How Textbooks Become “Islamicized”

By A. E. Rowley

Since its creation in 1990, The Council on Islamic Education (CIE) has worked education officials and middle and high school textbook publishers to ensure that textbooks’ coverage of world history and world religions is “complete and balanced” according to their standard. The CIE headquarters are at 9300 Gardenia Ave., B-3, PO Box 20186, Fountain Valley, California, 92708 and is directed by Munir Shaikh, Executive Director. Phone (714) 839-2929. Their website can be located at http://www.cie.org.

The Council presents itself as a mainstream Muslim organization connected with the education establishment as Islam’s liaison with U.S. public schools and textbook publishers. This role it seems to have assumed for itself. It is not a recognized tax-exempt organization and appears to be funded by Islamic donors and possibly foreign support. It is in fact a political advocacy organization.

Its’ founder/director, Shabbir Mansun, boasts that he is waging a “bloodless revolution” promoting cultures and faiths in America’s Classrooms. One might guess, whose culture and faith? The CIE has warned scholars and public officials who do not sympathize with its requests that they will be perceived as racists, reactionaries and enemies of Islam.

The Council acts as a content gatekeeper with virtually unchecked power over publishers, working to ensure they meet the Council’s standard of sensitivity. It basically acts as an agent of censorship, demanding interaction with publishers and warning it may “decline requests for reviewing published materials unless substantial revisions are planned.” For more than a decade history textbook editors have done the Council’s bidding with the result that history textbooks accommodate Islam on terms that Islamists demand, a view of the nations and world according to a history they want to rewrite. According to one Prentice Hall editor who objected to the CIE’s policies on Islam-related content, opposition is silenced and Islam is given a free pass. Publishers fear that labels of xenophobia, racism, nativism, or ethnocentricity may be affixed to their products, thereby affecting adoptions and sales. The end result is that American children are being given a misshapen view of past history and present situations in Muslim countries.

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