State Board of Education accepts some recommendations from scholars to reverse Islamophobic edits pushed by US based Hindu nationalist groups

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 16, 2016

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos expressed satisfaction that progress was made in reversing some of the Islamophobic content that had been injected into the California curriculum. At the public hearing in Sacramento on July 14th, the Board of Education responded positively to a letter by the Muslim Studies Faculty Group, a formidable collective of 25 scholars on Islam and Muslim Civilization from premier institutions such as Harvard, UCLA, Georgetown University and Berkeley. The scholars had called on the Board to delete Islamophobic content from the curriculum, while also urging a reversal of false and malicious statements on Islamic history introduced by the Hindu nationalist lobby in the US

Adding to the weight of scholarship represented by the letter from the Muslim Studies Faculty Group, was a letter from the major American Muslim organizations , urging the State Board of Education to reverse the factually incorrect and biased edits that had made their way into the curriculum framework during the review process. These edits comprised of painting Islamic history in the Indian subcontinent as one of forced conversions, and projecting Islam as an inherently war-mongering religion. The hearing witnessed a large turnout from the American Muslim community, who were motivated by the desire to ensure that their faith was not misrepresented in order to serve an Islamophobic and Hindu supremacist narrative.

Essentially, the State Board of Education accepted three of the five edits recommended by the Muslim Studies Faculty Group, and overturned several edits proposed by the alliance of Hindu nationalist organizations comprising of Hindu American Foundation (HAF), Uberoi Foundation and the Hindu Education Foundation (HEF).

IAMC has expressed its sincere appreciation for all the coalition partners in the “South Asian Histories For All” (SAHFA) coalition, a broad-based interfaith and inter-caste alliance comprising of Dalits, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians, as well as the American Muslim organizations whose support was instrumental in achieving this progress.

Despite much pressure brought upon the State Board of Education (SBE) by the Hindu nationalist groups, the SBE accepted alternative language recommended by the Muslim Studies Faculty Group that represent a more accurate and balanced portrayal of the faith and its complex history.
“It is ironic that while publicly claiming to seek a fair portrayal of Hinduism, Hindu nationalist organizations expended considerable resources in order to inject Islamophobia into the California curriculum,” said Mr. Umar Malick, President of the Indian American Muslim Council. “The State Board of Education’s courageous stance in resisting political pressure and a well-funded PR machinery demonstrates that those seeking to normalize anti-Muslim bigotry are running a fool’s errand,” added Mr. Malick.

Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information, please visit our website at: http://iamc.com/

CONTACT:

Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email: info@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

REFERENCES:

1. Full text of scholars’ letter to Board of Education
https://drive.google.com/a/iamc.com/file/d/0B-8zLJH_QRTzMWY4UzJtZThXeW5Bak9yVTJ6aENBNmYyNExB/view

2. Full text of letter by American Muslim organizations
https://drive.google.com/a/iamc.com/file/d/0B-8zLJH_QRTzRGpwU0dxZ2Q3YkUzSUt5S3dpRnZWendPcXcw/viewÂ

3. California removes “forced conversions” from textbooks
http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/california-removes-forced-conversions-from-textbooks/article8856104.ece

4. Scholars concerned over reference to “forced conversions” in California curriculum
http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/scholars-concerned-over-reference-to-forced-conversions-in-california-curriculum/article8844854.ece

5. After hours of testimony, State Board adopts history guidelines
https://edsource.org/2016/after-hours-of-testimony-state-board-adopts-history-guidelines-history-and-social-studies-framework/567055

6. California textbooks: The next stage of the battle
http://indianexpress.com/article/blogs/california-textbooks-the-next-stage-of-the-battle/

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Will you join us Thursday morning in Sacramento to support removing Islamophobic content from the new California school history textbooks?
Will you help ensure the history of Islam in South Asia is not distorted and aligned with a Hindu supremacist narrative?

 

California is set to finalize its curriculum framework that will guide textbook publishers, teachers and makers of educational material on how the curriculum need to be taught. These include critical subjects like history and social sciences that help shape students’ personalities and worldview.

 

It is deeply concerning to the Muslim community, that the present California curriculum as well as the proposed edits that are part of this review, include Islamophobic content. It also includes a falsified version of history pushed by Hindutva groups in the US, who are aligned with the divisive ideology of RSS and its affiliates in India. Unless the State Board of Edition updates the curriculum and reverses some of the edits, children will be studying about Islam primarily under a narrative of war, conquest and “forced conversions.”

 

The South Asian Histories For All (SAHFA) coalition, of which the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) is a part, is leading the fight in overturning Islamophobia from the California’s history and social sciences school curriculum for 6th, 7th and 10th grades.
Under this campaign, some of the top scholars on Islam and Muslim Civilization have written a joint letter to the State Board of Education pointing out factual errors in the curriculum as well as the proposed edits. Moreover, a broad based group of national and California based Muslim organizations has written a separate joint letter to the Board of Education, expressing grave concerns over procedural lapses during the review process.
While these initiatives are welcome, it is the community members who would play a key role in convincing the Board of Education, that our concerns are shared and need to be addressed, in order to preserve the integrity of our children’s education.

 

Community members are encouraged to attend the upcoming hearing in Sacramento, as each individual would be allowed to give a one-minute testimony. Details are as follows:

 

WHAT: California State Board of Education Hearing
WHEN: Thursday, July 14, 2016 at 8:00 AM sharp
WHERE: California Department of Education
1430 N Street, Room 1101
Sacramento, CA 95814

 

If you are unable to participate in the public hearing, please write ( be polite and concise) to the State Board of Education (sbe@cde.ca.gov) asking them to accept the recommendations of the Muslim Studies Faculty Group scholars.

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