March 8 2011 News Press Santa Barbara CA
Regarding the teaching of Islam in Santa Barbara’s Junior Highs; I protest the use of, History Alive, The Medieval World and Beyond, because the book flat out teaches Islam to Junior High students in a public school.
Parents, look at this book. It’s 400 pages long and covers a wide swath of history. But when it arrives Islam, the text goes wobbly, gushing over Mohammed and his religious life for seven pages, fawning over Islam for 55 pages. Quote such as this are through out the text, stated as fact. “The horse then guided Mohammed through the seven levels of heaven, and then Mohammed met God”, and “But Gabriel spoke to Mohammed and told him , You are the messenger of God.”
These are clearly statements of proposed fact. To make such statements to a captive audience of 7th and 8thgraders is flat out forbidden by our constitution. That was decided so thoroughly in the 1950’s Scopes Trial. A public school may not teach creationism. Therefore, it follows, a public school may not teach Islam. Period, end of argument. But let me continue.
Now in this same text book, for instances, the word Jesus appears twice, and both times it’s in the Muslim sec- tion of the book; Jesuits appears once, Mohammed appears on over twenty pages. I’m not saying we should have exact parity among Prophets in a public text book, but twenty to one is clearly disproportionate.
Furthermore, the main argument I put forward here, is that Junior High is no place for a religious studies class. The class is titled, Social Studies and I propose the class time not be used to foster Islam. If I wanted a Madrasa for my children I would send them to one, or at least the male children, if they were Muslim.
Sarcasm aside, it is well established, that public schools are no place for religious indoctrination. It seems clear this book goes too far in appeasing some imagined lack of tolerance by school children. I suspect, the reality is, the authors sought to ingratiate their book with educators, by bending over backwards for Islam, and slanting history against America’s Western Judaeo/Christian values and mores. Is that what it takes to get published now days?
Whatever the reason, public schools must remain non religious, and I certainly would not have expected an Is- lamic studies class, to masquerade as Social Studies.
Thomas M. Cole