Is Islam really
tolerant? 7th grade textbooks say so!
SPREADING ISLAM THROUGH CHRISTIAN & PUBLIC SCHOOLS
By Berit Kjos - October 2008
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...."
American Textbook Council, [2,p.19]
"When the sacred months are over slay
the idolaters wherever you find them.."
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."
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!
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
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
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]
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?
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
demeaning rules of dhimmitude ["protection']. Here's a brief explanation from
"The Myth of Islamic
"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
rules included special dhimmi clothing that shows the Christian's low social
status, humble submission to Muslims everywhere, a ban on evangelizing or building new churches, 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.
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
"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
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
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
central to both Jewish and Christian history was ignored. While most
Crusaders tended to be mercenaries rather than "Christians," such bias
against any 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
American Textbook Council
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
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]
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
"And fight with them until there is no
more persecution and religion should be only for Allah." (Sura 2.193,
"Fight those who do not believe in Allah... out of those who have
been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of
superiority and they are in a state of subjection." (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)
"They desire that you should disbelieve
as they have disbelieved, so that you might be (all) alike; therefore
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)
This recent article from the British
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:
"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....
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..."
How can this be happening in Europe! What has happened to Western objectivity,
conviction and freedom?
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
"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 global 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
. He was no threat to their
vision of socialist unity
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
accident that the European media describes Christians as "hardliners"
but hardly dare mention the violent power behind the rising Muslim
that the British government now allows Muslims to impose
in their communities.
Or that countless critics
have been assaulted or killed for their convictions. Or that "Hate
Crime" laws may soon silence American dissenters.
Let me repeat two Scriptures that I often
quote these days. We can't afford to ignore them:
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 6:10-12
"Do not be discouraged... For the battle is not
yours, but God’s.” 2 Chronicles 20:15
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
3. The Holy Qur'an, University of
World History: Medieval and Early Modern (McDougal Littell,
Myth of Islamic Tolerance: How Islamic Law Treats Non-Muslims,
edited by Robert Spencer (Prometheus Books, 2005), p. 535.