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Poison Textbooks

John LeBoutillier
May 8, 2003


The PC leftists have done it again!

Besides the well-documented 'indoctrination' that goes on in classrooms all across the country, the PC leftists and America-haters have also taken over the content of most textbooks used in elementary and high schools.

History has been rewritten to make the United States look bad and the world's brutal regimes and ideologies look benevolent and kindly.

Perhaps the most egregious example involves the descriptions of Islam, Islamic practices and Islamic history that have been inserted into the world history textbooks that millions of American students use each year.

Gilbert T. Sewall of the American Textbook Council has written a comprehensive report entitled "Islam and the Textbooks" in which he details the blatant manipulation of facts, the cover-up of barbaric behavior and the whitewash of a philosophy that advocates violent anti-American behavior.

As Sewall writes: "On controversial subjects, world history textbooks make an effort to circumvent unsavory facts that might cast Islam past or present in anything but a positive light. Islamic achievements are reported with robust enthusiasm. When any dark side surfaces, textbooks run and hide."

Beneath this double standard is a seething leftist disdain for the United States. Sewall writes: "How classrooms deal with Islamic aggression is an unresolved school-related question of great importance. It is complicated by pressure from educational groups which assume that geopolitical problems originate in U.S. policy and its exertion of power abroad."

While Islam withdraws into itself and 'closes' societies, such as in Iran, American textbooks "omit, flatter, embellish, and resort to happy talk, suspending criticism or harsh judgements that would raise provocative or even alarming questions."

Sewall then lists specific examples of the manipulation of descriptions:

1) Jihad: "Jihad in its historical usage refers almost exclusively to armed warfare by Muslims against non-Muslims." But, no surprise, academics distort this definition. They "deny any martial aspect of the Muslim faith, ignoring or dismissing violent Islamic jihads from Algeria to Indonesia and locating the problem in Western colonialism."

As the noted historian Bernard Lewis wrote, "The object of jihad is to bring the whole world under Islamic law." But "in U.S classrooms, jihad is defanged or oversimplified." Jihad is made to look like a nice, peaceful disagreement among friends.

2) Sharia, the Islamic holy law: This is the Muslim law which supersedes all other laws, including civil and criminal laws in any nation a Muslim inhabits. As Lewis wrote, "the idea that any group of persons, any kind of activities, or any part of human life is in any sense outside the scope of religious law and jurisdiction is alien to Muslim thought."

But, of course, American textbooks distort and soften this definition of Sharia. Littell's textbook "Patterns of Interaction" merely whitewashes it by saying Sharia "brings a sense of unity to all Muslims."

3) Slavery: Long a favorite topic of the anti-American PC left, they have conveniently downplayed the multicentury-long practice of slavery by Muslims which did not end until the late 19th century. Sewall writes, "As World History textbooks would have it, slavery is a Western, European and American institution." In fact, "slavery was a central part of Islamic civilization, and it may be said that Arabs invented the African slave trade."

4) Status of Women: American "textbooks try to explain away or recast any inconvenient detail concerning the treatment of women in the Islamic world that would be considered backward, unacceptable, or even revolting in the West."

Sewall sums up today's textbooks on this topic: "What is missing from world history textbooks? That Muslim women today are seen by many men to be not much more than chattel; that, for these men, women are fit to be servants and breeders; and that a wife's autonomy is interpreted as a sign of female disobedience and disrespect."

So, what is going on here?

Leftists who hate America are, as UCLA historian Gary B. Nash wrote, "determined to 'redistribute historical capital' and politicize historical content." As Sewall adds, "textbook editors routinely adjust perspective and outlook to advance the illusion of cultural equivalency and demonstrate cross-cultural and global sensitivity."

A wonderful example of the blatant bias comes from Shabbir Mansuri, the director of the Council on Islamic Education, who boasted that he is waging a "bloodless" revolution, "promoting world cultures and faiths in America's classrooms."

You must read Sewall's entire report, which can be located at www.historytextbooks.org/islam.htm .

And we must all realize that as awful as 9/11 was, we are still under attack. Only this attack is from within our own leftist educational system. And the target is America's youth.


Mr. LeBoutillier has been a prolific writer, beginning with his best-selling book Harvard Hates America (October 1978). Later he authored Vietnam Now (September 1989) and co-authored Primary, a novel (September 1979). He has contributed to many major newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, New York Post and The Wall Street Journal.
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9 may 2003