Contradicting CAIR's Spin:
The Islamic School Book Controversy

Paul M. Weyrich
April 9, 2003

American Muslim organizations have been working hard these past few months to present Islam as a peaceful, tolerant religion. Those who dare to dissent against such presentations of Islam will run afoul of the 'Political Correctness' crowd, who view westernized Muslims to be representative of the entire religion and its followers.

They are engaging in wishful thinking about Islam: If only they knew what they do not know. They are quick to smear people such as Robert Spencer, Adjunct Fellow with the Free Congress Foundation, as intolerant bigots because they dare to ask probing questions about Islam and do not settle for public relations spin. These preachers of PC tolerance would do better to challenge those Muslims who are propagating scurrilous falsehoods about Christianity and Judaism in the private Muslim schools right here in the United States.

The news media's emphasis on the war has diverted attention away from stories that would receive greater attention in normal times, and one such story was printed last week in The New York Daily News.

What the Daily News' investigative reporter, Larry Cohler-Esses, wrote in a story about their three-month investigation of the textbooks used by Muslim schools in the New York area would create a media firestorm ordinarily. Cohler-Esses wrote that the books "are rife with inaccuracies" and contain "sweeping condemnations of Jews and Christians."

One textbook cites the Qur'an as saying in reference to Jews: "You will ever [sic] find them deceitful, except for a few of them." Another textbook makes the assertion that the Jewish religion "even teaches [Jews] to call down curses upon the worship places of non-Jews whenever they pass by them!"

But Christians fare little better in these textbooks either. One called "What Islam Is All About" says, "The Christians also worship statues."

One publisher contacted by Cohler-Esses said the material needed to be revised, even though it took a call from a Daily News reporter to obtain such an admission. Let's hope the Daily News will be watchful and see if the publisher follows through on his promise to do so. The publisher of "What Islam Is All About" insisted that the assertions made by his books were not inflammatory.

Even before 9/11 there were Americans concerned about Islam and that its most devout followers would bring harm to America. A reading of these textbooks should certainly make more Americans aware that Islam is a religion that will be slow to change its ways. Muslims generally regard the Qur'an as being the literal words of Allah himself. Therefore, as long as Muslims continue to regard the Qur'an's ultimatum toward non-believers to mean either conversion, submission, or death, there will be some Muslims who will continue to act violently toward Jews and Christians.

There is a special challenge in dealing with that news story for the Council on American Islamic Relations, which will hold its annual leadership conference in the Washington area later this month. One of the topics to be considered at their meeting is a growing link between conservative Christian and Jewish organizations. It is a connection that certainly makes sense given the hateful words and violent actions of Muslim extremists, on the West Bank, in the Sudan, in Europe and even here in America, against Christians and Jews.

CAIR is the organization that has been spending big money on an advertising campaign. Its initial bunch of advertisements sought to present all Muslims in America as everyday people who live normal American lives. Only under pressure, does CAIR deliver the most mincing acknowledgement that some have been terrorists and it would prefer to just ignore the fact that Muslims who profess violence toward non-believers are still on the streets and in the mosques. The New York Daily News story provides even more honest-to-goodness proof that CAIR is failing to tell the whole story about Muslim life in America.

Yet, CAIR self-righteously continues to regard any criticism of any Muslim as bigotry.

But CAIR has to answer some tough questions about itself, ones that Spencer has been raising in recent months. They include:

1) Who is supplying the money for CAIR's expensive advertising and public relations campaign?
2) How much money does CAIR receive from the extremist Wahhabi sect of Islam?
3) What tangible effort has CAIR made, if any, to divorce Islam from its extremist elements?
4) If CAIR is really committed to America's security, then when will it clearly and definitively repudiate the theology of violent jihad?

A tough, honest examination of this organization by the news media is long overdue. Unfortunately, it is very easy for most journalists to shy away from such a difficult assignment. It is just not `politically correct,' certainly with CAIR's own media representatives, to ask probing questions about the organization.

CAIR can stay mum about itself if it wants. But evidently, based on the reporting about the New York school books, printed exhortations of true hate are being read by young, impressionable minds in Islamic private schools and that should concern us all.

Paul M. Weyrich is Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation.
2003 Free Congress Foundation

Free Congress Foundation
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Washington, DC 20002
(202) 546-3000
Fax (202) 543-5605

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11 apr 2003