Daniel Pipes, Ph.D.

We will be forever grateful to Daniel Pipes (who doesn't like to list his Ph.D.)
Because of his distinguished and incisive work, the world took notice. 
Thank you Dr. Pipes for taking on the giants, and thank You Father for sending him. 

Think Like a Muslim
by Daniel Pipes
New York Post
Feb 11, 2002


COULD it be that an important textbook is proselytizing American 12-year-olds to convert to Islam? The book in question is "Across the Centuries" (Houghton Mifflin, 2nd edition, 1999), a 558-page history that covers the millennium and a half between the fall of Rome and the French Revolution. In the multicultural spirit, about half of its eight sections are devoted to the West, and the other four deal with Islam, Africa, Asian empires, and pre-Columbian America. "Across the Centuries" is a handsome artifact, well written, packed with original graphics, and generally achieving the publisher's goal that "students learn best when they are fascinated by what they are learning."

At the same time, there is much in it one can argue with, such as its idiosyncratic coverage of subjects (sub-Saharan Africa gets four times more space than India?). But the really serious problem concerns the covert propagation of Islam, which takes four forms:


* Apologetics: Everything Islamic is praised; every problem is swept under the rug. Students learn about Islam's "great cultural flowering," but nothing about the later centuries of statis and decline. They read repeatedly about the Muslims' broadmindedness (they "were extremely tolerant of those they conquered") but not a word about their violence (such as the massacres carried out by Muhammad's troops against the Jews of Banu Qurayza).


 Distortion: Jihad, which means "sacred war," turns into a struggle mainly "to do one's best to resist temptation and overcome evil." Islam gives women "clear rights" not available in some other societies, such as the right to an education? This ignores the self-evident fact that Muslim women enjoy fewer rights than perhaps any other in the world. ("Across the Centuries" implicitly acknowledges this reality by blaming "oppressive local traditions" for their circumstances.)


Identification as Muslims: Homework assignments repeatedly involve mock-Muslim exercises. "Form small groups of students to build a miniature mosque." Or: "You leave your home in Alexandria for the pilgrimage to Mecca. . . . write a letter describing your route, the landscapes and peoples you see as you travel and any incidents that happen along the way. Describe what you see in Mecca."

And then there is this shocker: "Assume you are a Muslim soldier on your way to conquer Syria in the year A.D. 635. Write three journal entries that reveal your thoughts about Islam, fighting in battle, or life in the desert."


Piety: The textbook endorses key articles of Islamic faith. It informs students as a historical fact that Ramadan is holy "because in this month Muhammad received his first message from Allah." It asserts that "the very first word the angel Gabriel spoke to Muhammad was 'Recite.' " It explains that Arabic lettering "was used to write down God's words as they had been given to Muhammad." And it declares that the architecture of a mosque in Spain allows Muslims "to feel Allah's invisible presence." Similarly, the founder of Islam is called "the prophet Muhammad," implying acceptance of his mission. (School textbooks scrupulously avoid the term Jesus Christ in favor of Jesus of Nazareth.)

Learning about Islam is a wonderful thing; I personally have spent more than thirty years studying this rich subject. But students, especially in public schools, should approach Islam in a critical fashion - learning the bad as well as the good, the archaic as well as the modern. They should approach it from the outside, not as believers, precisely as they do with every other religion.

Some parents have woken up to the textbook's problems. Jennifer Shroder of San Luis Obispo, Calif., publicly protested its "distinct bias toward Islam." But when she tried to remove her son Eric from the classroom using this book, the school refused her permission and she filed suit in protest a few weeks ago (with help from the Pacific Justice Institute).

"Across the Centuries" involves a larger issue as well - the privileging of Islam in the United States. Is Islam to be treated like every other religion or does it enjoy a special status? The stakes go well beyond 7th-grade textbooks. The next edition of "Across the Centuries" should give a hint of what's in store.

Readers may wish to send their opinions to Houghton Mifflin's editorial director for school social studies, Abigail Jungreis (Abigail_Jungreis@hmco.com).

[Houghton Mifflin responded the next day with a press release defending Across the Centuries.]

[note from JenT:  please see my response to Houghton Mifflin's denials. HM's defense includes pasting phrases together from paragraphs apart to make statements appear balanced in their denial, exact quotes and page numbers are given in contrast with what HM claims, and half of the "multicultural endorsements" of HM have provided me with written DENIALS of endorsement of "Across the Centuries."  all posted at Textbook Truth.  I may not have a Ph.D., but I had the time to look up HM's defensive quotes, which are often blatantly false.  I believe I could be sued if I couldn't back that up, but it is.]

To subscribe to or unsubscribe from this list, go to http://www.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/dplist  Daniel Pipes sends out a mailing of his writings approximately twice per week.  To comment on the article, please go to http://www.danielpipes.org/article/118#comment  Most articles are also available online at: http://www.DanielPipes.org Daniel Pipes (www.DanielPipes.org) is director of the Philadelphia-based Middle East Forum.

(See Dr. Pipes profile below)

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Become a Muslim warrior
by Daniel Pipes
Jerusalem Post

July 3, 2002


"Become a Muslim warrior during the crusades or during an ancient jihad."

Thus read the instructions for seventh graders in Islam: A Simulation of Islamic History and Culture, 610-1100, a three-week curriculum produced by Interaction Publishers, Inc. In classrooms across the United States, students who follow its directions find themselves fighting mock battles of jihad against "Christian crusaders" and other assorted "infidels." Upon gaining victory, our mock-Muslim warriors "Praise Allah."

Is this a legal activity in American public schools? Interaction says it merely urges students to "respect Islamic culture" through identification with Islam. But the Thomas More Law Center, a public-interest law firm based in Michigan, disagrees and last week filed a federal lawsuit to prohibit one school district, in Byron, California, from further using the Interaction
materials on Islam.

The Interaction unit contains many other controversial elements. It has students adopt a Muslim name ("Abdallah," "Karima," etc.). It has them wear Islamic clothing: For girls this means a long-sleeved dress and the head covered by a scarf. Students unwilling to wear Islamic clothes must sit mutely in the back of the class, seemingly punished for remaining Westerners. Interaction calls for many Islamic activities: taking off shoes, washing hands, sitting on prayer rugs, and practicing Arabic calligraphy.

Students study the Koran, recite from it, design a title page for it, and write verses of it on a banner. They act out Islam's Five Pillars of Faith, including giving zakat (Islamic alms) and going on the pilgrimage to Mecca.  They also build a replica of the "sacred Kaaba" in Mecca or another holy building.

It goes on. Seventh graders adopt the speech of pious believers, greeting each other with "assalam aleikoom, fellow Muslims" and using phrases such as "God willing" and "Allah has power over all things."  They pronounce the militant Islamic war-cry, Allahu akbar ("God is great.")  They must even adopt Muslim mannerisms: "Try a typical Muslim gesture where the right hand moves solemnly... across the heart to express sincerity."

In the same pious spirit, the curriculum presents matters of Islamic faith as historical fact. The Kaaba, "originally built by Adam," it announces, "was later rebuilt by Abraham and his son Ismail." Really? That is Islamic belief, not verifiable history. In the year 610, Interaction goes on, "while Prophet Muhammad meditated in a cave ... the angel Gabriel visited him" and revealed to him God's Message" (yes, that's Message with a capital "M.") The curriculum sometimes lapses into referring to "we" Muslims and even prompts students to ask if they should "worship Prophet Muhammad, God, or both."

The Thomas More Law Center is absolutely correct: This simulation blatantly contradicts Supreme Court rulings which permit public schools to teach about religion on condition that they do not promote it. Interaction openly promotes the Islamic faith, contrary to what a public school should do. As Richard Thompson of the center notes, the Byron school district "crossed way over the constitutional line when it coerced impressionable 12-year-olds to engage in particular religious rituals and worship, simulated or not."

Islam: A Simulation serves as a recruitment tool for Islam, for children adopting a Muslim persona during several weeks amounts to an invitation to them to convert to Islam. (One can't but wonder did John Walker Lindh take this course?) The educational establishment permits this infraction due to an impulse to privilege non-Western cultures over Western ones. It never, for example, would permit Christianity to be promoted in like fashion ("Become a Christian warrior during the crusades," for example.)

Militant Islamic lobbying groups want Islam taught as the true religion, not as an academic subject. They take advantage of this indulgence, exerting pressure on school systems and on textbook writers. Not surprisingly, Interaction Publishers thanks two militant Islamic organizations by name (the Islamic Education and Information Center and the Council of Islamic Education) for their "many suggestions." Americans and other Westerners face a choice: They can insist that Islam, like other religions, be taught in schools objectively. Or, as is increasingly the case, they can permit true believers to design instruction materials about Islam that serve as a mechanism for proselytizing. The answer will substantially affect the future course of militant Islam in the West.

To subscribe to or unsubscribe from this list, go to http://www.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/dplist  Daniel Pipes sends out a mailing of his writings approximately twice per week.  To comment on the article, please go to http://www.danielpipes.org/article/430#comment  Most articles are also available online at: http://www.DanielPipes.org
To receive television alerts, event invitations, lecture summaries, and news releases from the Middle East Forum, please sign up for the MEFnews mailing list at: http://www.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/mefnews  Please note: these do not duplicate the DPlist mailings (such as this one).  Also, you are invited to visit the MEF site at: http://www.meforum.org
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Biographical Sketch of Daniel Pipes

Daniel Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum and a prize-winning columnist for the New York Post and The Jerusalem Post. W.W. Norton has just published his newest book, Militant Islam Reaches America. His website, DanielPipes.org, offers an archive of his published writings and a sign-up list to receive his new articles as they appear.

Mr. Pipes was one of the few analysts who understood the threat of militant Islam ("Unnoticed by most Westerners," he wrote in 1995, "war has been unilaterally declared on Europe and the United States"). The Wall Street Journal has called him "an authoritative commentator on the Middle East," while MSNBC describes him as one of the best-known "Mideast policy luminaries."

He received his A.B. (1971) and Ph.D. (1978) from Harvard University, both in history. He spent six years studying abroad, including three years in Egypt. Mr. Pipes speaks French, and reads Arabic and German. He has taught at the University of Chicago, Harvard University, and the U.S. Naval War College. He has served in various capacities at the Departments of State and Defense, including vice chairman of the presidentially-appointed Fulbright Board of Foreign Scholarships.

Mr. Pipes frequently discusses current issues on television, appearing on such programs as ABC World News, CBS Reports, Crossfire, Good Morning America, NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Nightline, O'Reilly Factor, and The Today Show. He has lectured in twenty-five countries.

Mr. Pipes has published in such magazines as the Atlantic Monthly, Commentary, Foreign Affairs, Harper's, National Review, New Republic, and The Weekly Standard. Many newspapers carry his articles, including the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, another seventy dailies, plus hundreds of websites. His writings have been translated into eighteen languages.

Mr. Pipes has written eleven books. Four deal with Islam: Militant Islam Reaches America (2002), The Rushdie Affair (1990), In the Path of God (1983), and Slave Soldiers and Islam (1981).

Three books concern Syria: Syria Beyond the Peace Process (1996), Damascus Courts the West (1991), and Greater Syria (1990).

Three deal with other Middle Eastern topics: The Hidden Hand (1996) analyses the way Arabs and Iranians see themselves and the outside world. The Long Shadow (1989) contains essays on a variety of Middle Eastern topics. An Arabist's Guide to Colloquial Egyptian (1983) systematizes the grammar of Arabic as spoken in Egypt.

Conspiracy (1997) establishes the importance of conspiracy theories in modern European and American politics.

Mr. Pipes has edited two collections of essays, Sandstorm (1993) and Friendly Tyrants (1991). He is the joint author of eleven books.

Mr. Pipes serves on the "Special Task Force on Terrorism and Technology" at the Department of Defense. He sits on five editorial boards, has testified before many congressional committees, and worked on four presidential campaigns. He is or has been listed in Who's Who in America and Who's Who in the World.

The Middle East Forum (http://www.MEForum.org), an independent 501(c)3 organization founded in 1994, promotes American interests through publications, research, consulting, media outreach, and public education.

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