Is This the Coming Clash for Our Schools and Libraries?
I am getting word of a very disturbing strand in how Islam is being discussed, and presented to students. There is a move afoot to characterize Islam as a "different" form of "culture" that oppresses women, that has a jihadist mentality, and thus should not be considered another important religious faith. Instead all of the myriad forms of Islam througout the world and over time are lumped together as some kind of alien, enemy, force-we-should-be-scared-of-and-need-to-combat. I first heard this in the voice of a person who had read my book on Israel, and felt I was being too nice to Muslims — because, she explained, cultures are different. By that she meant, Muslim culture was so toxic Arab could not be treated as full equals in Israel. Of course she was blurring Arab and Muslim, and Middle East with, say, Indonesia, Nigeria, Brazil, and Dearborn, Michigan.
I knew Unsettled would be attacked, so I should not have been surprised. But then I heard from a person training to be a school librarian. Just now that person is working in a magnet school, assisting in a 9th grade World History class. The library student was told to teach kids that Jihad means Holy War, but not to mention the Crusades (Europe’s Holy War to take back the Holy Land) — in other words to imply that Islam is inherently at war with others in a way that, say, Christianity is not. A well trained future librarian, the student found excellent books on Islam by Ive League scholars and brought them to the supervisor and grad assistant in the class. They denegrated the professors calling them "experts" — flicking their hands in the air to imply "so-called." Instead, those school higher-ups take their cues from Jihad Watch jihadwatch.org/
I have only begun to look at the JW site, but this anti-Islamic strand is reminding me of the Intelligent Design issue. Under the cover of a human’s rights issue (women in Islam), students are steered away from thoughtful discussions of Islam (the use of air quotations to denegrate academics), and given, as truth, a distorted, extremist view. If anything like this is coming up in your school, please let us know, please post.
I suspect that the post 9-11 Clash of Cultures argument; the post 9-11 analysis of the real toxic strands within some parts of the Middle East (which were often Socialist and even anti-Islamic in their origins); and the suppression of moderate voices in some Islamic countries (which is real, and needs to be exposed and confronted ) has been woven together into an alarmist vision of Islam, that is now being passed around as truth. If this is happening, we must all know about it.