Friday, September 24, 2010

Texas comes up with a way to deal with Islam - pretend it doesn't exist

It's obvious by the increasing anti-Muslim rhetoric and vandalism of mosques that there are more than a fair share of Islamophobes in the United States. Apparently, a pretty high concentration of them in Texas.

There, the state board of education is wrestling with what it sees as the problem of Islam - a religion that the supposedly secular board feels is gaining way too much influence in the United States.

So to combat the influence of Islam, the board today voted to limit references to Islam in history books. I guess under the belief that if you don't talk about it, it'll just go away.

Now, this wouldn't be all that bad if the decision only affected the state of Texas. But in reality, it will affect other states as well.

That's because the state of Texas purchases so many textbooks that it - in effect - dictates the content in books that are sold to other states as well.

Texas, says Mercy College education professor Howard Miller, "wields a great deal of influence over the textbook industry in the United States."

And as a result, he says, it is taking the nation's schools down the wrong path.

“ We cannot afford to bury our heads in the sand, ignorant of and shaking our fists at people whose beliefs and values differ from ours," Miller argues.

"We live and work in a global economy. Schools should be where children are able to learn the whole truth, not just the parts that the Texas Board of Education wants them to learn."

Textbooks, he says need to provide more, not less information about Islam.

"Howard Miller, Professor of Education and Chair of the Dept. of Secondary Education at the Mercy College School of Education is available for interview in response to The Texas State Board of Education’s vote today on a controversial resolution to block debated anti-Christian/pro-Islamic bias in social studies textbooks.

Professor Miller said,

“The Texas Board of Education, which wields a great deal of influence over the textbook industry in the United States, has decided that history books used in the nation's schools show too much of a pro-Islamic bias. We cannot afford to bury our heads in the sand, ignorant of and shaking our fists at people whose beliefs and values differ from ours. We live and work in a global economy. Schools should be where children are able to learn the whole truth, not just the parts that the Texas Board of Education wants them to learn.

Textbooks, he says, need to provide more, not less, information about Islam.

"And also about Christianity, and Judaism, and Buddhism, and Hinduism, and Sikhism, and all the world’s religions and races and cultures and beliefs. Maybe if we do a better job of teaching about the world’s diversity, the next generation will do a better job of living and working together for the betterment of all.”

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