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Birmingham conservative group not giving up fight against alleged pro-Islamic textbooks

21 January 2014 General 13 Comments Email This Post Email This Post
The Alabama State Board of Education dismissed last week objections that some social studies on the state's approved textbook list are pro-Islamic and diminish Christianity.

The Alabama State Board of Education dismissed last week objections that some social studies on the state’s approved textbook list are pro-Islamic and diminish Christianity.

By Evan Belanger | ebelanger@al.com 

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — The Alabama State Board of Education dismissed last week allegations from conservative groups that 11 textbooks on the state’s new list for social studies material are pro-Islamic and diminish Christianity.

Now, the founder of one of those groups says he’ll continue to fighting to keep the textbooks out of Alabama classrooms, encouraging local school boards to reject textbooks.

“It’s not anti-Islamic as such. It’s the indoctrination and propaganda and false information about Islam — primarily its history on how their cultures interacted with others,” said Larry Houck, founder of the Birmingham chapter of ACT! for America.

The conservative organization, founded by journalist Brigitte Gabriel, calls for increased protection of freedom and security in America. However, it has beencriticized as anti-Islamic based on Gabriel’s views that the religion promotes terrorism and hinders self-expression, self-improvement and empowerment.

In reviews provided to the state board last month, ACT! for America and the longtime conservative interest group Eagle Forum of Alabama, alleged authors had gone out of their way to present Islam in a positive the light.

They also called Islam a violent and intolerant religion and complained the books dedicated more space to the religion as compared to Christianity. Other allegations included that certain statements in the books were offensive to Christians.

The objections caused the state board to delay consideration of the new list during its meeting in December.

[See a list of the 11 books here.]

Houck, who began researching Islam after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, said his fight is not against Islam, but against its false portrayal in textbooks.

“These kids are getting a false picture of Islam and its history, and they’re going to grow up with wrong information,” Houck said following last week’s vote.

“One book said they mixed in a rich cultural stew. Well, they didn’t. They obliterated the cultures they defeated. I’m hugely disappointed.”

For the first time since the debate started, the school board heard last week from a member of Alabama’s Muslim community.

“I think we should focus on education, not make an issue about religion,” said Aya Zaied, a Montgomery resident and student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

“I feel like this opens the door to hate,” she said of the debate. “We should be teaching tolerance and diversity.”

Houck vowed to continue fighting the books’ use in Alabama classrooms, alleging they are part of a “civilizational jihad against America.”

“We’re going to keep at it,” he said. “To the best of our ability, we likely will go to the individual school boards and districts.”

Last week’s vote to include the 11 books in the more than 500 social studies books on the list drew dissenting votes from school board members Stephanie Bell of Montgomery and Betty Peters of Kinsey.

“It’s not that I have any problem whatsoever with comparative religion. …” Peters said. “I do have a problem when a textbook company presents in once section as fact and in the other as ‘it is said.'”

Bell argued the books did not need to be included because there were still plenty of books on the list that were not being questioned from which local school boards could choose.

“I think the point here is trying to ensure that we have quality and that we have good solid textbooks in the classroom,” she said.

“I think anyone in psychiatry will know that so many of our problems are a result of what children actually see and hear. Some things don’t need to be shared to the extent that they are shared at an age where it is inappropriate.”

State Superintendent of Education Tommy Bice, who recommended the state board keep the books on the list, said he reviewed the groups’ concerns and decided to trust the committee tasked with reviewing Alabama’s textbooks for quality and bias.

Local schools are not required to use textbooks from the approved list, but they will not receive state textbook funding for books not on the list.

Original post: Birmingham conservative group not giving up fight against alleged pro-Islamic textbooks

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13 Comments »

  1. Not just Alabama.

  2. bunch of white trash waste of sperm…they cannot comprehend or understand anything they don’t get from Fox noise

  3. smh These people are ignorant. They just can’t stand the fact that Islam has contributed so many positive things to the world – well, not all so positive (if you hated algebra as much as I did. LOL ). They want to see nothing but the bad, and they want to teach kids their hatred early on by making them think that Muslims never did anything of positive significance.

  4. GIVE IT UP ALREADY for gods sake fighting a fight you cant win is foolish but these morons wont understand

  5. What they refused to recognize the fact that every single one of those can be pulled from the Christian Bible what is a little different but the same rules. They have gone to war in the name of “God” and their religion…..and killed a ton of people in the process…. Christianity isn’t so far apart from Islam.

  6. As a native of Alabama, I know we have our problems, but please don’t think we’re all like this. .-.

  7. They say that Islam came in and obliterated the places they were in; but i fact, at least from my understanding, the Crusades appeared to be just a bunch of so-called “Christians” brutally murdering and annihilating innocent Muslims.
    This may not be the case or the full story, but it just appears that way to me, and being a Christian, I think that that was just an awful thing to do.

  8. “As such”?

  9. What are they so threatened by that they can’t acknowledge that Muslims have contributed to civilization?

  10. It’s Alabama conservatives we’re talking about. Much of what they say is garbage and satire, like Fox News!

  11. Fighting the Good Fight: Fundamentalism and Religious Revival
    In J. MacClancy, ed. Anthropology for the Real World. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001

    William O. Beeman
    Department of Anthropology
    Brown University http://www.brown.edu/Departments/Anthropology/publications/FUNDMNTALISM.htm

  12. How does he know what really happened in history? How does he know that what grade and high schools teach isn’t false? Oh ya, he doesn’t.

  13. You can easily substitute Christianity for Islam in that entire paragraph. ALL religions rely on indoctrination and deception.

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