CAIR Cited As Expert On Peace And Religion In Proposed Texas Textbook

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the radical group that was found to be an unindicted co-conspirator with Hamas, is utilized as an authority on Islam, peace and religion in a proposed Texas schoolbook, according to a review of the book conducted by Verity Educate.

The book, a social studies textbook from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt that is currently up for adoption in Texas and is titled, Contemporary World Studies: People, Places, and Societies, Texas ed., 2016, claims there is no justification for terrorism or extremism in Islam, citing CAIR.  It is believed to be intended for 6th grade geography/social studies.

Verity Educate highlighted the various issues with the textbook:

Why is this image wrong? Let us count the ways.

1) The quote does not come from CAIR. It does not even come from a press release. It comes from a fatwa issued by the Fiqh Council of North America at a press conference convened by CAIR. The press release, dated a day earlier, did not contain any such line.

2) CAIR is not a religious authority. It is an activist and advocacy group. In fact, in that press release, CAIR described itself as, “America’s largest Muslim civil rights group.” Educational material should not use advocacy groups as authorities, let alone as experts on religious interpretation. Perhaps the textbook should have quoted a Muslim religious scholar or just explained that the Fiqh Council of North America issued a fatwa on this issue. Maybe the authors thought that using the correct terminology would be scary or confusing.
But that would be kind of bigoted, wouldn’t it?

3) Neither the quote provided in the text nor the full fatwa actually validate the textbook’s claim that “people may mistakenly think that Islam encourages violence.” This fatwa does call on Muslims to refrain from violence against civilians, including terrorism. But it does not state anything about the religion encouraging or not encouraging other forms of violence, such as against militaries.

And finally…

4) No one should listen to CAIR on the issue of peace. The organization simply is not credible. If you are wondering what we mean about this, just look up the following phrases together: CAIR, unindicted co-conspirator, joint venturer, U.S. vs. Holy Land Foundation.

"This brief paragraph reflects a failure of both scholarship and education.  Not only does it tout CAIR as an expert on both peace and religion, which it is not, but it fails to responsibly acknowledge that CAIR is an advocacy group with a distinct agenda," Ellen Wald, President of Verity Educate, told TruthRevolt​ exclusively.  "And, of course, there are those blatant factual inaccuracies.  But, in addition to inappropriately legitimizing CAIR, this paragraph suggests that the entire textbook, like most textbooks, must be thoroughly scrutinized for accuracy.  Parents and community members need to know what is being taught in their schools."

In November, the State Board of Education will decide which social studies books are approved for use in Texas public schools.  If this book is among them, school districts will be able to use state funds to purchase the book for their students.