A Florida school board is reviewing a state-approved world history textbook used in an Advanced Placement class over claims that the book covers Islam in loving, rah-rah detail while giving short shrift to Christianity and Judaism.
The textbook – called simply World History – is published under Pearson’s Prentice Hall imprint and is currently in use in an A.P. class in Brevard County schools—and in school districts across the country.
It contains a 36-page chapter fondly devoted to “Muslim Civilizations,” reports FOX News. Sections include discussions of the rise of Islam and the growth of the Muslim empire.
Take a wild guess about the number of chapters the book dedicates to Christianity or Judaism. That’s right: zero.
“It’s remarkably one-sided,” said Ritch Workman, a Republican member of the Florida House of Representatives who raised the ruckus that started the review process.
Though Brevard County has used the book for the last three years with no complaints, Workman is complaining now. His argument, in a nutshell, is that the book’s authors prop up Islam yet denigrate the other two major Abrahamic faiths.
For instance, the state lawmaker says, the textbook informs high schoolers that “people happily accepted Islam as their way of life” in Medina.
“It leaves out that tens of thousands of Jews and non-believers were massacred by Mohammed’s armies,” Workman said.
“Kids are going to take this book as gospel and believe that Christians and Jews were murderous barbarians and thank God the Muslims came along and the world is great.”
The textbook describes the Koran and the Five Pillars of Islam. It also suggests that Jesus Christ called himself the Messiah yet declares matter-of-factly that Mohammed was a prophet—a semantic distinction that Workman says galls him to no end.
The Republican representative also alleges that a Muslim cleric wrote the chapter entitled “Muslim Civilizations.”
“The publisher told me,” he told FOX News.
Two school board members, Amy Kneessy and Andy Ziegler, pledged to review the textbook, reports First Coast News.
“No matter what the subject is, whether it’s math, English, science or world history, students need to have accurate, unbiased information,” Kneessy told First Coast. “If textbooks are unbiased or incomplete, it’s our job to fix that.”
Susan Aspey, a spokeswoman for Pearson, the publisher, defended the textbook in email.
“A review of the book shows there is balanced attention given to the beliefs of Islam, Judaism and Christianity,” she wrote.
First Coast also interviewed a history teacher from Eau Gallie High in Workman’s district. She had her own take on the textbook.
“There was more discussion of the Muslim aspects, but I attributed it to it being more focused on the world and other cultures than our own,” said the second-year teacher, Robin Miller.
Wilfredo Ruiz, an attorney for Florida Council on American-Islamic Relations, took a much more conspiratorial view.
“They just want to create an environment of intolerance toward Muslims and an environment of hate against Islam,” Ruiz told First Coast.