Monday, October 04, 2010

Ignorance, Not Islam, Is The Enemy

>Middle East Online, Oct 1, 2010

Dangerous religious illiteracy in America was evident after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Religious leaders from multiple faiths–Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and others–quickly realized the dangers involved. The latest surveys show how little has changed, note John L. Esposito and Sheila B. Lalwani.

In a single vote, the Texas State Board of Education managed to undermine Christian-Muslim relations, hamper religious literacy and impose ignorance on our kids at a time when they need knowledge to live and work in a competitive and integrated world.

Board members–no foreigners to strange and bizarre decisions–voted to scrub textbooks of anything that smacked of a “pro-Islam” or “anti-Christian” bias. Texas textbooks, by their sheer number, end up setting nationwide standards.

The resolution, passed in a 7-6 vote, refers to moments in history when Christianity is portrayed unfavorably and Islamic events that could be deemed unfavorable are “glossed over.” The vote endangers relations between Christians and Muslims at a time when Islamophobia is becoming a worrying phenomenon across America.

Statistics from the Pew Center on Religion & Public Life find that 38 percent of Americans have an unfavorable view of Islam, compared to 30 percent who reported a positive view. Another study conducted by The Washington Post found Islam’s unfavorable image creeping up to 49 percent among Americans.

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