We discovered that the textbook uses inflammatory and hateful terms in describing Muslims, such as “rabid fanatics” with “savage beginnings” (page 45). The entire chapter devoted to Islam presents a pernicious and extreme portrayal of Muslims and the Islamic faith (pages 41 – 46). The material further denigrates the Prophet Muhammad as a “rabid Jew-hater” (page 41) and falsely portrays Islam as inherently anti-Semitic and devoted to hating Jews. Further, the descriptions refer to an ongoing attitude – not one that is static in history – defined as being “a combination of wildness and civility […] towards the Jews throughout history” (page 44). Overall, this teaching material undeniably leaves impressionable young Jewish readers with a sense of suspicion and even intolerance towards their fellow Canadians.I learned about this whole business courtesy of the Loon Watch website, which has a post supporting CAIR's depiction of the book. Here are a few things you won't learn from Loon Watch, which sometimes tolerates my participation in comments threads. Here, for instance, is the paragraph containing the phrase "savage beginnings":
While the savage beginnings of Mohammed’s sweeping massacres were often reflected by anti-Jewish legislation and vicious attacks against Jewish life and property, there were also long periods in which the Arabs accepted the Jews in their communities and valued them for the cultural and commercial abilities. Indeed, it was largely under the rule of the Mohammedan Caliphs that the entire Jewish nation enjoyed the “Golden Age of the Geonim.”Is the depiction of Mohammed as a "rabid Jew-hater" likely to inspire "suspicion and even intolerance" towards Canadian Muslims? Here is the sentence in question:
Like Paul of Tarsus, inflamed by Jewish rejection, Mohammed turned into a rabid Jew-hater.Here is a sentence about Martin Luther (p. 152):
Like Paul of Tarsus and Mohammed before him, Luther's attitude took a complete turnabout. He became a rabid Jew-hater.All this is not so politically correct and the writer is certainly no measured and judicious Bernard Lewis when it comes to his prose style (The phrase "rabid fanatics" refers to early Shi'as and contrasts them to more tolerant Sunnis). The book, however, if my brief investigations of the CAIR-highlighted language are any indication, doesn't single out Muslims for worse treatment than that accorded to Christians and other peoples in their Jew-persecuting phases. Luther has his academic defenders as does Mohammed, but surely Jewish textbooks are allowed to take a dim view of developments that ended the existence of entire communities without arousing the ire of civil rights groups. What's next? Demands for favorable depictions of the Disputation of Paris?