Thursday, September 07, 2006

CAIR looking to censor high school textbooks

Nation: It is not helping their cause when the guy they are helping seems a bit off.

The events of Sept. 11, 2001, leapt with remarkable speed from dynamic daily news reports to the static pages of history books. By the following fall, millions of students across the country were reading about the terrorist attacks in social studies texts put out by the nation's major publishers. With every school year that passes, increasing numbers of students and parents come across the lessons on 9/11. Now, as the fifth anniversary approaches, reactions are mounting to the textbooks' treatment of this high-profile act of terrorism. Some Muslims say the texts unfairly paint all people of their faith as terrorists. They say frequent references to "Arab terrorists," "Muslim terrorists," "Muslim extremists," or "Islamic fundamentalists" give schoolchildren a negative impression of their religion. "Because these terms are repeated so many times, it's very alarming," said Maren Shawesh, of the Sacramento chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations. "We don't want these younger students to grow up with that perception of Islam and Muslims." Some scholars say the textbook publishers don't go far enough in describing the horror experienced on that day. They say publishers bend to pressure from Muslim groups to tone down lessons on terrorism carried out with religious motivation. "The coverage is short and very dry. They're in the business of selling books and they're in the business of trying to offend the least number of people possible," said Gilbert T. Sewall, director of the American Textbook Council, a New York group that critiques social studies texts. "I don't think they're calling attention to radical Islam as they should."
This would be the bit off part.
That's just what happened when Khaled Umbashi came across sections about Sept. 11 and the war on terrorism in his son's ninth-grade geography book last year. The Sacramento man, who is originally from Libya and is a practicing Muslim, was disturbed by what he saw as a tone repeatedly linking Muslims and Arabs with terrorism. Chapter 8 of "World Geography," published by McDougal Littell, opens with a large, iconic photograph of firefighters hoisting an American flag above the World Trade Center wreckage. The facing page describes what happened on Sept. 11, first from the perspective of a 15-year-old student who was evacuated from his high school four blocks from the twin towers. Then the book says: "19 Arab terrorists hijacked four airliners." Umbashi says the description is too broad; instead he thinks the book should be more specific about which countries the hijackers were from. A few paragraphs down, the book says investigators began to identify who directed the attacks. "The evidence pointed to a global network, or worldwide interconnected group, of extremist Islamic terrorists led by Osama bin Laden, a Saudi Arabian millionaire," the passage states. Umbashi questions whether Muslims are really behind the plot and he doesn't like the term "extremist Islamic terrorists." "This is like you are stamping the kids," he said during a recent interview in his south Sacramento home. "We are in a melting pot and a diverse country. ... This is dangerous." Sewall, of the American Textbook Council, says reactions like Umbashi's have become common across the country. Frequently, he said, they come from organized Muslim groups trying to influence publishers and education departments. "The constant complaints about tone or some kind of imbalance is coming to be a familiar trick, as I see it -- a trick to erase anything negative about Islam historically or in the contemporary world," Sewall said. "I'm not too interested in catering to their different objectives."
The bolded part is a major reason CAIR is going to get laughed at but I have no doubt certain companies will bend to pressure.

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