History teachers need an independent hotline to evaluate books and instructional materials on Islamic history, writes Sandra Stotsky on History News Network.
After September 11, it is clearly urgent to teach K-12 students about Islamic history and culture. It is also crucial for their teachers to have suitable instructional materials that do not inadvertently promote some person’s or group’s religious or political agenda.
Workshops for teachers confuse faith with history, she writes. One source given to teachers, The Arab World Studies Notebook, “claims not only that Muslims from Europe were the first to sail across the Atlantic and land in the New World, but also that they reached Canada where they intermarried with the Iroquois and Algonquin nations.” It’s not true, but few teachers know enough about Islamic history to evaluate the credibility of what they’re given.