Textbooks spreading misinformation and omissions. Look what they said about 9/11
Who perpetrated the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 – a group of men merely fighting “for a cause,” or a band of radical Muslims bent on violent jihad?
According to a new, comprehensive study of 6th-12th grade textbooks used by schools across the country, America’s children are being taught a very different answer to that question than many alive to witness 9/11 remember.The non-profit organization ACT! for America Education studied 38 textbooks from popular publishers like McGraw Hill and Houghton Mifflin, for example, to determine whether American schoolchildren are being taught the truth about Islam and its role in 9/11.
The report, titled “Education or Indoctrination? The Treatment of Islam in 6th through 12th Grade American Textbooks,” compares what it found in the textbooks with 275 historical sources, listing 375 footnoted citations, to conclude that America’s textbooks are laced with “historical revisionism.”
“This report shines a bright light on a pattern of errors, omissions and bias in the textbooks reviewed,” explained ACT! for America Education founder Brigitte Gabriel in an email. “To give you just one example of the errors our research uncovered, in discussing the 9/11 attacks, the textbooks typically fail to mention the perpetrators were Muslims or that they acted in the cause of Islamic jihad. In one book the terrorists are portrayed as people fighting for a cause.
“In just a few years after Sept. 11,” she continues, “the history of what happened on that tragic day was rewritten in our school textbooks. Omitting this vital information, that jihad was the motivation for the attacks, makes it difficult, if not impossible, for today’s young teens, who don’t remember 9/11, to really understand what happened that day – and why.”
For example, the report notes the textbook “World History: Patterns of Interaction,” published by McDougal Littell/Houghton Mifflin in 2007, glosses over the violent birth of Islam and paints its founder, Muhammad, in a glowing light.
“In Medina, Muhammad displayed impressive leadership skills,” the textbook asserts. “He fashioned an agreement that joined his own people with the Arabs and Jews of Medina as a single community. These groups accepted Muhammad as a political leader. As a religious leader, he drew many more converts, who found his message appealing.”
The report also questioned the textbooks’ descriptions of jihad.
“An Islamic term that is often misunderstood is jihad,” asserts Houghton Mifflin’s 2003 textbook “Across the Centuries.” “The term means ‘to struggle,’ to do one’s best to resist temptation and overcome evil. Under certain conditions, the struggle to overcome evil may require action. The Qur’an and Sunna allow self-defense and participation in military conflict, but restrict it to the right to defend against aggression and persecution.”