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Thank you, ACT! for America: Florida History Textbooks To Be Reviewed For Bias

Posted by paulipoldie on July 13, 2010

By Kelly Cook, National Field Director & Dr. Rich Swier, ACT! for America Sarasota Chapter Leader:

There is something historic going on in Florida. A group of concerned parents, grandparents and citizens have questioned the apparent bias in a world history textbook against Western Civilization. They were initially rebuffed before a local staff committee and have been granted an appeal before the entire Sarasota County School Board regarding the textbook in question! This is the first time in Florida State history that such an appeal has been granted!

The textbook that has raised the ire of local concerned citizens in Sarasota County is titled World History: Patterns of Interaction, published by McDougal Littell (now currently published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). This textbook is currently on the Florida approved list of instructional materials.

Most, if not all, of the 67 county school districts in Florida use this same world history textbook. The textbook is fatally flawed, historically inaccurate and may violate the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution according to a comprehensive study of the textbook done by Dr. Terri K. Wonder (Click Here to read the study as a PDF document).

This textbook has an anti-Western, anti-capitalist, 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.

Sarasota County ACT! for America Chapter Leader, Dr. Rich Swier, has approached the local School Board and asked that World History: Patterns of Interaction be removed from the district approved list of instructional materials. His work has lead to a historic event — the Sarasota County School Board will hear an appeal to the Superintendent of the Sarasota County School District’s decision to deny Dr. Swier’s complaint.

*****ACTION ITEMS*****

So how can you help to turn back the anti-Western civilization and creeping Sharia contained in this Florida textbook?

Here are five steps to make a real difference in YOUR local school district:

1. Find out if your local school district is using World History: Patterns of Interaction. If so, go to Step 2.

2. File a formal complaint with the School District Superintendent (not at the school level) using the study done by Dr. Terri K. Wonder as the basis of your complaint and request this textbook be removed from the District’s approved list of instructional materials. Attach the study by Dr. Wonder to the complaint as the evidence for removal of the textbook.

3. When the Superintendent appoints a Review Committee to address your complaint, be there to listen to the discussion, take notes, and make sure the process is fair and panel is qualified and unbiased.

4. If the Review Committee recommends to the Superintendent to remove the textbook and the Superintendent accepts that recommendation – Declare Victory. However, most likely they will not. If the Superintendent totally denies your complain, go to Step 5.

5. Submit a formal appeal to the denial of your complaint directly to the local elected School Board members. For a copy of Dr. Rich Swier’s appeal that he filed, Click Here.

Never before has a Florida School Board directly heard an appeal to a textbook challenge. That all changed in Sarasota County on June 14, 2010. The Sarasota County School Board was forced into the position to establish an appeals process when Dr. Swier’s complaint was denied by the Superintendent. The Board, upon deliberation and advice from their attorney, decided to use a quasi-judicial appellate process to address the appeal. This appeal option is in local school board policy, make sure there is an appeal in your local school board policy, if not they should have one.

In the state of Florida, if this appeal is denied by the local school board, there is a process in place to appeal to the Florida State Commissioner of Education. We will pursue this direction if necessary. There is a state textbook review scheduled for Florida next year. Any cloud of doubt raised through this appeal will really help during next year’s review!

Now is the time to find out if your school district is using World History: Patterns of Interaction and time for you to take a stand to stop the anti-Western bias and creeping Sharia in our children’s public school textbooks!

To learn more about how to make a difference in what our children are taught please contact Dr. Rich Swier at rswier@comcast.net or by phone at (941) 923-2541 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (941) 923-2541      end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

If you live in the Sarasota area, the appeal will be heard by the school board on Tuesday, July 20th at the regularly scheduled late afternoon meeting. Each side in this appeal, the District and Rich Swier, will be given ten minutes to present their case with a five minute rebuttal by each side.

The public may comment. Three minutes is allotted to each person speaking. Please consider being there to make your voice heard!

Please contact the members of the board before the appeal to make your voice heard.

Here are the steps to take:

1. Be very respectful in your comments! The board has granted this appeal we’ve requested!

2. Please refer to Dr. Wonder’s work before you send an email to the members of the school board so that your points are well grounded in facts.

3. Here is the contact information for the Sarasota County School Board via email:

* Shirley Brown, Chair – shirley_brown@sarasota.k12.fl.us
* Carolyn Zucker – caroline_zucker@sarasota.k12.fl.us
* Frank Kovach – frank_kovach@sarasota.k12.fl.us
* Dr. Carol Todd – carol_todd@sarasota.k12.fl.us
* Dr. Kathy Kleinlein – kathy_klwinlein@sarasota.k12.fl.us

ACT for America
P.O. Box 12765
Pensacola, FL 32591
www.actforamerica.org

Posted in ACT! for America, Infiltration and Misinformation in Schools | 1 Comment »

Barking up the Wrong Tree

Posted by paulipoldie on September 3, 2009

http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.com/2009/09/barking-up-wrong-tree.html#readfurther

Barking up the Wrong Tree

by Baron Bodissey

The recent legal action undertaken by a Saudi law firm against the publishers of the Turban Bomb cartoon prompted a lot of discussion about the audacity of Islamic demands on the infidel West and what might be an appropriate response. Rather than simply react to the ostensible issue itself — in this case, the demand that newspapers apologize for their actions and promise never to publish a Motoon again — it’s important to look beneath the surface and examine what’s really going on here. As I have said previously, this legal action is a probe. It serves several functions:

1. It tests Western cultural defenses,

2. It games our legal system in order to strain and weaken it,

and 3. It preoccupies public attention and ties up resources while other probes and more serious offensives are mounted on different fronts.

Every moment we spend being outraged or pointing out the vileness of Muslim behavior or demanding that our governments do something is wasted. All of these outcomes contribute to the success of the probe from the point of view of the prober. Anything that sucks up our time, energy, and financial resources is a winner from the point of view of Islam. Whether the incident is a bomb on a bus, a public conflict over the construction of a mosque, or a lawsuit against the publishers of a cartoon, our various responses have up until now served the interests of the expansion of radical Islam.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Let’s take a step back and look at the big picture. I’ve been paying close attention to Islamic strategies and tactics for the past eight years, and blogging about them for the last five. Based on what I’ve seen so far, I can draw only one conclusion: Islam is winning. Yes, we threw out Saddam and the Taliban, interrupted a lot of bomb plots, and killed a lot of high-ranking terrorists. Those are significant accomplishments, and not to be minimized. But consider the enormous costs involved. For each major terrorist asset destroyed, how many millions of dollars did we spend? How many lives were lost, and how many of our people were maimed or wounded? Our successes have been very expensive. They drained a lot of our blood and treasure, helped bring on the current recession, and drove up the price of oil so as to enrich the Islamic despotisms of the Middle East even further. So how are we doing? What does the scorecard look like? Have we set the cause of radical Islam back significantly? Let’s just look at a few of the major Islamic indicators: – – – – – – – – -

For the first seven years after 9-11, an American president sucked up to “moderate” Muslims at every possible opportunity. Since he left the stage, his successor has sucked up to all the Muslims all of the time.

Score: Muslims 1, Kuffar 0.

In the years since Saudi and Egyptian radicals destroyed the World Trade Center, Egypt has received upwards of $20 billion in American aid, and the Saudis have strengthened their position as “friends of the United States” and recipients of our military hardware, all the while vacuuming up the wealth of the West in return for the oil they happen to be sitting on top of.

Score: Muslims 1, Kuffar 0.

Since the Twin Towers fell, untold numbers of new mosques — most financed by the Saudis and provisioned with the latest radical Wahhabist theological propaganda — have been built throughout the West. Innumerable prayer rooms, footbaths, halal markets, and Muslim community centers have been built in Western communities. Sharia-compliant finance — all but unheard of previously — has spread widely, and is generally trumpeted as a worthwhile alternative to the greedy usury of traditional capitalism. Public funding for “outreach” to Muslims has increased dramatically in many Western countries.

Score: Muslims 1, Kuffar 0.

On the legal front, during the years since September 11th, Muslims in a number of Western countries have gained the right wear the veil in public employment, schools, and other institutions. Courts have forced employers to grant Muslims special dispensation for their daily prayers. Municipalities have mandated separate recreational activities for men and women in their facilities at specific times. Entire school systems have gone over to a halal menu to forestall Muslim complaints. Parallel sharia legal systems, some of them having an official governmental stamp of approval, are adjudicating civil cases for Muslims. Muslims have earned special legal rights not to be offended, and non-Muslims have been obliged not to blaspheme the vile idols of Islam, at the risk of fines and imprisonment.

Score: Muslims 1, Kuffar 0.

While major Islamic violence has been forestalled by Western counterterrorism over the last eight years, low-grade Muslim violence has increased. The no-go zones in major cities have grown larger, and new ones have appeared. Attacks on persons and property have increased. More rapes of non-Muslim women by Muslims are committed. Muslims have learned that they can react violently to the smallest slight with virtual impunity.

Score: Muslims 1, Kuffar 0.

In 2001, Pakistan was the only Islamic country that possessed nuclear weapons. In 2009, Iran is on the threshold of becoming a nuclear power, and several other Muslim countries are actively seeking to catch up with it. Before 9-11, Pakistan had nukes but they were under the tight control of a military dictatorship. Pakistan still has nukes, but its political system verges on anarchy, and the Taliban control a large swath of Pakistani territory. In 2001 Afghanis lived under sharia law administered by the Taliban. In 2009 Afghanis live under a slightly less stringent version of sharia administered by a corrupt government controlled by heroin warlords.

Score: Muslims 1, Kuffar 0.

Most importantly, elected and appointed officials throughout the Western world live in fear of adverse Muslim reactions. Many of them — especially the members of the Socialist parties — depend on an electoral margin provided by the Muslim sliver of the population, and will go to great lengths to attract and keep the Muslim vote. They are quite willing to accede to all the Muslim demands outlined above — and more — to keep their corrupt and privileged positions. They do their best to suppress any honest discussion of these issues by demonizing their opponents as “racists” and “Islamophobes”.

Score: Muslims 1, Kuffar 0.

Finally, in the years since September 11, 2001, the floodgates that allow in more and more of the immigrants who cause all of these problems remain open, and in some cases are open even wider. The European Union is actively planning to import fifty million more Africans in the next several decades, and European politicians are promoting an open-borders Mediterranean Union. In the last eight years both presidents of the United States have refused to enforce the country’s immigration laws or control the southern border, and both have supported amnesty for illegal immigrants. The current president stands poised to accomplish this aim. Score: Muslims 1, Kuffar 0. And what did we get during that time? Did we score at all? We rolled into Baghdad and Kabul. We nailed Mohammed Atef and Abu Musab al Zarqawi. We nabbed Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. We captured several hundred terrorist prisoners, questioned them for a few years while they played racquetball and got fat on USDA Grade A halal food, and then let most of them go. And we spent a bazillion dollars accomplishing all this, while the price of gasoline went up to $4 a gallon. So who’s winning?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Islam’s continuing success can be attributed to a shrewd use of resources and personnel on a variety of fronts. Killing the kuffar is only one tactic among many, and today other methods are generally more effective. Except for terrorist acts and outright warfare, all of the radical Islamic offensives may be classified as probes. They are not designed to attain outright victory. The goal is not to achieve their purported aims. If they manage to confuse the infidel, or demoralize him, or cause him great expense, or disrupt his normal life, or make him live in fear, then they have succeeded. If non-believers happen to be killed or wounded as well, that’s just an added bonus. A probe tests the limits of what can be done to non-Muslims without provoking a violent or damaging response. Constant probing occurs at a relatively low level, and wears out the resistance of non-Muslims. The civil authorities in Western countries repeatedly give in to probes and allow incremental degrees of Islamization in the vain hope of stopping the steady drip-drip-drip of Islamic agitation. But the probes don’t stop; if Islam achieves marginal success in a probing action, then the pressure is increased at that point and new probes are launched. A successful push to permit the hijab in a courtroom is followed by a demand for the burqa. If an employer gives in and sets aside a prayer room, then foot baths are demanded. Each probe pushes the boundaries of the Ummah a tiny bit further outwards. These are not physical boundaries, but legal, social, and cultural boundaries. Every small success makes the host country resemble Islam just a little bit more, and helps prepare the colonized victims by making them accustomed to the nature of the Islamic state. Here’s a partial list of common probing activities. Readers will be able to add many more examples of their own:

Legal and Judicial

* Demands to allow sharia law in civil cases

* Insistence that police must follow Islamic practices (veils for the female cops, booties for the dogs) when carrying out their duties on Muslim turf

* Outcries against “profiling” when Muslims are arrested

* Charges of “discrimination” when offenders are convicted or sentenced

* Insistence that all public institutions, including prisons, must meet Muslim standards for diet, religious observance, and other specific Islamic characteristics in their environment

Territorial

* The establishment of Muslim-only neighborhoods, from which non-Muslims may be excluded and in which they must obey Islamic rules

* The insistence that any area in which Muslims have prayed becomes sacred Muslim territory and may not revert to a previous use

* The establishment of buildings specifically designed as mosques

* The demand that minarets be allowed on mosques to mark the surrounding area as Muslim

* An insistence that the call to prayer from loudspeakers be allowed at mosques

Educational

* Demands that an Islamic curriculum be used for Muslim students

* An attempt to veto any elements of teaching (the actual history of Islam, accounts of the Holocaust) that are problematic for Muslims

* Moves to allow veils in the classroom

* A push to segregate the sexes in certain activities

* A demand that school schedules be adjusted to allow Muslim students to pray, and to accommodate Islamic holidays

* Insistence that all food served in the school dining facilities be halal

Social

* A requirement that public activities in which more than a certain percentage of Muslims participate be in accord with Islamic practices — veiling, prayers, segregation of the sexes, halal food, etc.

* Demands that public space accommodate Muslim religious prohibitions, such as those against dogs or pigs — or even the depiction of dogs or pigs — or alcohol, or certain kinds of images and symbols such as crosses, etc.

* The insistence that public or private employees be allowed to refuse to engage in certain activities, such as handling alcohol or pork or (for women) shaking hands with men

* A policy that any public space used for Islamic activities — such as a non-denominational chapel at a university — must not display the symbols or offer the literature of any other religion at any time

Cultural

* An insistence that non-Muslims display the same respect and reverence for Mohammed, the Koran, and Islamic symbols as do Muslims themselves

* An assertion that “insults” to the Islamic religion are not protected by free speech laws, and in fact violate Muslims’ freedom of religion

* Demands for legal redress when public entertainment or the private behavior of individuals offends Muslim religious sensibilities

* A push to modify the legal code so that respect for Islam is mandated by law

Pressure on television and radio stations, newspapers, book publishers, art galleries, and so on to show “balance” by presenting more Muslim content and prohibiting content that violates Islamic standards

When one of the above probes finds a soft point where resistance is weak, then pressure is stepped up, and the “spontaneous” violence of the Muslim street may appear to help the infidels make the right decisions. If the probe continues to bear fruit, the situation may escalate to carefully modulated riots, arson, vandalism, and assaults. When the kuffar authorities finally yield — and allow the construction of a mosque, or fund a Muslim community center, or permit the burqa on public transport — then the entire playbook that generated the successful probe is replicated and used on another front. This process is repeated over and over again, day after day, in thousands of cities and towns across the West. Resistance is eventually worn down, and demands acceded to. Not many of them, and not often, but once a demand has been granted, there is no return to the status quo ante. The Islamic ratchet works in one direction only. Whether it is a military operation, a legal initiative, or a cultural program, once the probe succeeds, there is no reversing it. This is how the Dar al-Islam expands, and Dar al-Harb dwindles. When Islam could not hope to match the infidels militarily, it focused on terrorism. When that proved counterproductive, it tried different tactics. Probes are a continuation of terrorism by other means. The military might of the United States and the other Western powers is of no use in the face of these tactics. All of the immense gains enjoyed by Islam during the last eight years continued unabated while coalition forces chased “terrorists” in Tora Bora or defused IEDs in Anbar Province. For all our successes on these fronts, we ceded massive amounts of territory to the enemy on all the other fronts, without even realizing that there was a battle or that we were losing it.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Denmark, of course, is an exception to much of what I described above. Denmark has chosen to resist Islamization to a far greater degree than any other Western country. So let’s return to the starting point of this post. A Saudi law firm has demanded apologies, abasement, and reparations from Danish publishers because of the infamous Turban Bomb cartoon. What should the Danish response be? Obviously, there should be no new “outreach” efforts aimed at the Danish Muslim community. No politician or public figure should announce an initiative to promote “respect for Islam”. These are the usual responses of cowardly Western leaders. Such behavior would immediately signal a notably successful probe. And sending the Saudi lawyers packing after a stern judicial admonishment is not good enough. The Danish newspapers will by then have incurred substantial legal costs, and the time of judges, clerks, bailiffs, and innumerable government lawyers will have been consumed in pointless wrangling. The only way to repel this probe successfully is to make it very, very expensive for the people who launched it. Only a painful result will discourage more of the same behavior later on, in other contexts. Double indemnity is the only way to go. A finding against the plaintiffs with a levy of twice the court costs would send an unambiguous message and discourage further probing. If you are Danish, please write your newspaper and your member of parliament and insist on this kind of response. The Danes should hold fast, even if the Muslims burn cars in Nørrebro and embassies in Amman. Fortunately for all of us, this latest probe was launched in the land of Holger Danske, and thus stands very little chance of succeeding.

Posted in Counterjihad, Freedom of Speech/Redefreiheit, Human Rights - menschenrechte, Infiltration and Misinformation in Schools, Islam, Islamization, Must Read | 2 Comments »

Raymond Ibrahim: Textbook lies about Islam

Posted by paulipoldie on April 7, 2009

In a recent Pajamas Media article, I discuss how political correctness and fear have led to the whitewashing of Islam in books used by American students. Hyperlinks can be found in the original:

In recent House hearings dedicated to examining Islamic extremism, I stressed that the fundamental stumbling block to effective policy-making is educational and epistemological. What people are taught about Islam needs a serious overhaul before we can expect to formulate strategies that make sense.Worth heeding is former top Pentagon official William Gawthrop’s 2006 lament that “the senior service colleges of the Department of Defense had not incorporated into their curriculum a systematic study of Muhammad as a military or political leader. As a consequence, we still do not have an in-depth understanding of the war-fighting doctrine laid down by Muhammad, how it might be applied today by an increasing number of Islamic groups, or how it might be countered.”

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, “It’s worse than you think. They have curtailed the curriculum so that their students are not exposed to radical Islam. Akin to denying students access to Marx during the Cold War.”

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-Qaeda hijackers as “teams of terrorists” — this despite the fact that al-Qaeda has repeatedly articulated its hostile worldview through an Islamist paradigm, with a stress on hating “infidels” and waging holy war (see The Al Qaeda Reader).

Speaking of jihad, one seventh-grade textbook explains, “Jihad represents the human struggle to overcome difficulties and do things that are pleasing to God. Muslims strive to respond positively to personal difficulties as well as worldly challenges. For instance, they might work to be better people, reform society, or correct injustice.” 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, “The spread of Islam by arms is a religious duty upon Muslims in general. … Jihad must continue to be done until the whole world is under the rule of Islam. … Islam must completely be made over before the doctrine of jihad [warfare to spread Islam] can be eliminated.” Muslim legal manuals written in Arabic are even more explicit.

The report 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 backwards.

In my testimony to the House, I wrote: “It should be acknowledged that educational failures exacerbate epistemological ones, and vice versa, leading to a perpetual cycle where necessary knowledge is not merely ignored, but not even acknowledged as real in the first place. When American universities [or high schools] fail to teach Islamic doctrine and history accurately, a flawed epistemology permeates society at large. And since new students and new professors come from this already conditioned-towards-Islam society, not only do they not question the lack of accurate knowledge and education; they perpetuate it.”

This report demonstrates the validity of this vicious cycle. In fact, every last one of those flagrant textbook errors indoctrinating 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.— 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. — 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 long-term 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?

http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/2009/04/025562print.html

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American Textbook Council: Islam being whitewashed in American school books

Posted by paulipoldie on March 5, 2009

“‘What is frustrating is that repeatedly the textbook publishers have been called on their bias on the sunny, doctored view of Islam’ but have refused to balance their books.” Why? Simple: “publishers are afraid of the Islamist activists. They don’t want trouble.”

“Critic Says Islamic Extremism Gets Whitewashed in American Textbooks,” from Fox News, March 4:

An education expert is warning that some American textbooks present a biased view of Islam and offer a sugarcoated picture of Islamic extremism, a trend that has parents worried about what’s being taught in public schools. 

In numerous history textbooks, “key subjects like jihad, Islamic law, the status of women are whitewashed,” said Gilbert T. Sewall, director of the American Textbook Council, an independent group that reviews history books and other education materials.

Cindy Ross, the mother of a junior high school student in Marin County, Calif., said she couldn’t believe her eyes when she read her son’s textbook last school year.

“I was very shocked by what I saw, looking through the book,” she said — shocked at how Islam was portrayed in her son’s seventh grade history text.

“What did strike me was that all the other religions seemed to be lumped together, where there is an inordinate emphasis on Islam specifically,” Ross said.

Moreover, this “inordinate emphasis” isn’t meant to demonstrate Islam’s uniquely intolerant tenets, but rather how wonderful Islam is.

Sewall claims that publishers have been pressured by Islamic activists to portray the religion in the most favorable light, while Islamic terrorism is downplayed or glossed over. 

“The picture is incomplete … and the reason for this is that publishers are afraid of the Islamist activists. They don’t want trouble,” he told FOX News.

Sewall, who authored a report on how textbooks teach and present Islam, singled out one book that he said failed to explain what the story of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

In a section discussing Islamic fundamentalism, the textbook “World History: The Modern World,” published by Prentice Hall, omits direct mention of the 9/11 hijackers’ religion, referring to the 19 Islamic fundamentalists as “teams of terrorists.”

“On the morning of September 11, 2001,” the book reads, “teams of terrorists hijacked four airplanes on the East Coast. Passengers challenged the hijackers on one flight, which they crashed on the way to its target. But one plane plunged in to the Pentagon in Virginia, and two others slammed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York. More than 2,500 people were killed in the attacks.”

In his report on the text, Sewall called the passage “dismaying” in its flatness and brevity. “In terms of content, so much is left unanswered. Who were the teams of terrorists and what did they want do to? What were their political ends? Since ‘The Modern World’ avoids any hint of the connection between this unnamed terrorism and jihad,” he wrote, “why September 11 happened is hard to understand.”

But Muslim advocacy groups say students need to learn more about Islam to correct misconceptions and help turn away a wrongheaded focus on extremism.

“It’s wrong to show an entire faith community from the lens of a small extremist community, which is really a fringe. It’s a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the Muslim community, and that’s not how Muslims want to be framed,” said Daisy Khan, executive director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement.

I’m sure they don’t, but what does the desire of Muslims to be “framed” in positive terms have to do with reality, facts?

“I think there is an unbalanced portrayal of Islam seen mostly through a political lens, but that is not the reality of who a majority of Muslims are,” she told FOX News. 

Khan said when it comes to teaching about Islam, “I think the more important issue is American values of tolerance, respect and mutual understanding,” which can best be imparted with accurate information about the religion.

In other words, when we encounter Islam’s intolerance, say, to Western notions — “tolerance, respect, and mutual understanding” — we should rely on those same notions to overlook the fact that Islam does not.

But the content of those religious lessons also has Sewall concerned, particularly on the controversial topic of jihad. 

Sewall says the violent aspects of Islamic jihad are glossed over and that it is presented as an internal struggle or a fight for protection in books like “History Alive! The Medieval World and Beyond,” published by the Teachers Curriculum Institute.

“Jihad is defined as a struggle within each individual to overcome difficulties and strive to please god. Sometimes it may be a physical struggle for protection against enemies,” the book reads, noting that Islam teaches “that Muslims should fulfill jihad with the heart, tongue and hand. Muslims use the heart in their struggle to resist evil.”

Well, Duke professor Bruce Lawrence says that jihad — what all schools of Islamic jurisprudence have determined is offensive warfare to spread Islam — is basically striving to be “a better student, a better colleague, a better business partner. Above all, to control one’s anger”

It’s a lesson that Sewall says needs to change. 

“What is frustrating is that repeatedly the textbook publishers have been called on their bias on the sunny, doctored view of Islam” but have refused to balance their books, he said.

None of the textbook publishers contacted by FOX News regarding their books responded to requests for statements or interviews.

Parent Cindy Ross told FOX News she is concerned that unpleasant facts are being ignored for the sake of political correctness in her son’s textbooks.

“When you are talking about a history textbook, that is supposed to be talking about historical facts and they are talking about jihad in terms of spiritual terms … I think it would be completely inappropriate for a public school.”

http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/2009/03/025104print.html

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Dutch 10-12 year-olds learn in school: Wilders is Hitler, Wilders has no respect for people that look different

Posted by paulipoldie on November 3, 2008

http://www.jihadwatch.org/dhimmiwatch/archives/023342.php

Shameful. A press release from the Dutch Freedom Party:

Dutch youths will learn next week at school that Geert Wilders is to be compared to Adolf Hitler. They will receive nationally-distributed class material that states “Geert Wilders’ film Fitna and Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf are based upon one-sided points-of-view. Fortunately there are also other books and plays that -on the contrary- show respect for people with other ideas or faiths or that look different.”The pupils will receive the class material highlighting the Day of Respect, a multiculturalist project. The project is funded by three departments of the national government: Education, Justice and Housing. The school material has a national distribution among 10-to-12 year olds. The pupils will receive the newspaper at school.

Geert Wilders: “The day of respect is a hate fest against the Freedom Party. According to the organization everybody deserves ‘respect’, but of course, if you stand for freedom and oppose the islamisation of the West you don’t deserve any respect at all. Then the government will tell children you have a problem with ‘people that look different’. They play the racism card.”

“We are extremely angry the Dutch Department of Education is involved in this project. We demand from education minister Ronald Plasterk to immediate withdraw any cooperation. Children go to school to learn not to be indoctrinated.”

The Freedom Party wants the class material to be discussed in Parliament this week.

http://www.geenstijl.nl/archives/images/wildershitlerrespect.html

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Textbook council accuses publisher of being politically correct on Islam

Posted by paulipoldie on November 2, 2008

http://www.examiner.com/a-1429570~Council__Mongtomery_schools_cave_to_pressue_with_Islam_book.html

Washington, D.C. -

A new report issued by the American Textbook Council says books approved for use in local school districts for teaching middle and high school students about Islam caved in to political correctness and dumbed down the topic at a critical moment in its history.

“Textbook editors try to avoid any subject that could turn into a political grenade,” wrote Gilbert Sewall, director of the council, who railed against five popular history texts for “adjust[ing] the definition of jihad or sharia or remov[ing] these words from lessons to avoid inconvenient truths.”

Sewall complains the word jihad has gone through an “amazing cultural reorchestration” in textbooks, losing any connotation of violence. He cites Houghton Mifflin’s popular middle school text, “Across the Centuries,” which has been approved for use in Montgomery County Schools. It defines “jihad” as a struggle “to do one’s best to resist temptation and overcome evil.”

“But that is, literally, the translation of jihad,” said Reza Aslan, a religion scholar and acclaimed author of “No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam.” Aslan explained that the definition does not preclude a militant interpretation.

“How you interpret [jihad] is based on whatever your particular ideology, or world viewpoint, or even prejudice is,” Aslan said. “But how you define jihad is set in stone.”

A statement from Montgomery County Public Schools said that all text used by teachers had been properly vetted and were appropriate for classroom uses.

Aslan said groups like Sewall’s are often more concerned about advancing their own interpretation of Islam than they are about defining its parts and then allowing interpretation to happen at the classroom level.

Sewall’s report blames publishing companies for allowing the influence of groups like the California-based Council on Islamic Education to serve throughout the editorial process as “screeners” for textbooks, softening or deleting potentially unflattering topics within the faith.

“Fundamentally I’m worried about dumbing down textbooks,” he said, “by groups that come to state education officials saying we want this and that – and publishers need to find a happy medium.”

Maryland state delegate Saqib Ali refrained from joining the fray. “The job of assigning curriculum is best left to educators and the school board, and I trust their judgment,” he said.

lfabel@dcexaminer.com

Posted in Infiltration and Misinformation in Schools | Leave a Comment »

Refuting God’s Crucible

Posted by paulipoldie on November 2, 2008

http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/3344

This text is written in response to God’s Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215 by David Levering Lewis, an American historian and two-time winner of the prestigious Pulitzer Prize. In my opinion the book is largely a waste of money. This essay is not made to review the book as much as it is to refute it. It overlaps to some extent with the text The Truth About Islam in Europe, which I have published at the Brussels Journal before.

Briefly summed up, God’s Crucible laments the fact that Charles Martel, “the Hammer,” halted the advancing Islamic Jihad at the Battle of Tours or, Battle of Poitiers, in 732:

“Had ‘Abd al-Rahman’s men prevailed that October day, the post-Roman Occident would probably have been incorporated into a cosmopolitan, Muslim regnum unobstructed by borders, as they hypothesize – one devoid of a priestly caste, animated by the dogma of equality of the faithful, and respectful of all religious faiths. Curiously, such speculation has a French pedigree. Forty years ago, two historians, Jean-Henri Roy and Jean Deviosse enumerated the benefits of a Muslim triumph at Poitiers: astronomy; trigonometry; Arabic numerals; the corpus of Greek philosophy. ‘We [Europe] would have gained 267 years,’ according to their calculations. ‘We might have been spared the wars of religion.’ To press the logic of this disconcerting analysis, the victory of Charles the Hammer must be seen as greatly contributing to the creation of an economically retarded, balkanized, fratricidal Europe that, in defining itself in opposition to Islam, made virtues out of religious persecution, cultural particularism, and hereditary aristocracy.”

Mr. Lewis is clearly sympathetic towards this view, and writes that the Carolingian order, established Charles Martel (Carolus in Latin) and his grandson Charlemagne, was “religiously intolerant, intellectually impoverished, socially calcified, and economically primitive.” Curiously, he mentions in passing that there was continuous “out-migration to the Christian kingdoms” from al-Andalus. Why did they move to the Christian lands, whose economy was “little better than late Neolithic,” if life was so sweet in al-Andalus? Lewis states that: “At the end of the eighth century, Europe was militarily strong enough to defend itself from Islam, thanks in part to Charlemagne and his predecessors. The question was whether it was politically, economically, and culturally better off for being able to do so.”

As Tim Rutten commented in his review in the Los Angeles Times: “In other words, the West would be better off if it had been incorporated into an all-conquering Islamic empire in the early Middle Ages. OK. Still, it’s fair to wonder why, if that’s true, the West ended up with the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution and the Scientific Revolution and the Islamic world got chronic underdevelopment, a pervasive religious obscurantism, Al Qaeda and the trust fund states of the Arabian peninsula?” Mr. Rutten also pointed out that another person who wanted Islam to win and wipe out Christianity was Adolf Hitler.

God’s Crucible is published during a time when Spain and Portugal under Islamic occupation are being hailed as a model of coexistence with Islam. The European Union recently announced its intentions of expanding to include the Muslim Middle East and North Africa. There is a concerted effort going on to present Islam as something non-threatening. In May 2008, Germany’s Der Spiegel, Europe’s largest weekly magazine, hailed al-Andalus as a “Multicultural model” for Europe: “For nearly 800 years, the inhabitants of al-Andalus, as the Arab dynasties called their empire on the Iberian Peninsula, allowed Jews, Christians and Muslims to coexist in a spirit of mutual respect — a situation that benefited all.”

As Robert Spencer says in his book Religion of Peace?: Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn’t: “Islamic apologist Karen Armstrong enunciates the common wisdom when she says that ‘until 1492, Jews and Christians lived peaceably and productively together in Muslim Spain – a coexistence that was impossible elsewhere in Europe.’ Even the U.S. State Department has proclaimed that ‘during the Islamic period in Spain, Jews, Christians, and Muslims lived together in peace and mutual respect, creating a diverse society in which vibrant exchanges of ideas took place.'”

Those who want a second opinion can start with reading the online essay Andalusian Myth, Eurabian Reality by Bat Ye’or and Andrew G. Bostom: “There were rarely periods of peace in the Amirate of Cordova (756-912), nor later. Al-Andalus represented the land of jihad par excellence. Every year, sometimes twice a year, raiding expeditions were sent to ravage the Christian Spanish kingdoms to the north, the Basque regions, or France and the Rhone valley, bringing back booty and slaves. Andalusian corsairs attacked and invaded along the Sicilian and Italian coasts, even as far as the Aegean Islands, looting and burning as they went. Thousands of people were deported to slavery in Andalusia, where the caliph kept a militia of tens of thousand of Christian slaves brought from all parts of Christian Europe (the Saqaliba), and a harem filled with captured Christian women.”

Lewis alludes to some of this himself. He mentions “a small group of Andalusian Christians” filled with “fanaticism” who engaged in “a senseless spike in religious provocation” where individual Christian priests and laypersons “publicly disrespected mosques, the Qur’an, and the Prophet’s name.” Because of this, Cordoba’s qadi (Islamic judge), poor thing, had no choice. The ruler Muhammad I “approved his qadi‘s death sentence in 851-52 for thirteen Christians for whom clemency was impolitic if not impossible under Malikite Sharia.”

Unfortunately, these “Christian militants,” as Mr. Lewis calls them, were still deaf to all pleas of behaving properly submissive to Muslims, and more death sentences ensued:

“Twenty or so ‘Mozarab martyrs’ were dispatched in 853 or the year following, and a dozen more afterward. In another wave of Christian blasphemy in 859, thirteen more were executed, along with two daughters of a prominent Muslim family living in distant Huesca who defiantly disclosed their secret Christian conversion.” Lewis believes that: “A poll taken of Andalusians of all faiths would have shown an overwhelming disapproval of the ‘Mozarab martyrs.’ These Christian extremists were an aberration not because they acted outside history but because they were premature – three centuries ahead of the history whose intense cultural nationalism and religious intolerance were inculcated in the decades after the Battle of Clavijo.”

The “religious intolerance” he is referring to is not the Jihad waged against Christians and Jews in Spain and Portugal; it is the Reconquista, the Christian reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula. It is traditionally seen to have begun with Pelayo in 718. Although initially slow, it speeded up from the eleventh century onwards. The Portuguese had been liberated in 1249 under King Afonso III. The concept “Holy War” was originally alien to Christianity and was imported to Europe only after Europeans had been confronted with centuries of Islamic Jihad.

In a review in the Washington Post, James Reston Jr. criticized the “stilted academic prose,” but concluded that “Lewis has made an important contribution to the growing body of literature on Muslim-Christian relations that has emerged after 9/11.” Eric Ormsby of the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times, even if commenting on the “overly rosy picture often painted of Muslim Spain,” concluded that “In the end, these errors do not seriously mar the powerful thrust of his narrative.”

Lewis himself writes that people during this “golden age of tolerance” were executed for criticizing Islam. Isn’t that a bit disturbing, given that al-Andalus is now supposed to serve as the blueprint for our coexistence with Islam, according to our authorities and much of our media? “Blasphemy” against Islam and Muhammad is punishable by death according to sharia law, which is why the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered by a Muslim in Amsterdam in 2004.

On September 11th 2001 the city of New York suffered a Jihadist attack which caused more deaths than any other attack on the American mainland in its history, yet a few years later the New York Times publishes a reasonably positive review of a book which says explicitly that European civilization, and by extension the Unites States, should have been wiped out by Jihad centuries ago. I find this particularly disconcerting because I know for a fact that books by Ibn Warraq, Robert Spencer and other Islam-critical authors have too often been ignored by the same newspaper, which appears more willing to listen to those who want to wipe out their civilization than to those who want to defend it.

The idea behind God’s Crucible and similar books seems to be that we have such a “Eurocentric” culture and that “Islamic civilization” is being unfairly treated. I can count endless amounts of books on the dark sides of European colonialism, some of them no doubt justified, yet comparatively few good books have been published on the victims of 1400 years of Islamic Jihad on several continents. The problem is that Islam gets too little criticism, not too much. In contrast, I actually believe European culture is being slighted today. We now face a situation where the United Nations increasingly wants to ban “Islamophobia” across the world as hate speech, while books saying that Western civilization should have been wiped out are praised. Which civilization is actually being demonized here?

Europe has for much of its history undeniably been a rather violent place, though this is not unique to Europe. I will question, however, whether Europeans are particularly “ethnocentric.” After having spent a lot of time reading history from several continents, visiting other countries and talking to people from different cultures, my impression is that Europeans have, by and large, been less ethnocentric and a lot more willing to give credit to other cultures than is common elsewhere. Western countries are being destabilized because of mass immigration from nations across the entire world, including Muslim countries. Our current problem is that we are too open-minded and naive, not that we are “too racist.” This is still a flaw, but precisely the opposite of the ones we are constantly being accused of having.

The French writer Remi Brague explains this in his interesting book Eccentric Culture: A Theory of Western Civilization: “It is now fashionable to hurl at European culture the adjective ‘eurocentric.’ To be sure, every culture, like every living being, can’t help looking at the other ones from its own vantage point, and Europe is no exception. Yet, no culture was ever so little centered on itself and so interested in the other ones as Europe. China saw itself as the ‘Middle Kingdom.’ Europe never did. ‘Eurocentrism’ is a misnomer. Worse: it is the contrary of the truth.”

Moreover, “Islamic civilization, in contrast to Europe, has hardly dreamed of using its knowledge of the foreign as an instrument that would permit it, through comparison and distancing in relations to itself, to understand itself by becoming conscious of the non-obvious character of its cultural practices.”

Muslims were for the most part uninterested in other cultures and rarely bothered to learn their languages. The few translations that were made from other cultures were mainly concerned with scientific matters, not with historical events or “useless” cultural ideas, and they were often made by non-Muslims. The creation of archaeology as a scientific discipline was done by Europeans during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Muslims showed little interest in the history of their pre-Islamic ancestors, let alone that of other nations, and sometimes aggressively destroyed historical remains unearthed in their own countries.

According to Remi Brague, usually a culture reflects on itself only when it is constrained by an inferior situation. Europe, on the other hand, represents the perhaps unique case of self-reflection brought about through its relation to peoples whose land it had just conquered. One such example is the Spanish Dominican priest Bartolomé de las Casas, who in the sixteenth century chastised his countrymen for abuses against natives in the Americas. In the words of Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa:

“Father Las Casas was the most active, although not the only one, of those nonconformists who rebelled against abuses inflicted upon the Indians. They fought against their fellow men and against the policies of their own country in the name of the moral principle that to them was higher than any principle of nation or state. This self-determination could not have been possible among the Incas or any of the other pre-Hispanic cultures. In these cultures, as in the other great civilizations of history foreign to the West, the individual could not morally question the social organism of which he was part, because he existed only as an integral atom of that organism and because for him the dictates of the state could not be separated from morality. The first culture to interrogate and question itself, the first to break up the masses into individual beings who with time gradually gained the right to think and act for themselves, was to become, thanks to that unknown exercise, freedom, the most powerful civilization of our world.”

Some of the abuses Las Casas accused his countrymen of were undoubtedly real and should not be excused. Still, we should remember that for instance Mesoamerica was a region with bloody conquests going on in pre-Columbian times, especially by the Aztecs, who practiced human sacrifice on a scale unknown in the Old World at the time. Yet to my knowledge, no account has come down to us of individual Aztecs criticizing their countrymen for these practices, certainly not cases that affected public policy. In my opinion, the Aztec religion was evil, and whatever else the Spanish have been guilty of in their former colonies, stamping out the Aztec religion should definitely count among their good deeds. In the process of converting the Aztecs (Mexica), the missionary Bernardino de Sahagún nevertheless took great care to record the language and customs of the people he was working with.

In 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, a book hailing the pre-Columbian cultures of the Americas, Charles C. Mann writes the following: “Sahagún is known as the first American anthropologist, for he labored for decades to understand the Indians he sought to convert. With other missionaries, he amassed an archive on the Mexica and their neighbors – dynastic histories, dictionaries of native languages, descriptions of customs, collections of poetry and drama, galleries of paintings and sculpture – unequaled by that on any other Indian group, even the Inka. From it emerges, in almost full detail, a group portrait of a kind that is usually obscured by loss.”

An Islamic Spain could have produced brutal conquerors, but would have been unlikely to display the self-criticism of Bartolomé de las Casas or the cultural curiosity of Bernardino de Sahagún, both products of a Christian European civilization. In India, the discovery of the Indo-European language family, the world’s largest in terms of speakers today, was made by Sir William Jones, a gifted British classical scholar who had mastered French, Italian and some Hebrew and Arabic at an early age. According to Ibn Warraq in Defending the West: A Critique of Edward Said’s Orientalism, Jones is said to have known thirteen languages well, and twenty-eight fairly well, at the time of his death. In 1786 he elaborated a theory of the common origins of most European languages and those of Iran and northern India. According to Nicholas Ostler in Empires of the Word, the Mughal rulers in India, largely of Turkish origins but influenced by Persian culture, had never made the same connection: “The new Muslim masters, despite their independent knowledge of Arabic, Persian and Turkish, did not distinguish themselves for their linguistic scholarship.”

If you believe Mr. Edward Said, the “orientalist” Sir William Jones was actually a racist pig who invented comparative linguistics in order to establish his country’s dominance over “the Other.” If so, it’s strange that Muslims didn’t think of this when they ruled other peoples for centuries. After all, Persian, which they knew, is an Indo-European language, as is Sanskrit as well as Greek, Armenian and the tongues of many of their subjects. Muslim scholars had access to a number of Semitic languages, from Arabic and Hebrew to Aramaic, in addition to languages of other Afro-Asiatic branches in North and East Africa. They were thus in a position to discover this linguistic tree, too, but they didn’t. Did they simply lack curiosity?

Said has accused Westerners of creating negative myths about others, but some of the most stubborn myths are directed against our own ancestors, not against “the Other.” As Edward Grant puts it in Science and Religion, 400 B.C. to A.D. 1550: From Aristotle to Copernicus:

“Perhaps the most powerful illustration of bias against the Middle Ages concerns Christopher Columbus’ voyage of discovery to the New World in 1492. Many came to believe that the most significant achievement of Columbus’ voyage was the discovery that the earth is not flat – as was universally believed in the Middle Ages – but round. This is utterly false. No educated person in the Middle Ages believed in a flat earth (Russel 1991). They all knew it was round. Their authority was Aristotle. In his major cosmological treatise, On the Heavens, Aristotle emphatically declared the earth a sphere and even presented an estimate of its circumference. All who were educated in the universities of the Middle Ages would have read that passage. But it could be found in many other treatises they might also have read. No one would have doubted it. And yet, nineteenth-century authors were able to construct a falsehood still widely believed that everyone in the Middle Ages believed in a flat earth until Columbus’ voyage proved its sphericity.”

David C. Lindberg confirms this in a discussion of Aristotle’s thoughts on the cosmos in The Beginnings of Western Science:

“Arguing from his natural philosophy, he pointed out that since the natural tendency of earth is to move toward the center of the universe, it must arrange itself symmetrically about that point. But he also called attention to the observational evidence, including the circular shadow cast by the earth during a lunar eclipse and the fact that north-south motion by an observer on the surface of the earth alters the apparent position of the stars. Aristotle even reported an estimate by mathematicians of the earth’s circumference (400,000 stades = about 45,000 miles, roughly 1.8 times the modern value). The sphericity of the earth, thus defended by Aristotle, would never be forgotten or seriously questioned. The widespread myth that medieval people believed in a flat earth is of modern origin.”

David Levering Lewis in God’s Crucible mocks the state of learning in medieval Europe, yet largely ignores the Byzantine Empire. I have been told that the books of John Julius Norwich regarding Byzantine culture are good, but as an introduction, A History of Byzantium by Timothy Gregory is not bad. I have reviewed it in The Legacy of Byzantium at Jihad Watch.

According to Lewis, while the libraries of Cordoba contained many thousands of manuscripts, “The great Benedictine abbey of St. Gall in Switzerland numbered a mere six hundred books, all of them in vellum (calfskin) or parchment (sheepskin). The availability of paper in the Arab empire greatly enhanced the diffusion of knowledge and made large library holdings possible. Paper – made from bark, linen, and hemp rather than the papyrus of pressed reeds of the Egyptians – would have an impact on Muslims similar to that of the printing press on Europeans seven hundred years later.”

There is some truth in this. Europe after Rome: A New Cultural History 500-1000 by Julia Smith is a much better book on the Early Middle Ages in Europe. As Smith says:

“Books required expert scribes and an abundant supply of high-quality animal skins for the parchment. Consider two of the most famous works from eighth-century Northumbria: Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, available today as a paperback of 290 pages, required the skins of about thirty animals for a single copy, while the magnificent, exceptionally large Lindisfarne Gospels was made from the skins of over 150 calves. Hildemar of Corbie (d. c.850) intimated that his monastery could sell a book made from thirty skins for 60 denarii (silver pennies), a sum approximately equivalent to the value of four fleecy sheep or fifteen piglets: Corbie’s own library possessed over 300 titles, most of them recently copied. Stocking a library of this size was extremely expensive.”

Before paper, the principal alternative to animal skins was Egyptian papyrus. As J. M. Roberts states in The New Penguin History of the World:

“From pre-dynastic times it was used for historical record and as early as the First Dynasty the invention of papyrus – strips of reed-pith, laid criss-cross and pounded together into a homogeneous sheet – provided a convenient medium for its multiplication. This invention had much greater importance for the world than hieroglyph; cheaper than skin (from which parchment was made) and more convenient (though more perishable) than clay tablets or slates of stone, it was the most general basis of correspondence and record in the Near East until well into the Christian era, when the invention of paper reached the Mediterranean world from the Far East (and even paper took its name from papyrus). Soon after the appearance of papyrus, writers began to paste sheets of it together into a long roll; thus the Egyptians invented the book, as well as the material on which it could first be written and a script which is an ancestor of our own. It may be our greatest debt to the Egyptians, for a huge proportion of what we know of antiquity comes to us directly or indirectly via papyrus.”

Papyrus grows only in warmer climates and there was a limit to how much papyrus you could actually produce. The establishment of the Library of Alexandria required large amounts of it. When another library was established in Pergamon in the second century BC, parchment was perfected as an alternative and was named after that city. This was by no means the first time that animal skins had been used as writing materials, but their importance was enhanced.

There are several types of parchment, for instance vellum, made from calf skin (or goat skin). Because parchment was expensive it was sometimes reused. The only surviving copies of two works of the Greek mathematician Archimedes, who lived in the third century BC, were copied from papyrus rolls onto parchment and copied again by generation of scribes, until a Byzantine priest in the thirteenth century reused the parchment for a prayer book, which was discovered in a Greek Orthodox monastery in 1906 by Danish scholar Johan Ludwig Heiberg. The reconstruction of the original text has revealed that Archimedes was working with understandings of the concept of “infinity” which would not be rivalled until Englishman Isaac Newton and German mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz invented calculus two thousand years alter. The fascinating story can be read in The Archimedes Codex.

The invention of paper is one of China’s greatest gifts to mankind. The knowledge of paper-making spread west via the Middle East, North Africa and finally Spain after having been acquired by Muslims during a Jihad against Chinese troops in AD 751. Although it is probably historically accurate to say that Muslims helped spread the use of paper in both Europe and India, it is highly doubtful whether this makes up for the lasting destruction they brought to the lands they conquered. It is also likely that this Chinese invention would eventually have been adopted anyway, and it should be mentioned that Islamic countries stubbornly resisted the adoption of printing for more than a thousand years after it was first invented in China, despite the fact that Persians, Arabs and other Muslims were in regular contact with East Asia through trade and must have been familiar with the invention.

As Toby E. Huff says in his excellent book The Rise of Early Modern Science, “Up until the middle of the tenth century, papyrus was the main source of writing material. Papermaking was first learned by the Arabs from the Chinese as early as the eighth century in Samarqand. By the middle of that century there was a state-owned paper mill in operation in Baghdad, and by the middle of the tenth century the use of paper was so widespread that the manufacture and use of papyrus for writing materials had died out.”

Huff suggests that the library resources of the Middle East were initially clearly superior not only to Europe but even to those of China, where there was less emphasis on libraries even though the Chinese, unlike the Europeans at this time, had the tools to make them. He also believes that there was in Islamic civilization “a strong distrust of the common man, and efforts were made after the golden age to prevent his gaining access to printed material.”

David Levering Lewis picks every opportunity he can to dismiss medieval Europeans as backward fanatics and primitive simpletons, but he does have a couple of admissions of positive qualities in their culture. He mentions that the Catholic Church banned polygamy and imposed restrictions on divorce in order to establish monogamy as the norm:

“The social ramifications for Western society could hardly have been more profound. Selection of exogamous mates imposed patience, discipline, and discernment. Though valued as property and for procreation, women of the upper classes gradually acquired greater influence as mothers in marital decisionmaking. Relieved of the intraspousal competition for respect, power, and resources that characterized polygamous arrangements, Western women – notwithstanding the oppressive realities of patriarchy – achieved in time the potential for personal freedom that would set them apart from most of their sisters elsewhere in the world. With a fine sense of the blunt, Bishop Hincmar of Reims told Frankish men where things were heading. ‘Whether she be a drunkard, irritable, immoral, luxurious, and gluttonous, a vagabond, cursing and swearing,’ he said, ‘whether you like it or not, you must keep her.’ For all the cultural superiority of their situation to their Carolingian peer, Andalusian women were given so such guarantees by the Qur’an.”

This view is confirmed by historian Bernard Lewis in his book What Went Wrong?:

“The difference in the position of women was indeed one of the most striking contrasts between Christian and Muslim practice, and is mentioned by almost all travelers in both directions. Christianity, of all churches and denominations, prohibits polygamy and concubinage. Islam, like most other non-Christian communities, permits both….Muslim visitors to Europe speak with astonishment, often with horror, of the immodesty and frowardness of Western women, of the incredible freedom and absurd deference accorded to them, and of the lack of manly jealousy of European males confronted with the immorality and promiscuity in which their womenfolk indulge.”

David Levering Lewis expands on this with regards to another subject: “Chess, a favorite pastime of Harun al-Rashid, would be taken up by Andalusians in the 820s. Precisely when chess underwent its startling revolution on the Iberian peninsula is uncertain – when, that is, the ‘queen’ would displace the ‘vizir’ as the most powerful piece in the game, empowered to move unrestricted in all directions. In any case, the fact that the chess game played among Andalusi Arabs would keep to the old rules along with the traditional pieces, while Christians and Jews accepted the ‘queen,’ raises enough thoughts about the politics of gender in early Islam and Christianity to fill many books.”

The history of chess is still debated, but it is commonly held that the first version of the game was invented in India. It spread to Persia before the Islamic conquests, and was carried to East Asia and from the Middle East and the Byzantine Empire to Europe. It was called chaturanga in Sanskrit, which changed to chatrang and shatranj in the Middle East, while many European languages adopted some version of the Persian word for king, Shah. Chess went through a number of mutations as it spread. During the Middle Ages in Europe, the names and moves of the pieces changed considerably, until the game was more or less settled by the end of the fifteenth century. The queen became the piece with the greatest freedom of movement. This was definitely not a feature of the form of chess played by Muslims, who would never allow an unveiled female character to move around freely between male characters. The chess queen looked like some kind of harlot to them, no doubt. Although an Indian game originally, it is Western chess, as it came to be known, that is played in international tournaments.

Among the finest and funniest sets of chess from medieval times are the Lewis Chessmen, believed to have been made in Trondheim, Norway, in the twelfth century. They contain the “European pieces,” including the queen, and were carved from walrus ivory, which was often imported from the Norse colony in Greenland. According to Jared Diamond in Collapse:

“Greenland’s most prized exports mentioned in Norwegian records were five products derived from Arctic animals rare or absent in most of Europe: walrus ivory from walrus tusks, walrus hide (valued because it yielded the strongest rope for ships), live polar bears or their hides as a spectacular status symbol, tusks of the narwhal (a small whale) known then in Europe as unicorn horns, and live gyrfalcons (the world’s largest falcon). Walrus tusks became the only ivory available in medieval Europe for carving after Moslems gained control of the Mediterranean, thereby cutting off supplies of elephant ivory to Christian Europe. As an example of the value placed on Greenland gyrfalcons, 12 of those birds sufficed in 1396 to ransom the Duke of Burgundy’s son after he was captured by the Saracens [Muslims].”

It is interesting to notice how Diamond, who usually ignores Islam in his writings, casually mentions the fact that Muslims “controlled the Mediterranean.” Jihad piracy, slavery and attacks on European countries were a constant menace from the Jihad in the seventh century until the so-called Barbary States in North Africa in the nineteenth century. Some would argue that it is resurfacing now, for instance in the form of kidnapping of Western tourists.

As Paul Fregosi says in Jihad in the West: Muslim Conquests from the 7th to the 21st Centuries: “Western colonization of nearby Muslim lands lasted 130 years, from the 1830s to the 1960s. Muslim colonization of nearby European lands lasted 1300 years, from the 600s to the mid-1960s. Yet, strangely, it is the Muslims…who are the most bitter about colonialism and the humiliations to which they have been subjected; and it is the Europeans who harbor the shame and the guilt. It should be the other way around.”

The Age of Exploration during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries was undertaken in order to get away from Muslims and re-establish contact with the civilizations of Asia without hostile middlemen. Norman Davies puts it this way in his monumental Europe: A History: “Islam’s conquests turned Europe into Christianity’s main base. At the same time the great swathe of Muslim territory cut the Christians off from virtually all direct contact with other religions and civilizations. The barrier of militant Islam turned the [European] Peninsula in on itself, severing or transforming many of the earlier lines of commercial, intellectual and political intercourse.”

When it comes to learning, there were no universities in the Islamic world. I have encountered few if any institutions outside of Europe that I would call “universities” in the Western sense before modern times. Among the best candidates is the Great Monastery of Nalanda in India, which was a Buddhist institution. It was not built by Muslims, it was destroyed by Muslims.

Already before AD 1300, Europeans had created an expanding network of universities, an institution that had no real equivalent in any other civilization on earth, and had invented mechanical clocks and eyeglasses, which was also not done in any other civilization. It is easy to underestimate the importance of this, but the ability to make accurate measurements of natural phenomena was of vital importance during the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions. The use of glass lenses for eyeglasses led directly to the development of the microscope and the telescope, and thus the birth of modern medicine and astronomy. The network of universities facilitated the spread of information and debate and served as an incubator for many later scientific advances. All of these innovations were made centuries before European colonialism had begun, indeed at a time when Europe itself was a victim of colonialism and had been so for many centuries. Parts of Spain were still under Islamic occupation, an aggressive Jihad was being waged by the Turks in the remaining Byzantine lands, and the coasts from France via Italy to Croatia had been subject to centuries of Islamic raids. What did happen of innovation in the Islamic world generally took place in older centers of civilization, in Iran and Iraq, Syria and Egypt, and only while there was still a large non-Muslim population. The one “innovation” I can think of that was actually made by Muslims in the Arab Peninsula is coffee, which is an Ethiopian shrub but was first made into a drink in Yemen, later spreading to Mecca, Cairo and eventually the Mediterranean and Europe.

There are several names in use for Iran, Iraq, Jordan and Syria. One is the “Near East.” Another is “West Asia,” which excludes Egypt, a country with strong historical ties to this region. I prefer the term the “Middle East” because it is a reminder that this region is, well, in the middle. It was the only region that had regular contacts with all the major civilizations of the Old World, from Mediterranean Europe via India to East Asia. The Chinese had little exposure to Greek mathematics and natural philosophy whereas Muslims were well familiar with Greek ideas. Europe suffered the worst disadvantages by having little direct contact with South, Southeast and East Asia, in part cut off by Muslims. The favorable geographical position of the Middle East is demonstrated by the early access to Chinese paper and the Indian numeral system, to name but two things. Europeans thus outperformed Muslims despite having a significantly weaker starting point.

In addition to this, the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca and one of the five pillars of Islam, could have been a great opportunity for exchanging scientific and technological information to and from all regions of the Old World. This did happen occasionally. For instance, some agricultural inventions were transferred to Muslim West Africa this way. Primarily, however, it served to spread information on how to kill more infidels and better to implement sharia. Muslims thus enjoyed a favorable geographic position, ruled over significant numbers of non-Muslims and had access to the accumulated learning of many of the oldest civilizations on the planet. The challenge here is not to explain why there was a brief burst of creativity in the earliest centuries of Islamic rule. The challenge is to explain why this didn’t last, and how this once-dynamic region gradually changed from being a global center of civilization, as it had been for thousands of years, to the global center of anti-civilization it is today. That would be an interesting book, but I don’t suspect David Levering Lewis will be the person to write it.

The primary cause of the failure of the Islamic world is Islam. Those who want to know more about this should read book by people who actually understand Islam. I recommend virtually any book by Robert Spencer and Bat Ye’or, but here are some others:

Understanding Muhammad by former Muslim Ali Sina

Leaving Islam: Apostates Speak Out by former Muslims, edited by Ibn Warraq

Global Jihad: The Future in the Face of Militant Islam by former Muslim Patrick Sookhdeo

The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims by Andrew G. Bostom

The Al Qaeda Reader by Raymond Ibrahim

Defeating Jihad: How the War on Terrorism Can Be Won – in Spite of Ourselves by Serge Trifkovic

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Bat Ye’or: “We have to educate the European, American and Israeli youth to recover their culture and values”

Posted by paulipoldie on November 2, 2008

http://www.jihadwatch.org/dhimmiwatch/archives/021701.php

An interview with the heroic and pioneering scholar of dhimmitude, Bat Ye’or.

“One on One: A ‘dhimmi’ view of Europe,” by Ruthie Blum in the Jerusalem Post, July 9 (thanks to Ruth King):

‘I always thought I’d be writing novels,” says Bat Ye’or, her wistfulness somehow adding an extra touch of class to her thick French accent. “Not such serious work.”Given the gravity of her subject matter, and what some might consider her alarmist way with words, this is hard to believe. But then, so is the historian’s life story, which is the stuff that sagas are made of.

Hers began in Egypt during World War II. The daughter of a middle-class Jewish family named Orebi, Bat Ye’or (her trademark pseudonym, which in Hebrew means “daughter of the Nile”) fled with her parents to England in 1957 – after suffering the brunt of the anti-Semitism she claims characterized the entire Arab world.

In 1959, she married a Briton – also a historian – whom she prefers not to name, to protect his and her privacy. The couple then moved to and settled in Switzerland in 1960, where they raised their children and continue to reside.

She is the author of eight books, including The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians under Islam (1985); The Decline of Eastern Christianity: From Jihad to Dhimmitude (1996); Islam and Dhimmitude: Where Civilizations Collide (2001); and – the one which captured international attention and catapulted her into the center of controversy – Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis (2005). Saying that Europe is basically finished, due to its kissing up to the Arabs, will do that.

Here recently to promote the release of her best-selling “cautionary tale” in Hebrew (EuroArabia, Schocken Publishers; translation by Arie Hashavia), Bat Ye’or explains why she believes the West in general, and Europe in particular, is in state of denial at best, and dhimmitude at worst. To make matters more complicated, she asserts, though the citizens of European countries long to preserve their individual and collective cultures of freedom and democracy – which they have been exhibiting at the polls – the European Union, influenced by the UN-backed Islamic leadership, advocates appeasement and passivism.

In an hour-long interview on the terrace of her Mishkenot Sha’ananim digs overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem, Bat Ye’or expounds on her bleak prognosis in an articulate tirade, raising her voice now and then for emphasis, pausing occasionally to laugh. What she has to say about the state of the world, however, is more likely to make one cry.

Why do you use a pseudonym?

For many reasons. First of all, when I left Egypt and started living in Europe, I found that I had changed – that I was no longer the person I had been before.

Secondly, I have always preferred to keep my personal and professional lives separate. I have always wanted my social standing to be distinct from my being the wife of my husband, the daughter of my parents and the mother of my children. It is a matter of independence.

Why did your family leave Egypt?

We left as part of the big exodus of Jews from Arab-Muslim countries. Jews suffered from severe anti-Semitism, especially in Egypt. There was a powerful Nazi community, established by [then Egyptian president Gamal Abdel] Nasser. There were many anti-Jewish laws. There was a general feeling of insecurity. There was open hatred expressed by the Muslim Brotherhood, especially in relation to the Palestine issue. As early as World War II – particularly after the November 1945 pogroms in Egypt – Jews began leaving the country. Many went to Israel. At that time there was a Zionist underground. Zionism was made a criminal offense for which you could be jailed or even tortured. So, many young people left. For the old people, of course, it was difficult, because many were members of the bourgeoisie, and it was forbidden for Jews to take any money or assets out of the country when they left. My parents’ assets were confiscated, for example, which created economic problems for our family.

Are you saying that as World War II ended, and in Europe Nazism became taboo, it was gaining strength in the Arab world?

Yes, but even before and throughout the war, both Nazism and fascism were strong in the Arab world. Hitler and Mussolini were heroes. The whole Middle East was in turmoil because the Arab-Muslim populations were all favorable to Nazism and anti-Semitic policies.

How much of what was going on in the death camps in Europe were you and other Jews in Egypt aware of at the time?

We knew everything. I remember my parents listening very carefully to the radio. And it was also in the newspaper. But also, my mother’s family was in France, and they were forced to wear the yellow star. So we knew.

When you heard about the peace treaty that Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin signed with Egyptian president Anwar Sadat in 1979, how did you feel?

I wasn’t following it that carefully, due to family problems. Nor was I familiar with Israeli politics at the time. But I trusted Begin to do the best thing for Israel. So, I did have hope. Still, what you have to understand is that the problem is much larger than Egypt. The whole Muslim world is becoming more and more radicalized – more rooted in Shari’a, and less open to anything outside the religion. This is due to the policies of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), with 57 Islamic member states and a permanent delegation to the UN. At its last summit in December 2005, it decided upon a 10-year plan, one of whose resolutions was to root the Islamic uma – the world Muslim community – in the Koran and the [oral tradition of the] Hadith, which, of course, means Wahabbism. They also resolved to make the Palestinian issue the central issue of international politics. This is why we see relentless pressure on Israel from different countries. Because the OIC is an extremely powerful body, demographically, politically and economically.

 

The OIC is an Islamic body. How has it managed to turn the Palestinian issue into a Western focus? And to what do you attribute the political and cultural success of its ideology in Europe and the United States?First of all, a distinction has to be made here between Europe and America, which have chosen opposite paths in relation to the Middle East.

As for OIC influence on Europe: It is visible in immigration policy toward Muslims, and in the Muslims’ refusal to integrate into European societies.

The OIC considers nationalist-European movements, European history, European culture, European religions and European languages as Islamophobic. Why? Because Europeans have begun to feel that they are losing their own identity, due to their efforts to welcome immigrants who don’t want to integrate. As a result, they have adopted measures to stop illegal immigration, to control legal immigration and to curb terrorism. Europeans fear losing their historical and cultural assets – particularly those of democracy and human rights – to Shari’a law. They want one law for everybody – and it’s not Shari’a, which involves things like honor killings. It is thus that in all international forums, the OIC attacks Europe and demands that it apply multiculturalism.

Now, Europeans do not want multiculturalism. But this is a problem, because European governments – and especially the European Union – do not want to fight the OIC, and so they collaborate with it. Therefore, what we have inside Europe is a clash of interests between the European citizens and their governments.

A similar claim is often made about Muslim-Arab citizens and their governments – that a majority of the former is moderate, while the latter is extremist. Do you agree with this assessment?

No, I don’t agree with it at all. In fact, the opposite is the case. In the Arab world, it is the governments – as we see so well in Egypt – that are at the mercy of the radicalized, Islamized, anti-Western, anti-American and anti-Israel masses who are in a dynamic of jihad. Certainly the majority of Muslims follow the ideology of conquest; it is in the Koran and the Hadith! And every time they go to the mosque, they hear it. I mean, the first shura, that is recited five times a day, is anti-Christian and anti-Jewish. So they cannot escape from it.

Unfortunately, the Muslims who are against this trend don’t have the courage to make the effort to change it. And those who do have the courage are threatened with losing their jobs and having harm done to them and their families. So Islamism is the natural culture of the Arab-Muslim world. Even in Turkey an Islamist government has taken over. So, how can we deny the reality? And anyway, if the moderates were in the majority, they would be making protests and issuing manifestos against Osama bin Laden, instead of against America and Israel.

The environment is one of jihad on the one hand and of dhimmitude [the state of being a non-Muslim subject living in a country governed by Shari'a law] on the other. European countries are becoming dhimmi countries, and people don’t realize it, because they don’t know what jihad and dhimmitude are, so they don’t recognize what condition they’re in. When you have an illness, but are unfamiliar with its symptoms, you don’t know that you are sick. You feel sick, but you don’t know what you’ve got. You therefore can’t make a diagnosis or embark upon a method of treatment to cure yourself. This is the current condition of Western civilization right now.

How, then, do you explain the electoral victories of France’s Nicolas Sarkozy, Germany’s Angela Merkel, Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi and London’s replacement of mayor Ken Livingstone by Boris Johnson? Wouldn’t you consider this phenomenon as indicative that Europeans are making a diagnosis of and seeking a cure to the illness you say they suffer from?

Oh yes, they are extremely important developments which prove what I am saying about European citizens having had enough of this attempt to merge – culturally, religiously and demographically – the Arab and European sides of the Mediterranean. But the pressure exerted by the OIC on European governments is very strong. In addition, there is the pressure of terrorism inside and out of Europe, and that of the oil. So the task of these new governments you refer to will not be easy, to say the least. I don’t doubt their good intentions. But I don’t know if they will succeed in bringing about the change their citizens want.

Furthermore, unlike President Bush – who recognizes that Israel has a legitimate right to exist as a normal nation in its homeland – the Europeans think that Israel’s legitimacy should be granted by the Palestinians and the Arab states. In other words, Europe is putting Israel into a position of dhimmitude, whereby it will be recognized by Muslims if it abides by certain rules and duties.

This is in keeping with its own mentality. When the European community, in December 1973, published its document on European identity in the Copenhagen Declaration, they themselves were adopting a dhimmi mentality toward the Arab League countries. After World War II, Europeans decided that they didn’t want any more wars. Then, when they suffered aggression, such as the oil boycott and Palestinian terrorism that emerged in Europe in the late 1960s, instead of fighting, they joined their aggressors. This was their concept of multilateralism – thinking that by joining those who attacked them, they would be protected. This is when a tremendous Muslim immigration into Europe began.

You keep referring to immigration. Isn’t childbirth also a demographic factor, particularly since Muslims tend to have many children, while some European countries suffer from zero or minus population growth? Is it possible that by virtue of their numbers, Muslims in Europe are influencing policy – and that it is not just due to the power of the OIC?

Yes, but you have to understand that those who plan policy are Europeans. In other words, Muslim politics are conducted in Europe by Europeans themselves, based on the interests of Muslim lobbyists.

Isn’t Eastern Europe different from Western Europe in this respect?

Yes, and Eastern Europe is more pro-American than Western Europe – which is what the Muslims want. It is easier to take over the West as a whole when it’s divided.

How has this affected European academia?

European universities – like those in America – are totally controlled by the Arab-Islamic lobby, as are the schools. A teacher who attempts to teach according to the European view of history is thrown out. Indeed, the freedom of expression and thought that has been so crucial for European democracy has disappeared.

Many Israeli academics bemoan a similar situation in Israel. Do you see the mind frame you’re describing infiltrating the Jewish state?

Yes, because the EU is spending a lot of money on Israeli NGOs in order to promote policies which will lead to the destruction of Israel. The EU considers Israel to be an accident of history that has to disappear. It thinks that if Israel disappears, relations between Europe and the Arab world will be much better. Now, the EU doesn’t come out and actually say this, but all its policies, statements and actions are indicative of its aims. These aims could be developed in Israel and in America – especially when there is a new president.

Speaking of which, there is a concern among many Jews and Israelis that if Barack Obama becomes president, he will lean toward the kind of alliance with the Arab world that the EU promotes.

Yes, because he has a kind of “Third Worldism” – you know, the view that we all have to get together and appease the enemy. I’m no specialist on Obama. But I think that Bush has been a great politician, and that history will show he was right. Aside from everything else, he has woken up Europe to the calamity of global terrorism – and this is what brought about the coming to power of Merkel, Sarkozy and Berlusconi. And Europe can no longer be as anti-American.

That’s ironic, isn’t it, considering that most Americans now hate Bush?

That’s because they don’t understand what is really going on.

Given your bleak view of Europe, how is it that you didn’t end up living in Israel or the US?

I love Europe. It is part of my family history and my culture. I can criticize it because I love it and want to help it. Look what Europe has given to the world: democracy and human rights, the love of peace. Look at its achievements in the field of literature, music, law, architecture. There is a tremendous richness. But we have to fight for all those values and accomplishments. Otherwise, we will be living as dhimmis in barbarity.

Finally, how do you envision Western civilization 10 years from now?

The Mishna says, “You are not required to finish the task, but neither are you free to desist from it.”

Well, I feel that though I may not have done enough, I have tried the best I could.

As for the future, it is difficult to say, but we must have hope. We have to educate the European, American and Israeli youth to recover their culture and values, since it is they who will have to continue the efforts to preserve freedom and democracy – and they who will have to fight to defend them.

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Spreading Islam through Christian & Public Schools

Posted by paulipoldie on November 2, 2008

http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/08/textbook.htm

 

By Berit Kjos – October 28, 2008

 

Background information: The International Agenda

 

Home

Emphasis added in bold letters


“Medieval and Early Modern Times captures each student’s imagination by starting every chapter with a story.” The McDougal-Littell Website

“While seventh-grade textbooks describe Islam in glowing language, they portray Christianity in harsh light…. Islam is featured as a model of interfaith tolerance….” The American Textbook Council, [2,p.19]

“When the sacred months are over slay the idolaters wherever you find them.”[3] Qur’an [Sura] 9:5


Our friend Tom* enrolled his seventh grade son in a local Christian school this year. But he felt a bit uneasy when he saw the new history text. And as he leafed through the pages of World History: Medieval and Early Modern Times (a standard nationwide textbook), his concern grew.

 

The dramatic images, evocative suggestions and interesting group assignments would probably prevent boredom, but what would his son actually learn? How accurate were the lessons? And most important: What kinds of values would they instill?

 

Page 4 (in the section on “Strategies”) told students to “Try to visualize the people, places, and events you read about.”[4] With all the inspiring stories and pictures, that should be easy! Group dialogue and peer consensus would help seal those biased impressions! This was not what Tom expected from a Christian school!

 

The first unit dealt with the Roman Empire. It had nothing nice to say about Christianity — not a word about the courage, commitment and charity of the persecuted Christians.

 

The second unit covered “The Growth of Islam.” It began with an inspirational story that built a positive context for the rest of the chapter: Thirteen-year-old Ayesha and her family went on a hajj [pilgrimage] with “nearly 100,000″ fellow Muslims (“a gross exaggeration”[2,p.19]) to Mecca back in 632 A.D. After the long, hot journey, “Ayesha tells [her brother] Yazid that the trip has been very hard, but it was also satisfying. They agree with their parents that being near Muhammad was especially meaningful.”[4,p.83]

 

This warm introduction to Muhammad was followed by stirring descriptions of Islam’s miraculous beginnings, noble beliefs, vast conquests, amazing scientific discoveries, and exceptional tolerance toward unbelievers. But were they true?

 

The actual facts are far less flattering. Back in the 7th century, large Muslim armies fanned out in different directions, forcing their way through the Middle East, Central Asia, northern Africa and southern Europe. Resisters were massacred or enslaved, while the vast “unbelieving” masses became taxpaying subjects at the mercy of Muslim rulers. Jews and Christians [dhimmis] were held captive to the restrictive and demeaning rules of dhimmitude ["protection']. Here’s a brief explanation from The Myth of Islamic Tolerance,

“Jews and Christians are termed ‘People of the Book’ in the Qur’an—that is, communities that have received a genuine revelation from Allah. That’s why they’re offered this ‘protection’ in an Islamic state. However, the Qur’an also teaches that both Jews and Christians have incurred the curse of Allah (Sura 5:60 and others) for their refusal to receive Muhammad as a legitimate prophet and his Qur’an as a book from Allah…. In fact, the Sharia dictates that such a ‘protection’ agreement… ‘is only valid when the subject peoples follow the rules of Islam…”[5]

Those rules included special dhimmi clothing that shows the Christian’s low social status, a ban on proselytizing or building new churches, showing humble submission to Muslims everywhere, and many others. The constant threat of punishment (i.e. loss of “protection” which often meant death or slavery) — along with the crushing tax for “unbelievers” — broke down resistance to Islamic conversion. In vast regions around the Mediterranean, Christian communities were virtually wiped out.

 

Yet the textbook tells students that the conquered masses were generally impressed by Islam and willingly converted:

“For more than 20 years, Muhammad had spread the word of Allah across the Arabian peninsula. He had begun to establish a Muslim Empire. … Islam brought order, justice, and hope of heaven into their lives.”[4,p.99]

“There was much blending of cultures under Muslim rule. Over time, many peoples in Muslim-ruled territories converted to Islam. They were attracted by Islam’s message of equality and hope for salvation.”[4,p.101]

To make sure students don’t miss that last point, it’s repeated on page 105:

“By 661, the Muslim Empire had been expanded to nearly four times its size by Muhammad’s successors. It then included all of Southwest Asia and stretched into North Africa. … Many conquered people became Muslims. They found Islam’s message of equality and hope attractive.”

Tom was stunned! Why this idealization of Islam? There was no such support for “Christianity.” [See note] In the section on the Crusades (to retake the “Holy Land”), Christians were presented as violent attackers. The fact that Jerusalem was central to both Jewish and Christian history was ignored. While most Crusaders tended to be mercenaries rather than “Christians,” such bias against semblance of “Christianity” is striking.

References to slavery were just as misleading. “While Christian belligerence is magnified, Islamic inequality, subjugation, and enslavement get the airbrush,” wrote Gilbert T. Sewall in an excellent report titled “Islam in the Classroom: What the textbooks tell us.” After examining the six main World History texts for junior high students, he and The American Textbook Council concluded that–

“Textbooks mention Islamic slavery only obliquely… or not at all. Enslaved Africans and Slavs were transported to Muslim lands from the eighth century on. Slaves were accumulated through conquest, tribute, and sale….

“Muslim enslavement went on from the Balkans to Africa and Central Asia, and the estimated fourteen million slaves taken captive by Muslim rulers all over the world was a larger population than the eleven million Africans exported to the New World before 1850. In the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, in the late nineteenth century, an estimated twenty-five thousand slaves were traded annually.”[2,p.23]

In the chapters on “European Renaissance and Reformation” the light of political correctness shone briefly on the Protestant Church. To help students internalize a new view of Christianity, the text included a story about Martin Luther — an excerpt from a biographical children’s book by the notoriously liberal pastor, Harry Emerson Fosdick. Dr. Fosdick led Manhattan’s large interdenominational Riverside Church built by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. No wonder his excerpts misrepresented the courage and convictions behind Luther’s battle against theological corruption. Missing were Luther’s famous words, “Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God.” [4,p.467-469]

In contrast to the negative and confusing treatment of Christianity, the “Five Pillars of Islam” got plenty of positive attention. This set of basic rules was repeated several times throughout the book. Page 95 explains their significance:

“Muslims try to connect their personal and religious lives. They live their religion and serve their community by following the Five Pillars of Islam. These are the five duties all Muslims must perform to demonstrate their submission to the will of God.”

“Muslims believe the Quran is the word of God as revealed to Muhammad. Jews and Christians also believe that God’s word is revealed in their holy books. But Muslims believe that the Qur’an is the final book. They also think that Muhammad is the last prophet.”[4,p.95]

Since Muhammad was the “last prophet,” his teachings supposedly supersede the teachings of Jesus. And in spite of the textbook’s assurances of hope and tolerance, Islam’s global aims and militant threats are every bit as real today as in the seventh century. Whether living in the East or the West, its leaders still envision global Islamic dominion and religious supremacy — and the Qur’an still calls Muhammad’s followers to jihad:

“And fight with them until there is no more persecution and religion should be only for Allah.” (Sura 2.193,  8.39)

Fight those who do not believe in Allah… .” (Sura 9.29)

“Surely Allah loves those who fight in His way…” (Sura 61.4)

“…surely the unbelievers are your open enemy.” (Sura 4:101)

“…take not from among them friends until they fly in Allah’s way; but if they turn back, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them…” (Sura 4:89)[3]

This recent article from the British Times Online illustrates this ongoing threat:

“The first brick was thrown through the sitting room window at one in the morning, waking Nissar Hussein, his wife and five children with a terrifying start…. The victim of a three-year campaign of religious hatred, Mr. Hussein’s car has also been rammed and torched…. His car, walls and windows have been daubed in graffiti: ‘Christian bastard’….

 

“Mr. Hussein… is one of a growing number of former Muslims in Britain who face not just being shunned by family and community, but attacked, kidnapped, and in some cases killed. There is even a secret underground network to support and protect those who leave Islam…. For police, religious authorities and politicians, it is an issue so sensitive that they are accused by victims of refusing to respond to appeals for help….

 

 

Muslims who lose their faith face execution or imprisonment, in line with traditional Muslim teaching in many Islamic countries including Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt and Yemen. In the Netherlands, the former Muslim MP Ayan Hirsi Ali had to go into hiding after renouncing her faith on television….

“Yasmin [another convert to Christianity] has helped to set up a series of support groups across England, who have adopted a method of operating normally associated with dissidents in dictatorships, not democracies…. The family of an 18-year-old girl whom Yasmin was helping found that she had been hiding a Bible in her room, and visiting church secretly. ‘I tried to do as much as possible to help her, but they took her to Pakistan ‘on holiday’. Three weeks later, she was drowned…”[6]

Why? How can this be happening in Europe! What has happened to Western objectivity, conviction and freedom?

The American Textbook Council helps answer that question. After a thorough examination of the primary US textbooks and their publishers, it concluded that–

“Textbook editors try to avoid any subject that could turn into a political grenade. Willingly, they adjust the definition of jihad and Sharia or remove these words from lessons to avoid inconvenient truths that the editors fear activists will contest. Explicit facts that non-Muslims might find disturbing are varnished or deleted….Terrorism and Islam are uncoupled and the ultimate dangers of Islamic militancy hidden from view.

“None of this is accidental. Islamic organizations, willing to sow misinformation, are active in curriculum politics. These activists are eager to expunge any critical thought about Islam from textbooks and all public discourse. They are succeeding, assisted by partisan scholars and associations. It is not remarkable that Islamic organizations would try to use ready-made American political movements such as multiculturalism to adjust the history curriculum to their advantage. It is alarming that so many individuals with the power to shape the curriculum are willfully blind to or openly sympathetic with these efforts.

“Multiculturalists are determined that social studies curricula do not transmit ‘Eurocentric’… presuppositions about Western history and society. Middle East centers on campuses promote an uncritical view of Islam, often with a caustic anti-Western spin. Historians actively interested in taking world history curricula in this direction are prominent in textbook authorship. Encouraged to do so by reputable authorities, textbook publishers court the Council on Islamic Education and other Muslim organizations—or at least try to appease them.”[2,p.9]

In this context of planned change, “Christians” such as Harry Emerson Fosdick fit right in. Like Muslims, he accepted the reality of a “Jesus” but denied His deity, resurrection, and miraculous birth. No wonder he was favored by the Rockefellers. He was no threat to their vision of socialist unity.Though Islam is incompatible with the vision of multicultural solidarity, it’s still one of the world’s most effective weapons in its battle against absolute Truth. It provides globalist change agents with (1) an energizing crisis, (2) the diversity and tension needed to stimulate the dialectic process, and (3) an active partner in the war against Biblical Christianity.

Why is this important?

A spiritual war is raging! And the primary target in today’s march toward a New World Order is Biblical Truth. It’s no accident that the European media describes Christians as “hardliners” and “fighters”

[7] but hardly dare mention the violent power behind the rising Muslim establishment. Or that the British government now allows Muslims to impose Sharia in their communities.[8] Or that countless critics have been assaulted or killed for their convictions. Or that “Hate Crime” laws may soon silence American dissenters.[9]Let me repeat two Scriptures that I often quote these days. We can’t afford to ignore them:

“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand…” Ephesians 6:10-12Do not be discouraged… For the battle is not yours, but God’s.”  2 Chronicles 20:15

 


Endnotes:

 

* Not his real name. We changed it to protect him from recrimination.

 

** Explaining our references to “Christianity: In the textbooks, as well as in our culture, Christianity means different things. While the references to Islam refer to a religious and political system based on the Qur’an, the historical meaning of Christianity varies. It may mean “cultural Christianity,” politicized Christianity, or Biblical Christianity. See Biblical versus Cultural Christianity  

1. The McDougal-Littell Website at www.mcdougallittell.com/ml/ss.htm?lvl=4&ID=1005500000030749#

 

2. Gilbert T. Sewall, Islam in the Classroom: What the textbooks tell us, American Textbook Council, 2008, pp. 19 and 11. http://www.historytextbooks.org/islamreport.pdf

4. World History: Medieval and Early Modern (McDougal Littell,

2008.)

5. The Myth of Islamic Tolerance: How Islamic Law Treats Non-Muslims,

6.  http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article510589.ece

7. Wolfgang Polzer, “Germany: Evangelicals Portrayed as Dangerous Elements,” Christians in Crisis, September 30, 2008. http://www.christiansincrisis.net/content/view/2553/117

8. Richard Edwards, “Sharia courts operating in Britain,” Telegraph, September 16, 2008. www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/2957428/Sharia-law-courts-operating-in-Britain.html

9. “Why “Hate crime” laws would ban Biblical Christianity,” www.crossroad.to/articles2/007/hate-crimes.htm

 

 

 

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