Monday, May 23, 2005

'MISEDUCATION' of ISLAM IN ISLAMIC COUNTRIES AND THE WEST

First see Robert Arial's Cartoon on the Newsweek "Koran Desecration" - May 22, 2005
Cox and Forkum Bibliocide - May 18, 2005

More than the Koran
By Suzanne Fields
The Washington Times
May 23, 2005

No matter what you think of the inaccurate Newsweek item about flushing the Koran down a Guantanamo toilet, it's a mistake to say, as the White House does, that Muslims died because of it. Toilets don't kill people, fanatics do.

Americans don't kill each other over burning the Bible, as reprehensible as Bible-burning would be, nor did any of us take to the streets to shout insults at Muslim "infidels" when Palestinian Muslims used pages from a Bible as toilet paper during the occupation of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, or when Islamic radicals beheaded Daniel Pearl, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, simply because he was a Jew. We mourned him with word and ceremony. The soldiers who abused Muslims at Abu Ghraib prison were brought to trial, after the U.S. Army itself exposed the scandal.

Afghan rioters who were whipped into a frenzyofhatred against America by their Islamist imams were nurtured on violence long before the publication of the Newsweek article and their leaders exploited the Newsweek item for their own cynical purposes. The imams may be the only people in the world who benefited from the Newsweek story. With the White House spreading the word about its "respect" for Islam and the Koran (and coming close to pandering to Muslim red-hots), it's useful to point out how Islam and the Islamic holy book are used to encourage violence.

Americans are poorly educated in the ways of Islam and the White House doesn't help when, seeking to appease, it simplifies the complex and varying interpretations of the Koran. Only recently, parents in Scottsdale, Ariz., objected to a new seventh grade history textbook because it distorts significant interpretations of the Koran, ignoring the way it is used to further the global ambitions of militant Islam.

The book, "History Alive! The Medieval World and Beyond," was examined by Gilbert T. Sewall, director of the American Textbook Council, an organization that reviews history textbooks and social studies curricula. He agrees with the objections of the parents. He further observed that its chief author-adviser is an apologist for Islamists. The text renders "jihad" (holy war) uncritically and in lyrical terms, as "a struggle within each individual to overcome difficulties and strive to please God, [which] may become a physical struggle for protection against enemies." This is exactly how Islamists define the jihadists who crashed the airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11. The Teachers' Curriculum Institute, publisher of the textbook, is pushing the textbook now into the lucrative textbook market in California.

Two years ago the American Textbook Council studied seven widely adopted world history textbooks for grades seven to twelve and found that many hold Western civilization to a much higher standard than non-Western civilizations, especially Islam. Diane Ravitch, a historian of education, shows how textbooks distort by omission. In her book, "The Language Police," she cites one text that observes how the Koran "sets harsh penalties for crimes such as stealing or murder," but does not explain that the "harsh penalties" include chopping off the hands of thieves, or that women adulterers are publicly stoned or beheaded in strict Islamic societies such as Saudi Arabia. In discussing "enhanced rights" for Muslim women, texts acknowledge that a man can have four wives, but note, approvingly, that he must support all four of them equally. This is progress, perhaps, but only from the eighth to the ninth century.

Many of the textbooks that Palestinian children use include Islamist messages that Israel and the United States must be destroyed because they are "the big and little Satans." Maps of the Middle East continue to omit Israel. Schools and communities continue to celebrate suicide bombers against both countries.

By contrast, Israeli school children are taught positive images of Islam and Arab culture.

The Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace, a non-political, nonprofit organization, reviewed 360 Israeli textbooks and found them to focus on reconciliation, tolerance and peace without instigation toward hatred. Israeli textbooks aim to educate against stereotypes of "evil" Arabs and "bad" Muslims. The Israeli government actively supports "Seeds of Peace," a program that brings Arab and Jewish teenagers together with an emphasis on reducing prejudice before it matures and festers. President Bush praises it for bringing tomorrow's leaders together, "changing minds and hearts one person at a time."

That's good as far as it goes, but civilized men must find ways to move a little faster. More suicide bombers are in training.

UPDATE: Also see Jeff Jacoby's excellent article Why Islam is disrespected.

  1. No one recalled, for example, that American Catholics lashed out in violent rampages in 1989, after photographer Andres Serrano's ''Piss Christ" -- a photograph of a crucifix submerged in urine -- was included in an exhibition subsidized by the National Endowment for the Arts. Or that they rioted in 1992 when singer Sinead O'Connor, appearing on ''Saturday Night Live," ripped up a photograph of Pope John Paul II.
  2. There was no reminder that Jewish communities erupted in lethal violence in 2000, after Arabs demolished Joseph's Tomb, torching the ancient shrine and murdering a young rabbi who tried to save a Torah from the flames.
  3. And nobody noted that Buddhists went on a killing spree in 2001 in response to the destruction of two priceless, 1,500-year-old statues of Buddha by the Taliban government in Afghanistan.

Of course, there was a good reason all these bloody protests went unremembered in the coverage of the Newsweek affair: They never occurred. Christians, Jews, and Buddhists don't lash out in homicidal rage when their religion is insulted. They don't call for holy war and riot in the streets. It would be unthinkable today for a mainstream priest, rabbi, or lama to demand that a blasphemer be slain.

What they (Muslims) need is a blunt reminder that the real desecration of Islam is not what some interrogator in Guantanamo might have done to the Koran. It is what totalitarian Muslim zealots have been doing to innocent human beings in the name of Islam.

  • It is 9/11 and Beslan and Bali and Daniel Pearl and the USS Cole. It is trains in Madrid and schoolbuses in Israel and an ''insurgency" in Iraq that slaughters Muslims as they pray and vote and line up for work. It is Hamas and Al Qaeda and sermons filled with infidel-hatred and exhortations to ''martyrdom."

But what disgraces Islam above all is the vast majority of the planet's Muslims saying nothing and doing nothing about the jihadist cancer eating away at their religion. It is Free Muslims Against Terrorism, a pro-democracy organization, calling on Muslims and Middle Easterners to ''converge on our nation's capital for a rally against terrorism" this month -- and having only 50 people show up.

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