Ussama Makdisi: Anti-Islamic Resolution Undermines Secular Society

[Makdisi is a professor of history at Rice University and is the author of "Faith Misplaced: The Broken Promise of U.S.-Arab Relations, 1820-2001" (Public Affairs, New York).]

Islamophobia has reached America. In Austin today, a resolution by members of the Texas State Board of Education to rectify "pro-Islamic/anti-Christian bias" in "past Texas Social Studies textbooks" is being put to a vote.

The board determines Texas public school curriculum standards for well over 4 million public school children. There is nothing wrong with honest debate, but there is something wrong with xenophobia, fear-mongering and patently obvious distortions of basic historical truths in the name of education and objectivity. The resolution egregiously takes different quotations out of context from different textbooks and strings them together to create the misleading impression of a pro-Muslim narrative. Above all, there is the appeal to anti-Muslim sentiment by claiming that Middle Easterners desire to "buy into [sic] the U.S. public school textbook oligopoly." As absurd as this allegation is in fact, it nevertheless evokes the conspiratorial idea that foreigners are attempting to brainwash unsuspecting Americans. Substitute the word "Jews" or "Reds" for "Middle Easterners" and you get the idea. The same Texas State Board of Education voted earlier this year to introduce major changes to the social studies curriculum in line with the prejudices of its extremist members: McCarthyism was effectively whitewashed, and the secular democratic basis of the United States was downplayed in favor of a "Judeo-Christian" view of America. Moreover, teachers were instructed not to teach a balanced view of the origins of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Palestinians were the only national group associated with "terrorism" and Islam was the only religion associated with "fundamentalism." Needless to say, it is not Texas educators who are the forefront of this radical revisionism; it is demagogic individuals who are blatantly politicizing education and exploiting a wave of anti-Muslim bigotry and ignorance that is sweeping across America....

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John Arthur - 9/24/2010

Since 9/11 there has been 16103 terrorist attacks around the world. Not done by Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus or little old ladies but by Muslims. That is not to mention the Massacre of Nigerian Christians, The deportation of Christians from Morocco, the burning and sacking of Churches and synagogues across North Africa, the murder of Coptic Christians in Egypt, the brain washing of Children in Gaza to hate Christians and Jews. That isn’t even mentioning Sharia Law with its murder of Apostates and Homosexuals.
I could go on and mention the lack of freedom of religion and speech in Islamic countries. Then Muslims demand these rights in the West, what utter hypocrisy!! Good going for the religion of peace!
And the writer wonders about Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bigotry what about the out and out bigotry shown by Muslims against Jews and Christians. If Muslims want to live under Sharia Law then why on earth are they in the Western World in the first place?
Muslims riot at a drop of a hat killing people because “they are so offended” and behave like spoilt children burning American and British flags and then the writer wonders about Islamophobia. I think he either thinks Non Muslims are blind as to what is going on or are completely stupid.
Further to state the obvious the West is Judeo-Christian and of course books will reflect this as it is the basis of our culture. If Muslims can’t accept Western Culture then they should leave.
I think Muslims are heading for a fall in the West and it should not come as any surprise as they would have brought it on by themselves.

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