There is a big problem that has been brewing in Florida for months that is likely to spread to other school districts around the country. Unfortunately, the fight by Christians is misguided. They’re fighting the right book for the wrong reasons.
It started in Brevard County Schools earlier this year when a high school world history textbook was discovered to have a 32-page chapter on Islam but no matching chapters on Christianity or Judaism. The chapter was kept but additional material was issued to students.
Here’s the problem. In both cases, the challenge was made that the textbook needed to give equal treatment to other religions. There are two arguments against this. One is that Christianity and Judaism do not have chapters because they are discussed throughout the book itself. The other, possibly more valid argument if true, is that the book was part two of the world history curriculum; Christianity and Judaism were covered in the ancient history portion of the corresponding 6th grade textbook, while history from the middle ages on is covered in the book in question. Since Islam rose much later than Christianity or Judaism, the teachings remain in chronological order and are split between the two books.
The “successful” Brevard district protests, the current Volusia district protests, and likely any future protests against the book are all focusing on the wrong problem. They’re missing the point, either because they didn’t take the time to examine the chapter or they are falling into the politically correct realm of equal treatment versus appropriate teaching. The first reason is likely, but surely some have read it. The second is more disturbing.
This isn’t a question about equal treatment. It’s about accuracy. If the fight would focus on accuracy, they would have a much stronger case for having the books removed altogether. The chapter paints a factually incorrect view of Islam and Mohammad. Here are some examples of the pro-Islamic slant:
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“Muhammad became known for his honesty in business and was a devoted husband and father.”
The chapter details his first wife and claims that he was devoted to her. This is an absolute lie. The man that had the “sexual prowess of 30 men” extended his devotion as a husband to an estimated 15 wives and at least 4 concubines. This was not mentioned in the chapter. It also did not mention Aisha bint Abi Bakr, his favorite wife. She was six when he married her and allegedly nine-years-old when Mohammad consummated the marriage.
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“Muslims, Jews, and Christians worship the same God. The Quran teaches that Islam is God’s final and complete revelation, while Hebrew scriptures and the Christian Bible contain portions of earlier revelations. Muslims consider Jews and Christians to be ‘People of the Book,’ spiritually superior to polytheistic idol worshipers. Although there have been exceptions, the People of the Book have historically enjoyed religious freedom in many Muslim societies.”
This is a paragraph that could have been written by the best spindoctors in Washington DC. Let’s put aside the fact that Muslims worship Allah while Jews and Christians worship one God with different names – El, Elohim, Adonai, YHWH, to list a few. If you read the wording of this paragraph from the textbook carefully, you’ll see that they are very careful with every choice of word. The last sentence is exceptionally well written to position Islam as a progressive, accepting religion of Christians and Jews. Ask those in Egypt, Iran, and Syria about the religious freedom’s they’re granted in their Muslim societies.
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“Another duty is jihad, or struggle in God’s service. Jihad is usually a personal duty for Muslims, who focus on overcoming immorality within themselves. At other times, jihad may be interpreted as a holy war to defend Islam and the Muslim community, much like the Crusades to defend Christianity. However, just holy war may be declared only by the community, not by an individual Muslim or small group.”
While some may take exception to the way the first two sentences characterize jihad, it’s actually quite correct. To the individual Muslim, jihad is an important part of life that is focused on fighting their internal immorality. The third sentence, which discusses the way that most perceive jihad today, is very carefully worded – “a holy war to defend Islam and the Muslim community.” Jihad from the stance of warfare has historically never been about defense. It’s an aggressive, attacking posture for the communities and Islamic countries waging it. Were the Crusades like jihad? Absolutely. They were just as misguided and no more about “defense” than Islamic jihads have been throughout history.
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The teachings of Islam are spreading throughout the world. They are masterful at slipping into places where we would least expect them, such as in the public school system. The fight in Florida should not be about getting equal treatment for all religions. It should be about telling the factual truth from a historical perspective.
Don’t sugarcoat it. Don’t try to make jihad or the Crusades any nicer than they were. Don’t try to hide the pedophilia practices by Mohammad, priests, or any religious leaders. Don’t make statements about Allah and Adonai being the same being. For students to understand world history, they have to be given the facts about what happened and how the various religions shaped our world from creation until today. Giving a biased image of any religion is bad, even if they’re given equal treatment.
That’s the fight. Stick to the facts. Don’t make this a politically correct endeavor.
Even this video from Hannity doesn’t quite expose the real problem here: