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CAIR Pressuring Schools to Whitewash 9/11

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In Sacramento (and almost certainly other places as well) the Council on American Islamic Relations is applying pressure to schools to whitewash the history of the September 11 attacks, and remove all context that connects the atrocities to Islam: Teaching 9/11. (Hat tip: Lisan.)

The events of Sept. 11, 2001, leapt with remarkable speed from dynamic daily news reports to the static pages of history books. By the following fall, millions of students across the country were reading about the terrorist attacks in social studies texts put out by the nation’s major publishers.

With every school year that passes, increasing numbers of students and parents come across the lessons on 9/11. Now, as the fifth anniversary approaches, reactions are mounting to the textbooks’ treatment of this high-profile act of terrorism.

Some Muslims say the texts unfairly paint all people of their faith as terrorists. They say frequent references to “Arab terrorists,” “Muslim terrorists,” “Muslim extremists,” or “Islamic fundamentalists” give schoolchildren a negative impression of their religion. [No. It’s the acts of terrorism that create a negative impression of Islam, not the words used to describe those acts. —ed.]

“Because these terms are repeated so many times, it’s very alarming,” said Maren Shawesh, of the Sacramento chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations. “We don’t want these younger students to grow up with that perception of Islam and Muslims.”

Some scholars say the textbook publishers don’t go far enough in describing the horror experienced on that day. They say publishers bend to pressure from Muslim groups to tone down lessons on terrorism carried out with religious motivation.

“The coverage is short and very dry. They’re in the business of selling books and they’re in the business of trying to offend the least number of people possible,” said Gilbert T. Sewall, director of the American Textbook Council, a New York group that critiques social studies texts.

“I don’t think they’re calling attention to radical Islam as they should.”

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