Parents of Florida high-school students are outraged because they say a world-history textbook used in many of the state’s schools portrays Islam and Muhammad in a favorable light.
Members of the public raised concerns with Florida’s Sarasota County School Board about “World History: Patterns of Interaction,” published by Holt McDougal.
The book was approved by the Florida Department of Education for use in public schools and adopted by the school board for use from 2006 through the 2011-2012 school year.
The school board voted to retain the textbook for use in Sarasota County’s 10th–grade social-studies curriculum through 2012, rejecting complaints that the book should not be taught in public classrooms.
However, the complainants have been granted an appeal before the school board regarding the textbook decision to be held on July 20 at 3 p.m. Each side will be given 10 minutes to present their case and five minutes for a rebuttal.
The Sarasota chapter of ACT! for America, a citizen-action network, claims the textbook “has an anti-Western, anticapitalist, anti-Christian, anti-Jewish bias.”
“Conversely it promotes Eastern and Middle Eastern cultures, promotes Islam as a religion, promotes socialism and fails to address world history in a historically accurate manner,” the group said in a statement.
Sarasota County ACT! for America chapter leader Richard Swier, editor of RedCounty.com, attended a school-board meeting on April 20 to share his concerns about the textbook.
“I spoke at the school-board meeting requesting ‘World History’ be removed from the district’s approved list because it was historically untrue, academically dishonest and does not give equal treatment to all religions,” wrote Swier. “Dozens of examples of historical untruths, biases and distortions were pointed out, including: no mention of jihad as a warlike means to expand Islam; Islamic conquest as good, Christian conquest as bad; and non-Western civilizations as benign, Western civilizations as evil.”
After reading the book, Ferguson concluded that it “placed Islam in a textually superior position as fact with other religions portrayed as belief systems.” Swier has said that the textbook’s coverage of Sept. 11 is biased and that the book doesn’t even mention Muslims or jihad when discussing the attacks.
Page 1,090 of “World History: Patterns of Interaction”
Likewise, a study titled, “Textual Supremacy in World History: Patterns of Interaction, A Case Study in Islamic Apologetics in American Public Education” was written by Terri K. Wonder who holds a doctorate in interdisciplinary studies with an emphasis on Middle East studies and the influence of Islamic movements in education from the University of South Florida. Wonder conducted an extensive review of the textbook and reported her findings.
Wonder wrote that the textbook “is the product of a press that sacrifices intellectual integrity on the altar of a most pernicious religious apologetics. … Muslims may believe that Muhammad was a ‘Prophet’ in the upper case. That is their personal right of religion in America. However, teaching that belief is the purview of private religious education. A public-school board has a compact with those who elect it to make decisions that benefit public secular education.”
She wrote that the book’s “preferential treatment of Islam is achieved not merely through simple letter-writing activities to Muhammad, splendid pictorial displays of Islamic things and unflattering presentations of Christian things. That special status also is achieved by surrounding contextual accounts of Western and non-Western history leading up to and following the birth of Muhammad and centuries of invasion by Islamic armies throughout Europe, Asia and Africa.”
Wonder said the book may violate the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Parent Jeff Dunetz wrote an commentary in BigJournalism.com about the textbook after he helped his son study for a statewide history test.
“Working with him through his studies, I learned his class presented a brand-new version of history, a version that never occurred,” Dunetz wrote. “Some can argue different versions/interpretations of events that happened centuries ago, but his textbook and curriculum distorted events I saw with my own eyes.”
He said he was particularly disturbed by the book’s coverage of the period between World War II and the 1980s – especially when it claimed that both sides were aggressors in the Cold War period.
Dunetz quotes Page 983: “Both sides believed that they needed to stop the other side from extending its power.”
“What it should have said was that the Cold War was a battle between the Soviet side wanting to expand its communist philosophy across the world, and the West trying to prevent the takeover,” he wrote.
Dunetz also explained that the textbook “whitewashes the tyranny of Castro’s communist Cuba.”
“It is said that history is written by the victors, and in the past this may have been true,” he wrote. “But in the case of Cold War history, it has been rewritten by the progressives who want to indoctrinate our children to their inaccurate version of facts many of us saw with our own eyes.”
Page 269 of “World History: Patterns of Interaction”
“‘World History: Patterns of Interaction’ is a textbook lemon that needs serious revision to meet constitutional muster at both the state and federal level,” Swier wrote. “Pointing out this truth is neither ‘ignorant’ nor ‘hateful.'”
As WND reported last year, experts say American students are not getting a realistic picture of radical Islam, and textbook publishers are promoting the religion in public schools.
Gilbert T. Sewall, director of the American Textbook Council, a group that reviews history books, told Fox News the texts are sugarcoating Islamic extremism.
“Key subjects like jihad, Islamic law, the status of women are whitewashed,” Sewall said.
In a two-year project concluding in a report authored by Sewall, the American Textbook Council reviewed five junior- and five high-school world and American history texts, concluding:
“Many political and religious groups try to use the textbook process to their advantage, but the deficiencies in Islam-related lessons are uniquely disturbing. History textbooks present an incomplete and confected view of Islam that misrepresents its foundations and challenges to international security.”