by Jane Bate and Bryan Hermansdorfer, ©2021
(Jan. 15, 2021) — In last month’s article, we discussed the problem of disingenuousness when Islam is included in “Interfaith Dialogues.” The same problem arises in school, and there are multiple reasons for that, and some tips, which will be covered in Part 2. This month, we will concentrate on some general deceptive techniques and the effects this dishonesty has on students.
One technique used to unfairly advantage the coverage of Islam over other religions in textbooks is the granting of more space in the textbook to Islam than to other religions. Some of us wouldn’t object to that if only the religion were portrayed warts and all, rather than being sugar-coated. Whether through innuendo, omission, or other techniques, though, Islam is most often made to appear more benign than Judaism or Christianity.
The following are some real-life consequences of being taught this “unicorns and glitter” version of Islam. What if a non-Muslim child believes this fairy tale about the “Religion of Peace,” and converts to Islam? Then, when he learns the unpleasant truths – many of which we’ve covered in previous installments – and decides he wants to leave Islam, the punishment for leaving is death (but, of course, the textbook never covered that detail). Additionally, some students are instructed to write or say the shahada (the statement of faith that one utters to convert). Those students may have converted without realizing it!
And how about the non-Muslim who has lived in Muslim communities and knows all too well the painful truths of Islam, or the young Muslim girl who is dreading a trip to the family homeland where she is to be married to a much older man who may legally beat his wives? How will these more knowledgeable students feel about reading and regurgitating lies?