A Tennessee mother is outraged at a portion of her child’s school curriculum that ostensibly teaches the children facts about Islam, but that she says actually promotes the religion, WJHL (Johnson City, Tennessee) is reporting.
Michelle Edmisten spoke to the Blountville school board Monday night, telling the packed house that the Islam lesson her daughter had been taught at school, and its accompanying textbook, promoted Islam. She says that even her daughter recognized to pro-Islam bias in the assignments and refused to complete some of them because they violate her beliefs as a Christian. The young girl failed that portion of the course as a result.
School board member, parent, want to remove Pearson social studies text from Sullivan County schools because of… https://t.co/FMWyM86IsP
— Rick Wagner (@RickWagnerKTN) October 4, 2016
“It is time as parents, teachers, and administrators we stand up and take back our families, our schools, and our country.”
In the video below from WJHL, you can see brief scenes of some of the assignments Edmisten says her daughter was given. Most of the material seems to be about basic facts about Islam, such as naming the Five Pillars of Islam or naming the holy book of Islam.
The textbook in question is used in several school districts in Tennessee and elsewhere across the country and is published by Pearson PLC, according to The Wall Street Journal. Several variations of the textbook exist based on which grade they’re used in, but the series has been the source of contention in other places besides Blountville.
At issue is whether or not the textbook ignores certain unsavory facts about Islam in order to paint a better picture of the religion. For example, the section on “Muslim Empires” teaches that Islam expanded through war and conquest in some places but also “spread peacefully” in others, and that “religious toleration” by Muslims helped the Muslim Empire expand. Critics say that Islam spread mostly through violence and war.
The Muslim Empire :
2. Abbasside ( à moitié)
3. Ottoman pic.twitter.com/ucqfrul1uD
— صلاح الدين الفارس (@Warning_Hell) March 25, 2016
Steve Gill, a spokesman for Citizens Against Islamic Indoctrination in Sparta, Tennessee, said that the books promoted Islam by glossing over aspects of its history.
“These textbooks present a promotional, positive view of Islam. [The idea that Islam is] a religion of peace and tolerance is just not accurate now or in history.”
David Cook, a religion professor and expert on Islamic history at Rice University in Houston, points out that Islam is not alone in using the sword to expand: most major world religions, including Christianity, have gained converts or territory through “political or economic dominance,” he said.
Pearson spokesperson Laura Howe insisted that the publisher’s textbooks are meant simply to teach, not indoctrinate.
“While we always are committed to presenting balanced, unbiased, and accurate material, we also are happy to meet with parents and listen to their concerns about textbook content.”
Michelle Edmisten wants Pearson’s textbooks on Islam removed from the school district right away, and called on others to join her in her fight.
“I would like to see the Pearson book yanked from the school immediately. I would like to see parents, Christians, veterans, anyone that’s anyone, stand up for this fight. How can I, as a Christian, say that I have these values? And I want to instill these values in my daughter, but then say its okay go ahead and do it.”
Unfortunately for Edmisten, removing a school textbook isn’t something that can be just done with the stroke of a pen, as Board of Education Chair, Michael Hughes pointed out. School textbooks in Tennessee are agreed-upon at the statewide level, and the review process can take years. And even if the books are removed, there is no guarantee that all of the parents will be satisfied with the way the next textbook teaches the subject, be it Islam or Science or any other subject.
[Featured Image by Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH/Shutterstock]