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The Textbook League Review

See original post at Textbook League Website

[Please note: The Textbook League is a secular organization.  BlessedCause does not agree with all non-Christian statements]

Page for Page, This Is the Most Malignant Product That I've Seen During All My Years as a Reviewer

William J. Bennetta

ISLAM: A Simulation of Islamic History and Culture, 610-1100
1991. ISBN: 1-57336-074-0. Interaction Publishers, Inc. (DBA "Interact"),5937 Darwin Court, Suite 106, Carlsbad, California 92008.

ISLAM: A Simulation of Islamic History and Culture, 610-1100 is produced and distributed by Interaction Publishers, of Carlsbad, California. This company, which does business under the name "Interact" (and refers to itself by that name), promotes ISLAM: A Simulation as a curriculum manual for use by history teachers in grades 6 through 12. ISLAM: A Simulation consists of lesson plans and handouts for a three-week program of classroom instruction in which students "will simulate becoming Muslims" and allegedly "will learn about the history and culture of Islam." The lesson plans and handouts occupy 114 printed pages, contained in a loose-leaf binder.

ISLAM: A Simulation has no educational purpose, and it can serve no educational function. From beginning to end, it is nothing but a Muslim religious publication, produced by writers who seek to exploit classroom teachers for propagating Islam.

From beginning to end, ISLAM: A Simulation directs teachers to deceive their students and to boost Islam by disseminating lies and by falsifying history. From beginning to end, ISLAM: A Simulation requires teachers to indoctrinate their students by feeding them servings of "information" in which historical facts are insidiously intermixed with Muslim myths and Muslim woo-woo. From beginning to end, ISLAM: A Simulation directs teachers to present facts, myths and woo-woo as equivalent, equipotent items. From beginning to end, ISLAM: A Simulation requires teachers and students alike to abandon rationality, to shun analytical thinking, and to embrace the view that any claim about anything -- no matter how fatuous the claim may be -- must be accepted as true.

These are the defining properties of ISLAM: A Simulation, and I shall analyze them, later, in some detail. First, however, I must devote a few paragraphs to a lesser but significant feature of Interact's document: It is so heavily loaded with anachronisms that it has no sense of time.

An Antihistorical Mishmash

Most of ISLAM: A Simulation is built around a religious farce in which students, directed by their teacher, pretend to be Muslims who are living during the time of Muhammad (i.e., early in the 7th century). The students adopt "Islamic" names, don "Islamic" clothing, and form six teams representing the "early Islamic cities" of Cairo, Jerusalem, Medina, Damascus, Baghdad and Cordova. Then each team acquires an imaginary caravan of camels, and the six teams engage in a caravan-race from Cordova to Mecca. The race fills five days of class time, and each team's progress on each day depends upon the team's success in collecting and reciting "information" about Islam. A note to the teacher says, "Clearly, this race intensifies the rivalry [among teams] and will probably heighten enthusiasm at the same time."

Enthusiasm for what? Enthusiasm for seeing camels drown as they try to walk across the Strait of Gibraltar? Enthusiasm for believing that Cordova was an Islamic city in the early years of the 7th century, even though the Muslim invasion of the Iberian Peninsula didn't begin until the second decade of the 8th century?

The mislabeling of 7th-century Codova as an Islamic city is but one of a multitude of anachronisms found in ISLAM: A Simulation. During the caravan-race, students who supposedly are driving camels through the 7th century receive bulletins such as "While in Damascus, you are inspired by the Great Mosque" and "While in Damascus you are attacked by Christian crusaders" -- but the mosque at Damascus wasn't built until the 8th century, and the crusades didn't begin until the closing years of the 11th. The caravanners also learn factoids such as "Of the former Soviet Union's 15 republics, six have primarily Muslim populations" and "Arabic music has influenced famous composers, such as Bartok and Stravinsky" -- but those statements wouldn't have made any sense at all, to anyone, in the 7th century. When the students make "Muslim food," they use recipes that call for peanuts and tomatoes -- but the peanut and the tomato, which originated in the New World, were not seen in the Old World till the 1500s. And so on, and so on.

I don't want to belabor this matter, but I do want you to know that ISLAM: A Simulation, which purports to enable teachers to inform their students about "history," is ahistorical and indeed antihistorical. It is an antihistorical mishmash, hastily assembled to serve as a platform for religious indoctrination. Now I'll show you how this indoctrination is supposed to work.

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William J. Bennetta is a professional editor, a fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, the president of The Textbook League, and the editor of The Textbook Letter. He writes often about the propagation of quackery, false "science" and false "history" in schoolbooks.

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