PROMOTION OF ISLAM IN OUR SCHOOLS
By Cinnamon Stillwell
History Alive! The Medieval World and Beyond, a textbook published by the Teachers' Curriculum Institute, was removed from the Scottsdale, Arizona, school district in 2005 for this very reason. The textbook is now causing controversy in California, and, at the center of the storm, is Cal State University-Sacramento Sociology professor Ayad Al-Qazzaz.
An Iraqi native who specializes in Middle East Studies, Al-Qazzaz, is both a contributor to History Alive and one of the gatekeepers who approved it for use in California's public middle schools. And, according to an American Textbook Council review cited by World Net Daily (WND):
A parent and former student in one of Al-Qazzaz's Middle East Studies courses wrote to WND expressing her own reservations:
Al-Qazzaz's contributions to History Alive on the subject of jihad are flagrantly biased, as he consistently presents jihad as merely a personal struggle, rather than a holy war.
Hence, as noted by WND, the text presents jihad as "an effort by Muslims to convince 'others to take up worthy causes, such as funding medical research'" and that, "even at its most violent, 'jihad' is simply Muslims fighting 'to protect themselves from those who would do them harm.'"
In a 2003 KXTV, Sacramento, story on "Islamic War Ethics," he elaborated:
One suspects the victims of beheadings and torture would beg to differ. Moreover, that Islamists (otherwise known as jihadists) worldwide repeatedly cite jihad as a motivating factor belies Al-Qazzaz's contention that war is the "lesser jihad."
In a 2002 interview with Peace Magazine, Al-Qazzaz rejected the association of "jihad" with "fundamentalism" and advocated what's come to be known as the "root causes" approach to combating Islamic terrorism:
Yet, when the interview turned to the study of Islam and its connection to terrorism, Al-Qazzaz skirted the issue by blaming others. After first accusing Islam scholar Bernard Lewis of "becoming progressively anti-Islam and Zionist," he continued:
Al-Qazzaz's characterization of both Bernard Lewis and Daniel Pipes is demonstrably false. Neither equates Islam with terrorism, but, rather, seeks to examine the undeniable connection between the two. John Esposito, who heads the Saudi-funded Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown, is a leading Wahhabi apologist who consistently seeks to muddle what is in fact an Islam-specific issue.
Considering Al-Qazzaz's troubling viewpoints on these matters, his involvement with History Alive and other Middle East studies textbooks is cause for alarm. Not only do California education officials need to undertake a rigorous and unbiased reexamination of such textbooks, but also the gatekeepers approving their use. Otherwise, it's simply a case of the fox guarding the hen house.
The Fifth Column -- America's Internal Enemies:
Disloyalty, Subversion, Sedition, & Treason
Islamism & Jihadism -- The Threat of Radical Islam
Page Three Page Two Page One
Middle East -- Arabs, Arab States,
& Their Middle Eastern Neighbors
American Foreign Policy -- The Middle East
International Politics & World Disorder:
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Islamist Terrorist Attacks on the U.S.A.
Osama bin Laden & the Islamist Declaration of War
Against the U.S.A. & Western Civilization
Islamist International Terrorism &
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U.S. National Security Strategy
Cinnamon Stillwell is the Northern California Representative for Campus Watch, a program of the Middle East Forum. Ms. Stillwell endeavors to point out the strengths and expose the weaknesses of Middle East Studies programs in California colleges and universities. She can be reached at email@example.com.
The foregoing article by Cinnamon Stillwell was originally published in Front Page Magazine, February 5, 2008, and can be found on the Internet website maintained by the Middle East Forum, a foreign policy think tank which seeks to define and promote American interests in the Middle East, defining U.S. interests to include fighting radical Islam, working for Palestinian Arab acceptance of the State of Israel, improving the management of U.S. efforts to promote constitutional democracy in the Middle East, reducing America's energy dependence on the Middle East, more robustly asserting U.S. interests vis-à-vis Saudi Arabia, and countering the Iranian threat. (Article URL: http://www.meforum.org/article/1848 )
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