The Texas Board of Education, whose decisions can set textbook standards for the entire country, is now trying to take on the “Muslim propaganda” in world history books.
The social conservatives on the board, who earlier this year set new standards requiring textbooks to include sections on anti-Equal Rights Amendment crusader Phyllis Schafly, the Contract with America and the Christian beliefs of the Founders, want to pass a resolution warning textbook makers not to include “gross pro-Islamic, anti-Christian distortions” in their books.
According to board member Ken Mercer, many world history books are rife with such “Muslim propaganda.”“One of the books I reviewed has 120 lines referencing Christian beliefs, but has 248 lines referencing Muslim beliefs,” Mercer told WOAI News Radio.
A draft of the resolution obtained by the Dallas Morning News reads, in part, that “diverse reviewers have repeatedly documented gross pro-Islamic, anti-Christian distortions in social studies texts,” including “sanitized definitions of ‘jihad’ that exclude religious intolerance or military aggression against non-Muslims … which undergirds worldwide Muslim terrorism.”
This is in part due, the resolution argues, to “Middle-Easterners” infiltrating the textbook market.
“More such discriminatory treatment of religion may occur as Middle Easterners buy into the U.S. public school textbook oligopoly, as they are doing now,” it reads. As the Dallas Morning News pointed out, “They offered no specific evidence of such investments.”
The books the conservatives reference have also been out of Texas schools since 2003, as one Republican board member pointed out.
Because Texas has such a large public school system, the standards the state board sets have often been used by textbook manufacturers for the books they sell throughout the country. However, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in May that other states shouldn’t be concerned: “Textbook companies today have a real ability to customize textbooks.”
The board will vote on the resolution next week, when the board meets in Austin.
(H/T Think Progress)