TEXTBOOK LIES ABOUT ISLAM
By Raymond Ibrahim
Worth heeding is former top Pentagon official William Gawthrop's 2006 lament:
Three years later, the situation appears worse. After the War College published something of an apologia for the terrorist organization Hamas, defense analyst Mark Perry concluded:
Why, at a time of war, are students at top U.S. military schools denied an objective treatment of Islam's war doctrines? A report by the American Textbook Council sheds light by showing how these academic failures have much deeper roots.
After reviewing a number of popular textbooks used by American junior and senior high schools, the report found that, due to political correctness and/or fear of Muslim activists, "key subjects like jihad, Islamic law, [and] the status of women are whitewashed." Regarding the strikes of 9/11, one textbook never mentions Islamic ideologies, referring to the 19 al-Qa'ida hijackers as "teams of terrorists" — this, despite the fact that al-Qa'ida has repeatedly articulated its hostile worldview through an Islamist paradigm, with a stress on hating "infidels" and waging holy war (see The Al Qa'ida Reader).
Speaking of jihad, one seventh-grade textbook explains:
By not informing students that all these aspects mean something different for Muslims — killing an apostate is considered "correcting injustice" and spreading Islamic law is "reforming society" — the textbook misleads by projecting Western interpretations onto Islam.
Compare this textbook's definition of jihad with that of an early (non-PC) edition of the venerable Encyclopaedia of Islam. Its opening sentence simply states:
Muslim legal manuals written in Arabic are even more explicit.
The report of the American Textbook Council finds other disturbing aspects regarding Islam's whitewashing in textbooks: the well-documented Muslim military conquests demarcating most of what is now known as the "Islamic world" are glossed over or distorted; Islam ambiguously "spread" or was "brought." Well-defined aspects of Islamic law — the subordinate status of women and non-Muslims, execution of the apostate and homosexual, and other issues that appear almost any given day in headlines — are either ignored or obfuscated. History is distorted to portray Muslims as tolerant and progressive, Christians as intolerant and backward.
In my testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives, I wrote:
The American Textbook Council report demonstrates the validity of this vicious cycle. In fact, every last one of those flagrant textbook errors used to indoctrinate America's youth is an indisputable "fact" for many of America's Islam "experts," particularly those advising the government. The effects are dramatic. For instance, far from objectively examining Islam, the government is now pushing to ban Arabic words connotative of Islamic ideology from formal analysis — such as "mujahid," "umma," "Sharia," "caliphate" — asking personnel to rely primarily on generic terms, such as "terrorists."
The greater irony is that, not only do children's textbooks in Muslim countries openly teach hatred and hostility for non-Muslims, or "infidels" — those same people fervently trying to whitewash Islam in the U.S.A. — but so do Muslim schools operating on American soil.
At any rate, from American junior high texts obfuscating the motivation of 9/11 to censored intelligence analysts who cannot prefix more meaningful adjectives to the word "terrorist," until Islamic ideologies are addressed forthrightly, the U.S.A. — leadership and lay alike — will remain philosophically unprepared against the threat of radical Islam. Objective knowledge — properly taught and disseminated — is the first step to formulating any longterm strategy. When knowledge is unshackled from the bonds of political correctness and wishful thinking, strategies will naturally present themselves as common sense.
Bottom line: If children are sheltered from ugly truths today, how can they ever be expected to confront them as adults tomorrow?
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Raymond Ibrahim is the Associate Director of the Middle East Forum and the author of The Al-Qa'ida Reader, translations of religious texts and propaganda.
The foregoing article by Raymond Ibrahim was originally published in Pajamas Media, April 5, 2009, 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/2113/textbook-lies-about- islam)
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