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LA Times: Texas messes with Islam

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The state Board of Education’s bid to limit references to Islam in school textbooks is a disservice to a major religion of the world and to Texas students.

From the state that brought you the notion that Thomas Jefferson wasn’t an important Founding Father, and that the interning of 100,000 Japanese Americans during World War II had nothing to do with racism, comes another attempt to insert personal prejudice into public school textbooks. This time, the Texas Board of Education is trying to limit references to Islam.

Textbooks nationwide have been twisted, dumbed down and flattened into such boring tomes that it’s no wonder most students can’t abide them. The public education establishment’s concerns about political correctness have resulted in books written more to avoid hurting feelings than to inform and challenge. California is one of the worst offenders, with its requirements that the elderly, disabled and minority groups be shown in a positive light and be given proportional representation.

But that’s not as troubling as the latest doings in Texas, whose school board on Friday decided that references to Islam in the state’s textbooks must be reduced. It’s bad enough that the board — which has made a point of opening meetings with Christian prayers and voicing its belief that government should be run according to Christian beliefs — tampered with history earlier this year by ordering publishers to downplay the role of Jefferson because he coined the phrase “separation of church and state.”

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No one could accuse the school board of following in Jefferson’s footsteps. It’s particularly odious to see a government agency, especially one responsible for educating children, single out a religion and seek to diminish its status in world history. The new resolution comes from an apparent misreading of a textbook, one section of which contains more references to Islam than to Christianity. But there are other sections in the book that mention Christianity extensively. Given the board’s history of setting a “Christian” agenda, its attack on a single religion could be challenged in court.

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Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Muslim American born in Brooklyn, NY with Guyanese parents currently living in Virginia working full-time as a web developer.

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