Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Now in American Children's Textbooks?
By Abdus Sattar Ghazali
Al-Jazeerah, ccun.org, April 20, 2010
As if the adult media’s vitriol wasn’t enough, the seven-million strong
American Muslim community, is now being faced by the alarming publication of
a series of ‘children's books’, containing misleading and inflammatory
rhetoric about the Islamic faith. The 10-book series - entitled the "World
of Islam," – is published by Mason Crest Publishing in collaboration with
the Philadelphia-based pro-Israel and pro-war Foreign Policy Research
Anti-Islamic sentiment pervades the entire series,
portraying Muslims as inherently violent and deserving suspicion. It
encourages young readers to believe Muslims are terrorists, who seek to
undermine US society.
The book "Muslims in
America", says that "some Muslims began immigrating to the United States in
order to transform American society, sometimes through the use of
terrorism." The cover of Radical Islam features a machine gun and a Muslim
head scarf, with what looks like bloodstains underneath the scarf and the
title word Radical. The book is rife with incorrect information and fear
mongering and ultimately seeks to paint a picture that Muslims in America
are to be treated with suspicion and that they all have links to terrorism.
The text titled Islam, Law and Human Rights begins and ends with
the same thing, that Muslim majority nations are the only ones that violate
human rights laws set forth by the United Nations – for some reason China
and North Korea are exceptions to that rule.
The History of Islam
offers only a stunted glimpse of Islamic History and focuses primarily on
extremism and contains an outrageous quote: “Today, the great majority of
Muslims accept the idea that jihad means a struggle against non-Muslims to
increase the area under the rule of Islam.”
Another book shows an
image of two 7-year-old girls wearing head scarves under the heading
The book Islam in Europe states that Muslim
immigrants are the source of all social conflict and that Europe is in
serious danger because of Muslim immigration. A chronology in the book
starts with 1988 and lists 10 events, seven of which involve extremist
Muslims participating in bombings, hijackings or other violence. It is a
common knowledge that Muslims have been in Europe for hundreds of years.
The 10-volume series includes volumes by Barry Rubin on "The History of
Islam," the late Michael Radu on "Islam in Europe," Anna Melman on "Islam,
Law and Human Rights," John Calvert on "Divisions within Islam," and Alan
Luxenberg on "Radical Islam."
The Foreign Policy Research Institute
suggests that the books should be a mandatory purchase for all public
libraries that support middle and high school curriculum on Islam.
Tellingly, none of the authors in the series, designed for middle and high
school students, are Muslim and a number happen to be Jewish.
books cited a well-known Islamophobe, Daniel Pipes, who received the
"Guardian of Zion" award, in May 2006. The award is given annually to a
prominent supporter of the state of Israel, from the Rennert Center for
Jerusalem Studies at Bar-Ilan University in Israel. Not surprisingly, Pipes
circulated his own e-mail to defend the controversial series. The books also
cite anti-Islam activists such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations has begun a public
awareness campaign against the books. "This is not about Muslims being
offended," Moein Khawaja, the chapter's civil rights director, told a news
conference on March 17, 2010. "Filled with incorrect information and
deception, these books are contrary to the education mission of schools and
"The overall theme of the books is that Muslims are
inherently violent, that Islam is a second-rate religion and that one should
be wary of Muslims in any society," Moein Khawaja, said adding: "These books
do not fulfill the mission of a school, which is to educate."
called on schools and libraries to exchange The World of Islam for
Introducing Islam, with another series published by Mason Crest that was
written in cooperation with scholars of Islam and is more accurate.
Khawaja said complaints from council chapters across the country lead him to
believe the World of Islam series are on bookshelves in about two dozen
Alarmed by the campaign against the World of Islam,
right-wing authors and groups have attacked the CAIR which is a leading
American Muslim civil advocacy group. They have accused CAIR of being a
front for the Palestinian Hamas faction and of receiving funding from the
Alan Luxenberg, Vice President
of the Foreign Policy Research Institute and author of "Radical Islam,"
circulated comments of Stephen Schwartz, the Executive Director of the
Center for Islamic Pluralism in Washington, DC. His comments were
disseminated under the headline: Muslim Leader Praises Mason Crest-FPRI
Series on Islam.
Before divulging on Schwartz’s comments on the
controversial text books let us see who this person is and what is the
agenda of his so-called Center for Islamic Pluralism?
agenda-driven Center for Islamic Pluralism (CIP) was established in 2005
with the seed money provided by Daniel Pipes to promote so-called “moderate
Islam”, oppose the influence of so-called “militant Islam” among American
Muslims, in the America media, in American education … and with U.S.
Pipes, who created Middle East Forum (MEF)
in Philadelphia in 1994, has long campaigned against the Council on
American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and several other national Islamic groups.
Not surprisingly, the top agenda of the CIP is to discredit and dislodge
major American Muslim civil advocacy group such as CAIR and Islamic Society
of North America (ISNA). Other Muslim and Arab organizations on the hit list
of CIP are: the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), the Muslim Students'
Association of the U.S. and Canada (MSA), the Muslim Public Affairs Council
(MPAC), as well as "secular" groups, including the Arab-American Institute
(AAI) and the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC).
Schwartz, a former Trotskyite militant who says he became a Sufi Muslim in
1997, begins his comments on the controversial books with a tirade on CAIR.
He says: “The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is the leading
Islamic extremist organization in North America. CAIR pretends to be a civil
liberties group but has a long record of promoting radical ideology and of
flimsy complaints of discrimination against Muslims.”
Mason Crest-FPRI Series on Islam, Schwartz says: “These texts are neither
prejudicial nor ideological; they represent established historical opinion
and accurate reporting on present-day challenges affecting Muslims and
non-Muslims alike. CAIR is attempting, as often in the past, to reinforce
its claim to be a privileged interpreter of Islam in the United States.”
In the post-9/11 America, the Mason
Crest-FPRI controversial Series on Islam are the latest episode in the
reinforcement of Islamophobia which may be defined as “alienation,
discrimination, harassment and violence rooted in misinformed and
stereotyped representations of Islam and its adherents.” No doubt the new
series on Islam reinforce Islamophobia through misleading and inflammatory
rhetoric about the Islamic faith.
Americans' attitudes about
Islam and Muslims are fuelled mainly by political statements and media
reports that focus almost solely on the negative image of Islam and Muslims.
The vilification of Islam and Muslims has been relentless among segments of
the media and political classes since 9/11. Politicians, authors and media
commentators are busy in demonizing Islam, Muslims and the Muslim world. In
the post 9/11 America attacking Islam and Muslims became the fashionable
sport for the radio, television and print media. While print and electronic
media continues unabated campaign to smear Islam, radio talk show hosts are
busy in spewing out venoms against Islam and Muslims. Surprisingly, even a
higher court rules that a letter calling for killing Muslims is protected by
the freedom of speech.
The events of 9/11 were used as an
excuse to greatly magnify the hostility toward Muslims and cloak it in
pseudo-patriotism. This reminds me of the Muslim-bashing campaign at the US
campuses in 2007, when some bigots seized the opportunity to create hatred
against Islam and Muslims. In a bid to spread fear and hatred under the
guise of patriotism and freedom of speech, David Horowitz, a
neo-conservative polemicist, launched an Arab/Muslim-bashing campaign at
campuses across the nation in October 2007. Borrowing from President Bush’s
terminology ‘Islamo-Fascists,’ Horowitz packaged his anti-Arab/anti-Muslim
campaign as “Islamo-Fascist Awareness Week.”
students participating in the campaign to disseminate presentations, such as
“The Islamic Mein Kampf,” (meaning the Quran). In a throwback to
McCarthyism, right-wing students were encouraged to issue press releases
condemning those who refused to sign for the Islamo-Fascist week. It means
either you are with us or with our enemy.
The irony is, that
fascism is a European concept, that gained a strong following in the early
20th century. Yet hundreds of thousands of volunteer Muslims, now
conveniently forgotten, fought against this creation of the ‘civilised
world’, alongside the allies in the Second World War. Today, those opponents
are remembered as Nazis, yet they were in fact, largely Christian Roman
Catholics and Lutherans. They wore religious insignia such as the Iron
Cross. Today, it would be patently wrong and preposterous to lambast
wholesale, these mainstream Christian groups. No such empathy for Muslims
But just who are the “Islamic fascists? According to
Horowitz’s FrontPage magazine, they include the Muslim Student Association,
which has chapters on hundreds of U.S. campuses--and the Council on American
Islamic Relations, which advocates for civil rights and tracks hate crimes
against Arabs and Muslims.
There was a collection of bigots
and crackpots that Horowitz had recruited to speak for the Oct 22-26 2007
Islamophobia week. Islamophobe right wing columnist Ann Coulter was one.
Other luminaries included: Rick Santorum, a former US Senator, who has
compared homosexuality to incest; Robert Spencer who claims Islam is "the
world's most intolerant religion"; and noted anti-Arab commentator and
Islamophobe Daniel Pipes who once said that "Palestinians are a miserable
people…and they deserve to be."
Some other well-known
Islamophobe speakers were: Dennis Prager, Sean Hannity and Wafa Sultan. More
intellectual takes came from such neoconservative icons of Middle East
policy as Michael Ledeen, who seeks to apply Machiavellian principles to the
Surely such a notorious lineup of racist,
bigoted, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic and Machiavellian speakers did not serve
to educate but to promote hatred and spread misinformation and lies.
Unfortunately, interested groups are now trying to promote a prejudiced
view about Islam and its adherents in our classrooms to poison the minds of
our young generation.
The cult of hatred against Islam and
Muslims is manifesting in different sectors of society.
demonizing of Arabs and Muslims in America began well before the terrible
tragedy of September 11, 2001 but, what is new post-9/11, is that now
demonizing Muslims and Islam is not only more widespread but also
considerably more mainstream and respectable. In short, Muslim-bashing has
become socially acceptable in the United States.
Sattar Ghazali is the Executive Editor of the online magazine
American Muslim Perspective: