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The Textbook League Review  Part 2
A Deceitful Handout

The three-week program presented in ISLAM: A Simulation is divided into five "phases," and a discrete sheaf of pages is devoted to each phase. The pages pertaining to Phase 1 are numbered 1:1 through 1:26; the pages for Phase 2 are numbered 2:1 through 2:44; the pages for Phase 3 are numbered 3:1 through 3:31; the pages for Phase 4 are numbered 4:1 through 4:10; and the pages for Phase 5 are numbered 5:1 and 5:2.

Phase 1, "Introduction," takes one day. During this phase, the classroom teacher assigns his students to their city-teams, leads them through the adoption of their "Islamic" names and their "Islamic" clothes [see note 1], and gives them a handout which includes an Islamic prayer [which include praying to Allah: "Thee do we worship" -Jen] [note 2 and note 3]. Then the teacher distributes a handout titled "Islam: A History" (pages 1:22 through 1:26).

The "History" handout is a fraud. Here are some of the items that it presents as history:

The area in southwest Asia, between the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, is called the Arabian Peninsula. . . .  Largely a desert region, the peninsula stretches [sic] for about a million and a quarter square miles. Some areas, such as Yemen, feature well-watered fertile mountains in its [sic] interior. . . .  Before and after the establishment of Islam, many Arabs were Bedouins, or nomads of the desert. . . .  Before God revealed His message to Prophet Muhammad, the Arabs worshiped many gods. . . .  When Prophet Muhammad was 25, he married Khadija, a rich widow. . . .  While meditating in a cave in the desert, he had a vision of an angel. He was told by the angel Gabriel to be the apostle of God and to "warn" the people. . . .  God's revelations were written down over a period of 23 years which today constitute the Qur'an [Koran], the holy book of Muslims. . . .  There are more than one billion Muslims . . . .  Africa has the largest number of Muslims; followed by India. The biggest predominantly Muslim country is Indonesia. . . .  During the Hajj [a religious pilgrimage to Mecca], Muslims are required to visit the ancient shrine of the Kaaba. The Kaaba is a large cubelike structure in the center of the courtyard of the Holy Mosque in Makkah [Mecca]. The Kaaba, originally built by Adam as the first building to glorify God, was later rebuilt by Abraham and his son Ismail [note 4].

Now you understand what I meant when I said that ISLAM: A Simulation requires teachers to deceive their students, to feed them servings of "information" in which historical facts are insidiously intermixed with Muslim myths and Muslim woo-woo, and to present facts, myths and woo-woo as equivalent items. When students read the "History" handout, they learn that Muhammad received divine revelations -- and they learn that this is history, and they learn that there is no qualitative difference between a claim about divine revelations and a claim about the size of the Arabian Peninsula. When students read the handout, they learn that the Kaaba was built by Adam -- and they learn that this is history, and they learn that a myth about Adam is no different from a statement about the geography of Yemen.

The "History" handout thus reflects the grand indoctrination strategy that Interact's writers use throughout ISLAM: A Simulation. Their strategy is to turn students into true believers by turning them into fools -- fools who will be unable to recognize the difference between a fact and a superstition, unable to distinguish a statement that is supported by evidence from a statement that isn't, and unable to distinguish a claim that can be tested from a claim that can't. This strategy pervades the writers' efforts to recruit converts for Allah, and it is implemented with great vigor and viciousness in Phase 2.

Labels and Lies

In Phase 2, "Caravan Days," the six city-teams that were formed in Phase 1 undertake the caravan-race from Cordova to Mecca. As I noted earlier, the race fills five days, and each team's progress on each day depends upon the team's success in collecting and reciting "information." Team members collect "information" by rolling dice to win Wisdom Cards, and they recite "information" by giving answers to questions that are presented on Quiz Cards.

The Wisdom Cards are divided into three categories -- Truth, Fact, and Trivia. On each card, some prose that deals with Islam or with Arabia is followed by the label Truth or the label Fact or the label Trivia. No other labels are used. Here, as examples, are the items displayed on six of the Truth cards:

People who believe in Islam are called Muslims. Truth

The symbol of Muslims is the crescent moon and star. Truth

Archangel Gabriel came to Prophet Muhammad while he meditated in a cave and revealed God's word to him. Revelations continued for 23 years. Truth

The Umayyad Dynasty lasted from 661 to 750. Truth

The Kaaba in Makkah is the holiest shrine of Islam. It was originally built by Adam and later rebuilt by Abraham and his son, Ismail. The Black Stone came down from heaven with Adam and was placed by him in the southeastern corner of the Kaaba. Truth    [note 5]

The Qur'an is the sacred book of Islam. Truth

Here are the items displayed on six of the Fact cards:

Throughout the Islamic World, the faithful are called to prayer by a muezzin, sometimes with a loud speaker. Fact

The Qur'an has 114 chapters or suras, has 6,226 verses, and is God's third revelation that was revealed to Prophet Muhammad. Fact

Islamic art is usually calligraphy, designs, and patterns. Fact

Islam forbids the drinking of alcohol. Fact

Indonesia is the world's largest Muslim nation in population. Fact

Jinns, who were created from fire, can be good or evil, with the chief evil jinn being "Iblis" or Satan. Fact    [note 6]


And here are the items displayed on six of the Trivia cards:

Islam uses a lunar calendar. Trivia

Prophet Muhammad first began to receive revelations from God at the age of 40. Trivia

Of the former Soviet Union's 280 million people, more than 20% are Muslims. Trivia

The Arabic alphabet is read from right to left and is made up of 28 symbols. Trivia

There are about 11.5 million Muslims in America. Trivia

The holy books of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism all have much of the same history, stories, and beliefs. Trivia

Whenever a team wins a Wisdom Card, the teacher reads the content of the card aloud. No matter which team wins the Kaaba card, the teacher reads aloud that "The Black Stone came down from heaven with Adam" -- and all the students on all the teams learn that this is a Truth, no different from the Truth that "People who believe in Islam are called Muslims." No matter which team wins the Jinns card, the teacher proclaims that Satan and the other jinns were created from fire -- and all the students learn that this is a Fact, no different from the Fact that "Islam forbids the drinking of alcohol." By requiring the teacher to read every card aloud, Interact's writers ensure that all the students on all the teams will receive full and equal doses of religious indoctrination.

The division of the Wisdom Cards into the categories Truth, Fact, and Trivia merits attention, for this categorization is itself an indoctrination device. Notice first that the categorization is phony. Interact's writers falsely treat Truth, Fact and Trivia as three discrete, mutually exclusive classes -- in other words, they claim that a truth can't be a fact, that a fact can't be a truth, and that neither a truth nor a fact can be trivial. Those propositions are bogus. The writers have invented their phony categories to confuse students, to create opportunities for applying the label Truth to statements that aren't true, and to create opportunities for applying the label Fact to statements that aren't facts at all.

Now notice this: By equipping every card with the label Truth or the label Fact or the label Trivia, the writers have excluded all other descriptors and have sought to render students blind to all other possibilities. If students were permitted to think, and were permitted to choose labels of their own, the brighter students might come up with False or Myth or Superstition or Folktale or Lie -- but there is no room in Interact's program for allowing students to think.

There is, however, ample room for forcing the students to swallow lies, and some of the statements conveyed on the Wisdom Cards -- whether labeled as Truth or as Fact or as Trivia -- are quite false. As examples, recall the last two Trivia items that I quoted above:

bulletThere are about 11.5 million Muslims in America.   In 1991, when ISLAM: A Simulation was issued, there were fewer than 1 million adult Muslims residing in the United States [note 7]. Muslim organizations often publicize highly inflated claims about the size of America's Muslim population, presumably because they hope that such claims can be translated into political influence. Interact's fake number -- 11.5 million -- is the highest that I have seen. None of the others that I have encountered has exceeded 10 million.
bulletThe holy books of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism all have much of the same history, stories, and beliefs.   For Muslim propagandists in the United States, nothing is more important than promoting the false notion that Islam is similar to, and compatible with, Judaism and Christianity. This is what the writers of ISLAM: A Simulation are doing when they put forth their claim about the holy books. It is true that the Koran has passages which mention figures who appear in the Hebrew Bible or the Christian Bible, such as Abraham, Noah, Moses and Jesus [note 8], but such items are few, and similarities between the Koran and the two Bibles are tenuous at best. The reason for this can be stated easily. The two Bibles consist chiefly of stories and cycles of stories, but the Koran does not -- the Koran consists largely of religious prescriptions, political or legal directives, and supernaturalistic predictions. One must look hard to find in the Koran anything that can be called a coherent, self-contained narrative. When Interact's writers tell students that the holy books of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism share "much of the same history, stories, and beliefs," the writers are disseminating a lie. The lie is all the more brazen because the holy book of Islam explicitly rejects and denounces beliefs that are held by most of today's Christians [note 8].

The Quiz Cards that students encounter during Caravan Days reinforce the indoctrination which the Interact writers, using the teacher as their patsy, have delivered on the Wisdom Cards and (during Phase 1) on the "History" handout. When a student responds properly to a Quiz Card, his city-team wins five dirhams of "Arabic money" as a prize, and this helps the team to advance in the caravan-race to Mecca [note 9].

Here are the items that appear on ten of the Quiz Cards. Again we see the deceptive intermixing of factual material with religious claims and woo-woo:

Complete this phrase: "Allah is the only true God and Muhammad is his ________."

Nomads of the desert are called ________.

The holiest article of the Kaaba in Makkah is called the ________.

The Arabic term for the pilgrimage to Makkah is ________.

Islam prohibits the drinking of ________.

The body of water along the western edge of Saudi Arabia is ________.

Prophet Muhammad was called by God while meditating here: ________.

The most important animal for early Arabs was the ________.

This was brought down from heaven by Adam: ________.

Shaded area with water in the desert: ________.

Interact's writers, with the help of their patsy, have made a good start in their effort to turn students into fools. That effort will continue in Phase 3.

Previous Page  ( 2 )  Next Page/Notes

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.

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

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