A fight over content in Tennessee’s public school textbooks is part of an emerging national effort by deep-pocket overseas Islamic groups who are funding the publishing and free distribution to U.S. public schools of history and social studies books with a disturbing Islam-centric bias with little or no mention of any other religions.
Tennessean 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., a November school board meeting 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 the Alabama Board of Education dismissed allegations that 11 textbooks on the state’s social studies materials list were unfairly tilted toward Islam.
After school boards in Williamson and Sumner counties 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 — the education commissioner is the 10th — the bill would divide appointments 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 the far left wing American Center for Outreach— formed after another anti-Islam bill was proposed three years ago — 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 declined an interview request but has been vocal in her role as director of Tennessee 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.”
The bill’s House sponsor, Rep. Glen Casada, R-Franklin, said he was baffled by a 9-3 Williamson County school board vote 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 group Proclaiming 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, NOT Islamic. “As Christians, we are the wild branch connected to the olive tree,” Cardoza-Moore said, quoting a passage in the biblical book of Romans about Jews and Gentiles. “We have a biblical responsibility to defend and stand with the nation of Israel in her war on terror.”
“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 Not-So-Veiled Threat to Non-Muslims in Tennessee
The attempted snow job by the American Muslim Advisory Council (AMAC) of Tennessee which sponsored the joint Department of Justice/FBI event, “Public Disclosure in a Diverse Society,” Tuesday night in Manchester, Tennessee, did not work with the 2,000 attendees. Claims that American Muslims are loyal citizens, partners in counterterrorism investigations, part of radicalization prevention efforts, and an integral part of American society for centuries fell flat, especially coming from the host organization that was formed only two years ago in response to anti-shariah legislation in the Volunteer State. READ MORE