Jewish World Review May 23, 2005/ 14 Iyar,
More than the Koran
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 frenzy of hatred 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 G-d, (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 Sept. 11. The Teachers' Curriculum Institute, publisher of the textbook, is pushing the textbook now into the lucrative textbook market in California.
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 nonpolitical, 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.
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