Conspiracy Watch: Reading, Writing, Ramadan

Are textbook publishers under the sway of Saudi-backed Islamic organizations?

Illustration: Peter Hoey

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the conspiracy: Textbook publishers are under the sway of Saudi-backed Islamic organizations determined to brainwash our children and undermine the American way of life. Some blatant examples of Islamist propaganda disguised as multiculti curricula: Prentice Hall’s middle-school history textbook World Explorer, which claimed that the Koran teaches “the importance of honesty, honor, giving to others and having love and respect for…families”; and McGraw-Hill’s Journey Across Time, which asks students to explore charity, fasting, prayer, pilgrimage, and other tenets of Islamic belief with skits.

the conspiracy theorists: The American Textbook Council, the Pacific Justice Institute, and Citizens for American Values in Public Education, which heads the “Stop the Madrassa” campaign to close what it calls a “radical Islamist” middle school in New York City. Citizens for American Values’ advisory board includes Giuliani campaign adviser Daniel Pipes.

meanwhile, back on earth: If Lynne Cheney can offer textbook writers advice about the Civil War, why not scholars who actually know something about the world’s second-largest religion? And since when does Al Qaeda use role-playing to win over sympathizers?

Kookiness Rating: tin foil hattin foil hattin foil hattin foil hat (1=maybe they’re on to something, 5=break out the tinfoil hat!)

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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