Seriously, you can’t make this shiite up. There seems to be something in the water in the U.S. of A.
Claims of bias fuel TN textbook battle
Written byÂ Heidi HallÂ (who seems to lack a moral compass, among other things.)
The group Textbook Advocates, which supports a bill to change textbook adoption in Tennessee, invited the public to review textbooks in use and up for approval. The books are available at the Middle Tennessee State University library. Here are some excerpts from the reviews, available online, and some information from other sources.
Review No. 28, Ancient World History: Patterns of Interaction
“This section fails to mention the other three wives a Muslim male can have, some as young as nine years old as Mohammed had.” (Review also lists this source: Institute for Curriculum Services Review on behalf of the Jewish Federation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee.)
U.S. law supersedes polygamy in Islam and other religions. It’s unknown whether Muhammad, Islam’s founder, married a 9-year-old, but that also would be outlawed in the United States.
Review No. 62, Geography: The Middle Ages to Exploration of the Americas
“The Taj Mahal is presented as a wonder of Islam. The Taj was originally a Hindu temple that was commandeered and converted to a Islamic structure. All of the Hindu stone workers had their right hands removed so that they would not build any other structure as beautiful.” (Review is attributed to Bill French.)
On The History Channel’s website, it says the Taj Mahal was commissioned in 1632 by the Muslim emperor Shah Jahan to house the remains of his cherished wife. The excerpt goes on to say the chopped-hands story is likely “sensational” and that Shah Jahan’s son took power by force and destroyed many Hindu temples.
Also at issue
Some textbook advocates have criticized in textbook hearings a picture in the Prentice Hall book “World History” with a painting labeled “Muslim scholars studying with the Greek philosopher Aristotle.”
The textbook is wrong becauseÂ Aristotle died in 322 BCE.Â The textbook itself says Muhammad was born in 570 A.D.
A fight over content in Tennessee’s social studies textbooks is part of an emerging national effort by groups who believe God commands Christians to support the nation of Israel and that Islamic radicals are the biggest problem in America.
In Volusia County, Fla., aÂ November school board meetingÂ was canceled over safety concerns after textbook protesters showed up with anti-Islam signs. In January, representatives for ACT! for America and other anti-Islam groups vowed to fight on after theAlabama Board of Education dismissed allegationsÂ that 11 textbooks on the state’s social studies materials list were unfairly tilted toward Islam.
After school boards inÂ Williamson and Sumner countiesÂ dismissed debates over textbook content, parents successfully requested a bill that would change textbook adoption at the state level. Instead of the governor appointing nine of the 10 textbook commission members â€” the education commissioner is the 10th â€”Â the bill would divide appointmentsÂ among the governor and the speakers of the state House and Senate, which supporters say will bring in a diversity of viewpoints.
But more disturbing to some is language lower in the bill that insists textbooks reflect “the values of the citizens of this state as manifested in the United States Constitution, the Constitution of Tennessee and other foundational documents of this nation’s republican form of government.” Opponents, including theÂ American Center for Outreachâ€” formed after another anti-Islam bill was proposed three years ago â€” wonder who will decide what those values are.
Last summer, Lisa Moore of Christiana and a member of ACT! for America wrote a guest column about the issue in The Reader, a Murfreesboro-based community newspaper.
“If you’re OK with your children/grandchildren being taught extreme Islamic Bias and indoctrination … ignore the fact that your children’s minds are being stolen right out from under your nose and it is all indeed part of the grand design to bring this country and everything it stands for to its knees,” it read.
Moore is a plaintiff in a lawsuit that seeks to stop construction of the Murfreesboro Islamic Center. It’s been unsuccessful so far and hascost Rutherford County more than $343,000 to defend, including in the current attempt to get the U.S. Supreme Court to hear it.
Moore declined an interview request but has been vocal in her role as director ofTennessee Textbook Advocates, which invites people to submit their own textbook reviews. Some reviewers carefully count out the number of references to Islam compared with Christianity and Judaism. One complains about a quote from ancient Muslim writer Abd Al-Latif in the Holt McDougal high school textbook “Ancient World History: Patterns of Interaction” but says nothing about a section on the Apostle Paul’s role in Christianity and a quote from Augustine, a Christian theologian who was later sainted.
“It would be hilarious if it weren’t so serious, because it’s absolutely absurd,” said Sara Mitchell, a concerned Murfreesboro parent who has waded into a school board fray there. “We can never have 100 percent accuracy, so we should strive to find errors and correct them. We do need community input.
“(But) this is an attempt to replace perceived bias with very real bias.”
Vote baffles Casada
The bill’s House sponsor, Rep. Glen Casada, R-Franklin, said he was baffled by aÂ 9-3 Williamson County school board voteÂ Monday to oppose his bill. He said he received no outside input in writing it, working alongside other elected officials, and it has nothing to do with arguments about Islam.
“I can’t imagine anyone articulating that at all. It’s pro-parent, pro-transparency, period,” he said.
One of his constituents, Laurie Cardoza-Moore, a special envoy to the United Nations and president of Christian Zionist groupProclaiming Justice to the Nations, said she took her cause to Casada after noticing what she characterized as anti-Semitic passages in Tennessee textbooks and a reported uptick in anti-Semitism among students.
The values cited in the bill, she said, are Judeo-Christian, and if books have more pages on Islam than Christianity, children may believe that’s the world’s biggest religion. It’s actually the second largest.
“As Christians, we are the wild branch connected to the olive tree,” Cardoza-Moore said, quoting aÂ passage in the biblical book of RomansÂ about Jews and Gentiles. “We have a biblical responsibility to defend and stand with the nation of Israel in her war on terror.”
But the Christian Zionist movement goes further and includes an apocalyptic narrative that favors a Christian and Jewish alliance over the Islamic nations surrounding Israel, said Richard McGregor, an associate professor at Vanderbilt University who specializes in Islam but isn’t an adherent.
“Political Islam and Islamic extremists are an issue in parts of the Islamic world,” McGregor said. “The way to deal with this threat is not to overstate it numerically, but remind ourselves that it’s only healthy, supported, thriving, integrated Muslim communities that are going to be successful in mitigating, challenging and resisting the most extreme voices that try to turn young American Muslims.”
The bill was up for a hearing Tuesday in the Senate Education Committee, but that was delayed.
Reach Heidi Hall at 615-726-5977 and on Twitter @HeidiHallTN.