Alabama Delays Approval of History Texts After Anti-Muslim Groups Complain They Promote Jihad

Alabama’s state board of education delayed an approval vote on 12 middle school history textbooks last week after the anti-Muslim groups Eagle Forum of Alabama and ACT! For America claimed that the books promoted Islam over Christianity.

The Anniston Star reported that ACT’s Larry Houck found it an “insult” that the books said that “Jesus walked on the earth teaching his ideas”:

The board had planned to hear recommendations from a state committee that has spent months looking at possible textbooks for use in social studies classes. Superintendent Tommy Bice asked for a postponement after the groups Eagle Forum and ACT for America complained of alleged pro-Muslim and anti-Christian bias in 12 of the textbooks, all of which were produced by major textbook publishers. Most of the disputed textbooks were for seventh, eighth and ninth grades.

Larry Houck, president of ACT for America, said the books' passages on Christianity implied doubt about the divinity of Jesus.

"They said 'Jesus walked the earth teaching his ideas,'" Houck said. "That's just an insult."

Bice described the objections as "last-minute," and said the board needs time to consider them. School officials supplied The Star with a packet of textbook reviews supplied by ACT for America and Eagle Forum, which was dated Dec. 4.

According to AL.com, Houck wrote in a letter to the school board that sections of the textbooks devoted to Islam had “more and better pictures” than those devoted to other religions, which he described as part of, in the words of the paper, “a non-violent Jihad in America that relies [on] Islamic influence over textbook publishers.”  

Specific concerns raised by the groups in a letter sent Dec. 4 to school board members included that the books under reported the positive impacts of Christianity and failed to accurately represent the spread of Islam through violence.

"Islam was spread by the sword in most every case. The Muslims have killed millions in their 1,400-year history and enslaved millions more," wrote Larry Houck, the founder of ACT! for America's Birmingham chapter.

Houck said after the meeting he has been researching Islam since the Sept. 11 terror attacks and his goal is to tell Americans "what's really going on," describing a non-violent Jihad in America that relies Islamic influence over textbook publishers.

He also complained that the books dedicated more space to Islam and that sections on Islam usually have more and better photographs when compared to sections on Christianity and Judaism.

"Why is so much text devoted to Islam? It appears to be deliberate efforts to proselytize for Islam and this is dangerous for our younger generations?" Houck wrote to the school board.

AL.com provides a list of the challenged books, all of which are from major, mainstream textbook publishers. But many of them were included in a “report” that ACT released last year arguing that “the typical treatment of Islam” in the books “amounts more to indoctrination than to education.”

It’s not the first time ACT has led this kind of campaign. This summer, ACT convinced the school board of Brevard County, Florida, that its history textbooks were “flawed and biased on the subject of Islam.” In response, the board convened a “committee to provide supplemental material to counter-balance the textbook errors”…and invited an ACT! for America member to join the committee.

In a local news segment, a Brevard County school board member echoed the ACT report’s attacks on Shabbir Mansuri, head of the Institute on Religion and Civic Values, which works to include accurate information about Islam in social science textbooks. ACT has a long history of clashing with Mansuri – in 2009, the group tried to get the lease for his office space canceled.

In 2011, we reported on that ACT was encouraging parents to ask, “Is your child’s classroom becoming a recruiting ground for Islam?”

Speaking to a Jacksonville, Florida, church in February, ACT’s Brigitte Gabriel cited an excerpt from a social studies course on Islam to claim, “What we are seeing in public schools today is basically the talking points of our enemies being fed to our sixth and seventh graders in the name of diversity and multiculturalism, teaching them about religion.”

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Organizations:

ACT! for America