illinois. As a tenth grader in Florida, I again had world history, overlapping the previous time period and covering events into what were then recent times. It appears this was fairly standard American practice.

    An American public school cannot, by law, endorse any religion. By implication, neither can it demonize any existing religion. Cosmogenies can be offered only as legends. That is the Constitution at work. Any sect is free to establish thdir own schools, so long as they don’t take public money. What they can’t establish is their religion as a state-sanctioned faith.

    What many of these Dominionists have said now is that this means the Constitution is a mistake. Some have said that the Articles of Confederation is our organizing document. Some have said that the Founders meant only to give freedom *to* worship *to* Christians, or even only to Protestants, and that therefore no rights accrued to nonbelievers or heterodox believers. They have actually forged quotes by Founders to support this, when authenticated quotes say the opposite. Some have bluntly said the only law they recogniize is the Bible, which they cherrypick. And increasingly, they are talking about using force if they don’t get their way.

  • Chameleon_X

    The well-financed “creeping anti-sharia law” juggernaut never stops. Just like the ironic, feverish hysteria over the non-existent “creeping sharia law”.

  • rookie

    “The School Board recently heard complaints from conservative activists, including the head of the Marion County Republican Party, that a state-approved textbook slights Christianity and Judaism while being favorably biased toward Islam.”

    Biased towards Islam?!
    I guess it is because they base their knowledge of Islam on sources like geehadwatch.
    That`s why they believe everything that is in conflict with geehadwatch must be “favorably biased”.

  • mindy1

    Ya know, sometimes I wonder if they know how dumb they sound :P-Moooslims want to lock up our women and gays, meanwhile they enact laws to do the same thing >:(

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