The Subversive Agenda of our Public Schools

Pages: 1 2

Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Robert Spencer, the director of Jihad Watch, a program of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and the author of ten books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Truth About Muhammad and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) (both Regnery). He is coauthor, with Pamela Geller, of The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War On America (Threshold Editions/Simon & Schuster).

FP: Robert Spencer, welcome to Frontpage Interview.

You will be on a panel discussion coming up soon in Los Angeles about what is going on in our K-12 public schools. Tell us who will be joining you on the panel, when exactly, and what all of this is about.

Spencer: Thanks, Jamie. The panel will be Tuesday night, January 11, at 7 pm at the Luxe Hotel Sunset (11461 Sunset Blvd) in Los Angeles.

The topic is: The Subversive Agenda of our Public Schools: What we need to know and how we can change it.

It features these people along with me:

Lance Izumi – Senior Director of Education Studies at the Pacific Research Institute. He has written at length about how teacher union contracts severely limit our children’s chances of getting a good public school education.

Mary Grabar – Teaches in the Program in Democracy and Citizenship at Emory University. She regularly speaks and writes about how American education has fallen into the hands of people who are doing their best to radically alter the way we educate our young.

David Upham – Professor of Politics at the University of Dallas. Specializing in political and legal theory, he recently inserted himself in the Texas curriculum-textbook controversy and came up with some interesting findings.

Larry Sand – Retired teacher and president of the California Teachers Empowerment Network.  Realizing that so many are misled by our teachers’ unions, he writes and speaks about the unions and their ongoing battle against any meaningful education reform.

FP: Ok, so tell us a bit about what is going on in our public schools. Is “multiculturalism” being forced on students? With what effect?

Spencer: Multiculturalism, certainly, but I am particularly concerned personally with the Islamic slant of public school textbooks. Of all the arenas in which the stealth jihad is advancing, the most crucial is in our schools, where stealth jihadists have found a welcoming environment among teachers deeply steeped in the multiculturalist ethos. With the mandate of “tolerance” robbing many educators of their ability to evaluate non-Western cultures critically, teachers are highly susceptible to an organized campaign by U.S.-based Islamic organizations and their primary benefactor, Saudi Arabia, to present a view of Islam that whitewashes its violent history and intolerant religious imperatives.

Meanwhile, in America’s Islamic academies, teaching materials, some direct from Saudi Arabia, instill unequivocal hatred toward non-Muslims and a deep suspicion of Western culture. But none of that hatred appears in the material Islamic groups place in mainstream public schools – which would be positive if it represented a genuine departure from that Saudi-instilled perspective. But it doesn’t; in fact, many of the Islamic groups that vet American public school textbooks for the accuracy of their material on Islamic doctrine and history are also Saudi-funded. And they make sure that the Islamic instruction in these textbooks presents a picture of Islam that is so pristine and whitewashed that it sometimes crosses the boundary from mere pro-Muslim bias into outright Islamic proselytizing.

And so the effect is that while Muslims in the West grow increasingly more assertive in demanding that Western institutions accommodate Sharia provisions, American schoolchildren are learning a partial and rosy view of Islam in American public schools – using books that have been vetted by organizations linked to the stealth jihad.

FP: What textbooks are being used to teach students? For instance, are your books part of the curricula in schools to help students understand the threat to our civilization and to help us defend it?

Spencer: I know of no public school that uses my books as part of a curriculum to help students understand the threat. I’d be surprised to hear of any curricula devoted to helping students understand the threat.

Instead, we get a whitewashing of Islam. In a study released in June 2008, the American Textbook Council, an independent national research organization that evaluates the quality of textbooks, issued a report finding that ten of the most widely used middle school and high school social studies textbooks “present an incomplete and confected view of Islam that misrepresents its foundations and challenges to international security.” The books present highly tendentious constructions as undisputed truth, making common cause with West-hating multiculturalists to bowdlerize the presentation of Islam, denigrate or downplay Christianity and Western civilization, and transform many public school textbooks into proselytizing tracts. And this tendency has only intensified since September 11.

California seventh graders, for example, use a text called History Alive! The Medieval World and Beyond, produced by the Teachers’ Curriculum Institute. Defining jihad, the book tells students that “Muslims should fulfill jihad with the heart, tongue, and hand. Muslims use the heart in their struggle to resist evil. The tongue may convince others to take up worthy causes, such as funding medical research. Hands may perform good works and correct wrongs.” It gives no idea that Muslims have ever viewed jihad as involving, in whole or part, warfare against unbelievers, or have ever waged war on that basis. Muhammad, meanwhile, far from exhorting his followers to subjugate unbelievers, “taught equality” and was a prototypical compassionate liberal who instructed Muslims “to share their wealth and to care for the less fortunate in society.”[1]

There are a few notable exceptions to the textbooks’ tendency to ignore or downplay violent jihad. For example, Holt’s Medieval to Early Modern Times approaches an honest account in defining jihad as referring not only to “the inner struggle people go through in their effort to obey God and behave according to Islamic ways,” but also to “the struggle to defend the Muslim community, or, historically, to convert people to Islam. The word has also been translated as holy war.”[2] Similarly, Prentice Hall’s Medieval and Early Modern Times at least admits that, besides spiritual struggle, jihad “can also mean waging war to spread the Islamic faith,” before it assures students that “another factor helping the Arabs” in the early Islamic conquests “was their tolerance for other religions.”[3]

But usually the textbook explanations of jihad lack any reference at all to its violent component or even deny outright that such a component exists. A typical example is Houghton Mifflin’s middle school world history book, Across the Centuries, which was at the center of a failed attempt by non-Muslim parents in 2003 to stop Islamic indoctrination in California public school classrooms.[4] It defines jihad as a struggle “to do one’s best to resist temptation and overcome evil.”[5] Prentice Hall’s high school world history text Connections to Today offers a similar take, defining jihad as “effort in God’s service,” and explaining that “Jihad has often been mistakenly translated simply as ‘holy war.’ In fact, it may include acts of charity or an inner struggle to achieve spiritual peace, as well as any battle in defense of Islam.”[6] Most egregious is History Alive!, which says that jihad “represents the human struggle to overcome difficulties and do things that are pleasing to God.” Might this struggle ever involve the force of arms? Why, yes: sometimes jihad can become a “physical struggle.” Muslims must “fight to protect themselves from those who would do them harm or to right a terrible wrong.”[7]

Who could object to that?

Very few people. But one of them is former congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO), who on the floor of the House of Representatives in 2004, starkly described the result of all this whitewashing:

“In a textbook called Across the Centuries, which is used for seventh grade history . . . the book defines the word jihad as, ‘To do one’s best to resist temptation and overcome evil.’ So now this is what children are taught the word jihad means. When this child watches a program on television and this word [jihad] is used, and it is a word used in conjunction with someone who has just blown himself or herself up, and a lot of other innocent human beings around them, this kid is supposed to think that that is what somebody is doing in order to resist temptation and overcome evil. And if we condemn jihad against the United States, then we are condemning someone who is just simply trying to overcome evil. This is what we tell our children?”[8]

FP: This is pretty bad. It can’t get worse?

Spencer: Wrong. It gets worse.

In light of the attempt of many textbooks to whitewash violence from Islam, it’s no surprise that the early spread of Islam is generally presented in benign or even positive terms. The History Alive! text is typical when it reports that Islam “spread” but does not explain how, implying that it all took place through peaceful missionary activity and voluntary conversion: “Although the first Muslims lived in Arabia, Islam spread through the Middle East.” Similarly, McDougal Littell’s World History: Medieval and Early Modern Times asserts that “there was much blending of cultures under Muslim rule. Over time, many peoples in Muslim-ruled territories converted to Islam. They were attracted by Islam’s message of equality and hope for salvation.” The American Textbook Council report notes that “McDougal Littell’s Teacher’s Annotated Edition reiterates this theme, telling instructors to stress that ‘many conquered people became Muslims [because] they found Islam’s message of equality and hope attractive.’”[9]

The experience of non-Muslims who were conquered and subjugated by the early jihad warriors, however, tells a very different story. The early Muslim conquests saw the warriors of jihad sweep out of Arabia and become the masters of a vast empire stretching from Spain to India within a century of Muhammad’s death. Islam “spread” through the Middle East when the indigenous populations in the conquered areas were subjugated as dhimmis: all they had to do to be free of the onerous tax burden and the other discriminatory hallmarks of dhimmitude was convert to Islam. And over time, they did so, in large numbers. One would think that the coercive nature of Islam’s dhimmi system would warrant a mention in these textbooks – particularly since it remains part of the system of Islamic law that jihadists are fighting, in various ways, to impose upon the West.

Pages: 1 2

  • Chezwick_Mac

    As one whose extended family members include three educators, I can corroborate Robert's assertion that such teachers are "clueless or complicit." One particular in-law teaches Middle School Social Studies…and once, after attending a seminar on how to teach Islam, she enthusiastically parlayed to me how 1) "Islam is not a monolith", and 2) "suicide bombers have nothing to do with the religion".

    I had to patiently explain to her that while Islam is indeed NOT a monolith, that it encompasses many regions and cultures, and that while the Muslims in northern Nigeria – for example – have cultural and linguistic differences with the Muslims in northwest Pakistan, the respective Sharia laws in both societies (and all others) encompass the identical hudud punishments of stonings, amputations and the killing of apostates. I could see her enthusiasm wane before my eyes.

    As for suicide bombings, I asked her if any of the seminar panelists were Muslim clerics; she answered no. I went on to explain how the Grand Mufti of Cairo, the closest thing to a Pope in the Sunni Muslim world, has endorsed suicide bombings ("martyrdom operations") as being "in full accord with Islamic teaching." By that point, she was irritated and tried to change the subject, uninterested in any further refutation of the fallacies she had just imbibed at our children's expense.

    God help us.

  • sflbib

    Teachers, of all people, shouldn't be falling for this party line; they have academic freedom that is suppose to protect them from being fired for not being able to see the emperor's new clothes. Recall in the story that those who couldn't see his clothes were considered unworthy of their position.

  • guest

    Long time readers of FPM may recall he time that Dr. Glazov when ballistic over home schooling, at one point referred to a mother who home-schooled her children: "I hate that woman." So how's the public schooling option working out? Not so well, it appears. Perhaps FPM can explore explore alternatives to public schooling at some point, but I hasten to add it is only a suggestion.

    In regards to the question: "What role are teachers’ unions playing?" the answer is quite obvious really. They are complicit. As to why they are complicit, now that is the interesting question. My strong sense is that the democrats are seeking a group whose members will fulfill the role of a super-Klan once a one-part state has been achieved. Such a super-Klan will be needed we can all agree. Moreover, we are actually much closer to that one-party state than the 2010 elections would indicate. Given another generation (at most) and I do believe our Islamic friends in this country will have the numbers to fit the bill quite nicely.

  • Sean V

    This whole article is absolutely ridiculous. Most educators i know voted for McCain. Now the NEA endorsed Obama, i know. But many members i would venture, say, vote Republican. Indoctrination? Give me a break. As an educator and a Republican, i can honeslty say no one is indoctrinating anyone. Yeah,sure, some left wing looney school in Berkely California maybe does. Take the topic of supposed homosexual indoctrination in our schools that conservatives love to talk about. It just ISN’T THERE. As a teacher, i would EVER TRY TO PROMOTE HOMOSEXUALITY in the classroom, the parents in my town throw me out on the street! This is hilarious. In my classroom as well as my colleagues, Islam and Christianity are presented just as they are, warts and all. I think that i am eduated enough to know all the meanings of Jihad too. Yes, i know it has been used to wage war against the “unbelievers”…….

    Do you really want your kid homeschooled? Come on admit it, those kids are usually ( many times ) extremely goofy. Haha.


  • NickStuart

    Same thought as guest above. How long would it take to turn things around? Can they be turned around? What are parents and their children supposed to do in the meanwhile?

    Homeschooling would seem the better alternative to relentless K-12 prosletyzation to the government schools 24×7 worldview of atheistic materialism, hatred of America, moral equivalence, and love for the extreme-left concept of multiculturalism.

  • SemperCivis

    If you ever wondered how the cultural takeover of the left began and how they get away with it
    …. watch this , start with part 2…. get answers here-

  • Eleanor

    Please consider creating a format to share the invaluavle information shared during this upcoming event should be made available for those of us that can apply at the grassroots

  • USMCSniper

    Contract assures same-sex couple will have unprecedented influence over B.C. curriculum

    Janet Steffenhagen
    Vancouver sun

    Friday, June 16, 2006

    CREDIT: Ward Perrin, Vancouver Sun
    The Education Ministry has agreed to consult regularly with Peter and Murray (foreground) Corren in developing guidelines for the curriculum review and setting priorities.

    British Columbia is giving a same-sex couple an unprecedented role in a review of the provincial curriculum to ensure respectful teachings about sexual orientation from kindergarten to Grade 12.

    A six-page contract, signed by the Education Ministry and obtained by The Vancouver Sun, guarantees Peter and Murray Corren a significant voice in the revision of classroom lessons to recognize gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people and the creation of a new social-justice course — to include teachings about sexual orientation — for Grade 12 students.

    And it is still in place and parents CANNOT remove their children from their classes.

  • jaz113

    Are there middle school and high school level materials available that can be used to teach kids the truth?
    Mr Spencer will probably post any video of the panel on

  • jaz113

    My sister was a teacher. She was a clueless liberal until she retired and opened a business.

  • Jason

    Sadly I was talking to my niece about the world events and what Islam is. Her father said even though he felt I was telling the truth about Islam its better than his daughter not know it. Since she has to get along with her teachers and fellow students. The truth he said is not that important. What is important is her fitting in. And he warned me that he did not want me to correct anything his daughter was taught in school.

    • GrungyOldVan

      that sucks…

  • GrungyOldVan

    Speaking of subversive agendas.. Did you know that the Tucson Twinkie's High School uses a Bill Ayers designed curriculum…

    I wonder what they were teaching when Loughner had his break from reality…