A Critique of The Rev. Suehr’s Analysis of my World History (Early Ages)

By The Rev. Bruce R. Leonatti

The Rev. Suehr spent approximately one month reviewing several chapters of the textbook, issuing a two page report, with no references to the textbook, no references to a  single history book, no Islamic sources, or any references at all.  I spent six months (September 2011- March 2012) analyzing the textbook in question, issued a seventeen page report, with forty-six textbook references, fifty-one Islamic references, and sixteen historical references from other documents.  The complete lack of any (zero) specific pages and -line by line- references makes it almost impossible to verify or fact check any of the statements made by Rev. Suehr in his report.

But I will use the textbook references of my own report, and Islamic verses that will prove the textbook’s inaccuracy.  As a format for this critique, I will directly quote The Rev. Suehr, correct his statements using references to the textbook, refer to Islamic sources, and then add my own commentary.

The Rev. Suehr wrote, “I believe the authors were sensitive and accurate without being overly judgmental.” The problem is not that the authors were overly judgmental of Islam, but that the reverse is more accurate. They write glowing reports of Islamic tolerance that did not exist in history. In the textbook, the words tolerance, tolerant, and toleration, are used referring to Islam on pages: p.461, p.462, (twice) p. 673,  However, zero times is the word tolerance used in reference to Christianity?  This so-called tolerance by Islam is as to use a phrase from Rev. Suehr “a non-tenable rendering.”  Non-tenable, non-factual the textbook states, Textbook:  “Slaves did not have all the rights of free people, but Islam required that they should be treated kindly and encouraged freeing slaves.”  p. 462.  However, the truth is as stated by a 9th century Islamic historian Bukari. “So the prophet (Muhammad) took the slave and said, who will buy this slave from me?” Nuaimbin Abdulla bought him for such and such a price and the Prophet gave him the slave.”  Bukari 3.34.358 .  Fact.  By Muhammad himself, slaves were not treated kindly by Muslims,

The Rev. Suehr wrote,  “There are sections that describe some of the darker moments of Islam such as the slave trade.” I found no sentences in the textbook that come even close to using the word slave trade in reference to Islam, although that is an undeniable fact of history. True to the slanting of The Rev. Suehr and the textbook, he lists four so-called “dark moments” of Christianity, and the textbook dwells on them in length.

The Rev. Suehr wrote, “Since the underlying reason for this survey was concern about an inappropriately positive view of Islam and conversely, an inappropriately negative view of Christianity, I focused upon language and implied concepts.”  The Rev. Suehr goes on to state. “Without using inflammatory language, the historical overviews are presented in an evenhanded manner.” However the Textbook states, “Mobs of Christian peasants turned on those Jews who would not convert to Christianity p. 668. In reference to Christians, “Thousands of Jews killed themselves and their families to escape torture and murder.”p.669. “When the Knights of the First Crusade took Jerusalem in 1099, they slaughtered the Jews and Muslims alike.

“Christians terrorized Jews.”p.668 Any fair-minded person would consider the words “terrorized” “slaughtered” and “tortured” inflammatory, and all of the above quotes are absolutely an inappropriate negative view of Christianity. And such words and views are never written about Islam.

The Rev. Suehr wrote, The text describes Islam as having some tolerance for Jews and Christians.” The opposite is true. And the textbook book over emphasizes this point, which is not factual in any Islamic sources.  For Example: Make war on those who have received the Scriptures (Jews and Christians) but do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day.”  Quran 9:29

The Rev. Suehr wrote,  “This tendency toward conquest was mentioned several places in the ensuing development of Islamic territories,” I did not find the word conquest ever used in reference to Islamic imperialism, but the textbook always used the more slanted white-washed words such as “built.” p46 or “spread” p. 460.

The Rev. Suehr wrote, The Crusades, The Inquisition, and two great schisms (Orthodox vs. Roman, Catholic vs. Protestants), were mentioned but not overly dramatized.” Are the words terrorized, slaughtered, and torture not “overly dramatized” words? If these are not, what is?

The Rev. Suehr wrote,  “Also, it is assumed from the introduction materials that one of the goals is to be descriptive in a non-offensive manner to allow the student to arrive at their own reasonable conclusions.” In conflict with that statement, the textbooks states, “ Christians caused, “Thousands of Jews killed themselves” Textbook p. 669. That is not offensive? Christians made Jews commit suicide.

The Rev. Suehr wrote,  “In surveying the materials, I was consciously looking for bias that would distort a defensible and classical understanding of events or twist events toward a historically non-tenable rendering.” The textbooks states, “As the Arab Muslins built their empire, Islam spread peacefully both inside the empire and to the lands beyond its borders.” p. 46. It is fact that Islam conquered the Middle East as far as India, North Africa, Spain, and the Bulkins by the sword.  Any other understanding of that is twisted, distorted, and indefensible history.

The Rev. Suehr wrote,  “I would not expect a theological treatise on the nature and meaning of Jesus as the Son of God, and whether his miracles did or did not take place.” But, the textbook however had no problem stating that the Quran was the revealed word of Allah.  For Example p. 453, “And that he Muhammad received revelations from god.” The word revelations is actually underlined in the textbook. That is certainly a subject of a theological treatise?  Then why is it included in the textbook.

The Rev. Suehr wrote,  “Sensitively, the text book brought out the Christian understanding of equality of people and noted the progressive role given to women.” That is true, but the textbook also tries to promote Sheria Law as an improvement of the condition of women. It did not.  For Example: “Under Sharia, women and men had religious equality.” p. 462 Textbook.  That is absolutely false, and there is no mention of the oppression of women by Islam in the textbook. For Example: Referring to Muslim wives:Allah permits you to shut them in separate rooms and to beat them,” Tabari IX:113

I find The Rev. Suehr’s analysis to be a collection of generalities that are indefensible to anyone who has actually read the Textbook.  I believe that is why he used no references to the textbook, historic references, or any Islamic original sources.  The Rev. Suehr’s analysis of the textbook is just as slanted as the textbook itself, if not more.