School district defends textbook from religious complaints

A textbook used in seventh-grade history classes at Norwin Middle School lies about the history of Islam and Christianity, according to a local pastor.

“I read the Koran. I looked at the textbooks. I took them out of the school, read the textbooks. I began to see some great differences between the Koran and the textbooks,” said the Rev. Bruce Leonatti, of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church.

He typed a 17-page report and presented it to the Norwin School District, saying that the book — myWorld History Early Ages — promotes Islam over Christianity and Judiasm, and that it is historically inaccurate.

An excerpt from the book says, “Thousands of Jews killed themselves to escape murder and torture by the Christians,” but Leonatti says that is “totally untrue. I looked up these references, and it’s not true.”

Norwin administrators disagree and believe the textbook neither promotes Islam nor denigrates Christians. Spokesman Jonathan Szish said the district reviewed the book and found it suitable for the classroom. They added that the instruction is presented in an unbiased manner.