Conspiracy Watch: Reading, Writing, Ramadan

Are textbook publishers under the sway of Saudi-backed Islamic organizations?

Illustration: Peter Hoey

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the conspiracy: Textbook publishers are under the sway of Saudi-backed Islamic organizations determined to brainwash our children and undermine the American way of life. Some blatant examples of Islamist propaganda disguised as multiculti curricula: Prentice Hall’s middle-school history textbook World Explorer, which claimed that the Koran teaches “the importance of honesty, honor, giving to others and having love and respect for…families”; and McGraw-Hill’s Journey Across Time, which asks students to explore charity, fasting, prayer, pilgrimage, and other tenets of Islamic belief with skits.

the conspiracy theorists: The American Textbook Council, the Pacific Justice Institute, and Citizens for American Values in Public Education, which heads the “Stop the Madrassa” campaign to close what it calls a “radical Islamist” middle school in New York City. Citizens for American Values’ advisory board includes Giuliani campaign adviser Daniel Pipes.

meanwhile, back on earth: If Lynne Cheney can offer textbook writers advice about the Civil War, why not scholars who actually know something about the world’s second-largest religion? And since when does Al Qaeda use role-playing to win over sympathizers?

Kookiness Rating: tin foil hattin foil hattin foil hattin foil hat (1=maybe they’re on to something, 5=break out the tinfoil hat!)

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TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

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