A textbook used in Californian seventh-grade history classes at public schools has been criticized for proselytizing for Islam and bias against Christianity, WorldNetDaily reports. The textbook is part of a curriculum that teaches students to write Arabic by copying sentences from the Quran.
A student’s parent wrote to WorldNetDaily saying that the textbook “History Alive! The Medieval World and Beyond,” published by the Teachers’ Curriculum Institute, devotes large portions of seven chapters out of thirty-five total to Islam or Muslim topics. The religious teachings of Islam are covered in detail, while Christianity and other religions are neglected. "This book does not really go into Christianity or the teachings of Christ, nor does it address religious doctrine elsewhere to the degree it does Islam," the concerned parent wrote.
The book reportedly references Jews or Judaism four times. Once it indicates that Jews were tortured by Crusaders to force them to convert to Christianity. Other references point to Jews being blamed for the plagues and problems of the times.
“It does not talk about the Jews as making a significant impact on the culture at large,” the parent wrote.
The concerned mother, who lives in Sacramento, became worried when her son started describing how the book teaches students to write in Arabic. "I was disturbed probably [because] the greatest portion of this book is about Islam.”
"I am very troubled that in the name of tolerance and educating American children about the Muslim empire in history they get away with giving beginning Islamic teaching which may cause many to perhaps one day become Muslims," she said. "My son tells me that the students will even be using calligraphy to copy parts of the Quran in Arabic as an enrichment activity."
The American Textbook Council (ATC), a national research group founded in 1989 to review history and social studies texts in public schools, reports that the textbook whitewashes the Islamic concept of “jihad”. The textbook defines “jihad” as the human struggle “to overcome difficulties and do things that would be pleasing to God” and “to respond positively to personal difficulties as well as worldly challenges.”
Quoting Muslim hadiths and the Quran, the text says jihad can become a physical struggle in which Muslims “fight to protect themselves from those who would do them harm or to right a terrible wrong.” The textbook also interprets the Quran as forbidding forced conversions to Islam.
The New York-based American Textbook Council described “History Alive!” as a book written by "dictation from Islamic sources." Such passages, they said, "should put speculation to rest about what California's seventh-grade students may learn about Islam. At the very least, the passages are incomplete. More precisely, they are dishonest."
“The treatment [of Islam] is lyrical and loaded, echoing the language recommended by Islamist consultants,” the council said.
One of the textbook’s contributors included Ayad Al-Qazzaz, whom the Textbook Council called “a Muslim apologist, a frequent speaker in Northern California school districts promoting Islam and Arab causes." Al-Qazzaz, the council claims, has written for the Arab World and Islamic Resources, which the council alleges is “an opaque, proselytizing 'non-profit organization' that conducts teacher workshops and sells supplementary materials to schools.”
William J. Bennetta, president of the California-based Textbook League, described in a report the use of the “History Alive!” text in the Scottsdale, Arizona school system. Students were subjected to “prolonged indoctrination in Islam,” he wrote. "The writers of [the book], by relentlessly presenting Muslim religious tales and religious beliefs as matters of historical fact, have striven hard to induce students to embrace Islam."
The Textbook League’s president also claimed the textbook includes “blatant preaching as well as deceptive claims and extensive fraudulent narratives” about the origins of Islam, the life of Muhammad, and the Quran.
Bennetta echoed the claims that the Teachers’ Curriculum Institute’s book is biased against non-Muslim religions. "For example, In a passage in chapter 9, the TCI writers convey the lesson that a religious view held by Muslims is important, but views held by Jews and Christians are unworthy of consideration," he wrote.