'Diversity' Perversity: NY Schools Teaching Whitewashed Islamic History
A New York Post report from August 24 by Yoav Gonen highlighted the selective Islamophilia readily apparent in reading extracts from the New York State High School “Global History and Geography” Regents examinations. Subsequently, my colleague Gilbert Sewall of the American Textbook Council kindly provided me with the teachers Rating Guide for these Regents exam sections.
The egregious bias in this exam, and its structured, requisite evaluation by teachers, is transparent and disturbing. Two examples of complementary “Official Historical Documents” which students are required to read and discuss -- one pertaining to Islamic Spain, the other Reconquista Christian Spain -- along with very specific teacher evaluation guidelines they must satisfy for the best grade, epitomize the naked indoctrination being promoted.
Students are given a so-called “document” containing an extract from a textbook (Daniel Roselle’s A World History: A Cultural Approach) which opens with this broad claim:
Wherever they went, the Moslems brought with them their love of art, beauty, and learning. From about the eighth to the eleventh century, their culture was superior in many ways to that of western Christendom.
They are to be “evaluated,” exclusively, according to the guideline reproduced below:
Award 1 credit (up to a maximum of 2 credits) for each different way Islam improved the lives of people in Spain according to Daniel Roselle.
This information alone makes plain the unacceptable bias in the Regents testing process. Medieval Christian Spain was brutally conquered by waves of jihad wars (pp. 56-60) beginning in the early 8th century, involving massacre, pillage, deportation, and mass enslavement. This included harem slavery for non-Muslim women, and to guard these harems, eunuch slavery -- the aptly termed “hideous trade” (pp. 92-93) production of human geldings from enslaved non-Muslim men.
But the approach is ultimately much more sinister: it is nothing less than Islamic proselytizing on the one hand, versus the inculcation of cynicism, if not contempt, for Christianity and Western Christian civilization on the other.
Muslim “enlightened” rule of Spain in the Medieval era is contrasted starkly by the unmitigated, ghastly depredations wrought by the Spanish Christian imperialist conquerors and their religious minions in South America centuries later.
Witness a complementary putative “document” on the Regents exam entitled “Common Procedures used by Friars in Converting Areas [to Christianity] in Spanish America,” based on Charles Gibson’s Spain in America. The “document” offers only these entirely negative bulleted statements:
• Idols, temples, and other material evidences of paganism destroyed
• Temporary churches built
• Permanent churches and monasteries built
• Christian buildings often constructed on sites of destroyed native temples in order to symbolize and emphasize the substitution of one religion by the other
• Indians supplied construction labor without receiving payment
• In a converted community, services and fiestas were regularly held in the church building
Once again, the students are to be “evaluated” on this basis alone, according to the guideline below which demands they regurgitate a purely destructive “narrative”:
Award 1 credit (up to a maximum of 2 credits) for each different change the friars introduced in Spanish America. Examples: destroying idols/temples; building permanent monasteries; constructing Christian buildings on sites of destroyed native temples; building temporary/permanent churches; holding services/fiestas in church buildings in a converted community; attempting to destroy paganism.
As for Islam’s own actual treatment of pagans, their places of worship, and religious icons during the “8th to 11th century” period about which the Regents “document” falsely claims: “wherever they went, the Moslems brought with them their love of art, beauty, and learning,” consider the following historical account by S.L. Srivastava. He describes one of the pious Muslim jihadist Mahmud of Ghazni’s (Ghazni being modern Afghanistan) nearly 20 bloody and devastating forays into India around present day Gujarat, during 1025 AD (p. 83):
Mahmud captured the place [Somanath] without much difficulty and ordered a general slaughter in which more than 50,000 persons are said to have perished. The idol of Somanath was broken into pieces which were sent to Ghazni, Mecca, and Medina and cast in streets and the staircases of chief mosques to be trodden by the Muslims going there for their prayers.
Adding grave insult to irony, while New York State public secondary school students are being indoctrinated to “appreciate” the moral and cultural superiority of Islamic civilization, Muslim students within the New York City area are being taught the opposite regarding Jews and Christians at Islamic educational centers. Raw Islamic Jew-hatred and anti-Christian statements are featured in these Islamic school curricula openly and unapologetically.
A three-month long Daily News investigation of textbooks widely used in New York city area Islamic schools by Larry Cohler-Esses, published March 30, 2003, demonstrated that foundational Islamic Anti-Semitic archetypes -- based on central motifs in the Koran, hadith (traditions of the Muslim prophet Muhammad), and sira (earliest pious Muslim biographies of Muhammad) -- are being taught to American Muslim students. The report provided these examples of the blatant Anti-Semitism and Christianophobia being taught:
In Long Island City, Queens, for example, fifth- and sixth-graders at the Ideal Islamic School on 12th St. learn that Allah has revealed [pace Koran 2:61/3:112] that "the Jews killed their own prophets and disobeyed Allah." ... Yet a third book, in use at the Ideal school, describes the hostile relations between Jews and the [Muslim prophet] Muhammad in Medina in the 7th century. "The reasons for Jewish hostility lies in their general characteristics," the book says. Numerous Koranic citations follow with negative references to Jews -- for example, "You will ever find them deceitful, except for a few of them." [3:71; 4:46]
On Jewish hostility to Islam: "The reasons for Jewish hostility toward the Muslims of 7th century Medina lies in their general characteristics described in the Koran." Example: "You will find the most implacable of men in their enmity to the faithful are the Jews and the pagans." [Koran 5:82; from a textbook The Messenger of Allah, p. 34; targeting Grades 6-9]
The book What Islam Is All About states that: "The Christians also worship statues. Many Jews and Christians," the book says, "lead such decadent and immoral lives that lying, alcohol, nudity, pornography, racism, foul language, premarital sex, homosexuality and everything else are accepted in their society, churches and synagogues."
When questioned for Cohler-Esses’ Daily News story on New York-area Islamic school textbooks, Yahiya Emerick, head of a Queens-based nonprofit curriculum development project for the Islamic Foundation of North America, defended the language in these books -- denying they were inflammatory. Emerick opined:
Islam, like any belief system, believes its program is better than others. I don't feel embarrassed to say that ... [The books] are directed to kids in a Muslim educational environment. They must learn and appreciate there are differences between what they have and what other religions teach. It's telling kids that we have our own tradition.
As a 1973 Regents Scholarship award winner in high school -- an award which set me on a career trajectory through the New York State school system that included physical therapy and ultimately medical degrees, both at SUNY-Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn -- I am outraged at the destructive hijacking of a great public system of education for the purpose of dangerous cultural relativist indoctrination.
The New York State Regents exams themselves now reflect the corrosive “success” of a sustained campaign of Islamophilic historical negationism. Cultural jihadism has achieved an ominous, and let us hope temporary victory, to the great detriment of New York City’s secondary school children, their parents, and society at large.
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