Conspiracy Watch: Reading, Writing, Ramadan

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

Illustration: Peter Hoey


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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  • Elizabeth Gettelman is a former managing editor and public affairs director at Mother Jones. To follow her on Twitter, click here.