LOS ANGELES, California — Concerns have arisen over the perceived teaching of Islam in California’s seventh grade school curriculum. Questions have been raised as to whether the education within these classrooms are merely teaching about Islam or preaching the faith, in what many now view as a scandal of indoctrination of youth.
That question was central to a recent lecture and discussion addressing the topic of Islam in public elementary schools hosted by the American Freedom Alliance (AFA) at the Luxe Hotel in Los Angeles. A panel of four speakers, three of whom are public educators, conveyed their personal experiences with this subject.
One of the textbooks in question was History Alive, which was approved and adopted by the Palo Alto-based California state Board of Education in 1998. The text is part of their adoption of the History, Social Science Content Standards for CA Public Schools.
While teaching Islam, along Christianity and Judaism, is an important part of history, the educators present at the AFA lecture pointed out that History Alive pays an enormous amount of time and attention to Islam (55 pages) in the seventh grade. When teachers were asked whether Christianity (16 pages, which focused mainly on the Crusades) and Judaism (1 page) were given the same amount of attention in the classroom, they were told yes — but in sixth grade.
This proved to be untrue — Jewish and Christian curriculums were reportedly given half as much attention as Islam was. The lecturers found this to be particularly concerning when noting America’s Judeo-Christian foundation, where there is a separation of church and state. In Islam, there is no separation of church and state.
One of the presenters Keith Hardine, who works as a L.A. Unified District Campus aide, speaks publicly to children about America’s foundations. Throughout the lecture, he demonstrated several ways Islam is incompatible with the Constitution of the United States.
Maurey Williams, who taught History Alive between 1995-2001, pointed out that certain teachers in City Heights Horace Mann Middle School in San Diego would ask students to recite the “Shahada”. The “Shahada” is the Islamic profession of faith. Students were also reportedly asked to select a Muslim name from a list of 30. The same treatment reportedly did not apply when teaching Christianity or Judaism.
ACT! for America’s Samira Tamer expressed that “most modern American textbooks avoid painting a rosy picture of Christianity” by teaching about the Crusades in graphic detail. Yet, History Alive failed to include the fact that the bloody war was waged to retrieve land that was forcefully stolen from Christians by Muslims, noting that “they leave out major portions of the truth.”
Samira added that the text is riddled with severe implications about other faiths that could steer impressionable young minds. She noted that when teaching about Christianity, the textbook presents disclaimers such as “Christians believe,” implying an absence of credibility or historical evidence. Whereas the teachings of “Islam are presented as facts.” In a segment on Judaism, the book writes, “Moses claimed to receive the 10 Commandments from God.”
When it came to Islam? “Muhammad received the Qur’an from God.”
In October of 2014, two parents pulled their son out of Manhattan Beach Middle School upon discovering that his curriculum on Islam was more about the tenets of the faith than the history of the religion. And in San Diego, a publicly-funded charter school recently changed its name from the Jackson Charter to Iftin Charter. The school teaches grades K-8 and female students dress from head to toe in traditional Islamic clothing.
While the First Amendment secures the creation of said structures in American society, the fact is, funds supporting this Muslim school (madrasa) come from American taxpayers.
Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter: @AdelleNaz.