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Hussam has been a lifelong human rights activist who is passionate about promoting democratic societies, in the US and worldwide, in which all people, including immigrants, workers, minorities, and the poor enjoy freedom, justice, economic justice, respect, and equality. Mr. Ayloush frequently lectures on Islam, media relations, civil rights, hate crimes and international affairs. He has consistently appeared in local, national, and international media. Full biography at: http://hussamayloush.blogspot.com/2006/08/biography-of-hussam-ayloush.html

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Activists plan to protest textbook's Islam portrayal tonight


FOUNTAIN VALLEY - Several local activists say they plan to go to the Fountain Valley school board Thursday to ask for changes in social science textbooks they say have “cleansed'' portrayals of Islamic history.

Fountain Valley resident Steven A. Jackson is asking the board to consider the introduction of supplementary material to be used with the district's current seventh-grade social science textbook. He contends that editions of the books adopted for use in California present “a totally positive view of Islam at the expense of accuracy.”

“We expect schools to teach the truth,” said Jackson, 64, who had five children go through Fountain Valley schools...

Fountain Valley School Board Superintendent Marc Ecker said he did not believe any immediate action would be taken on Jackson's proposal. He said the board would most likely decide to put the item on a future agenda for discussion or dismiss it immediately.

“What they're objecting to is material in a state-adopted book,” he said. “It's a state-adopted book for a number of reasons… I can't imagine the board spending a great deal of time on (the resolution.)”

He said the textbook was read and reviewed by district parents before its acceptance...

The supplementary material, written by Textbook Alert, addresses a 55-page section of the textbook regarding Islamic history. Textbook Alert Director Sandra Alfonsi described the group as “an independent think tank” with experience reviewing textbooks...

Islamic activists strongly objected to the supplementary materials. Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the material quoted from the Qur'an, but without context.

“It's a very selective use of quotes and misquotes, inaccuracies and half-truths and outright lies,” he said. “It's very easy for people who have a hateful agenda to portray a group in a hateful way by cherry-picking from a religious group's history.”

Ecker said he does not think the board will make a decision in favor of the resolution in the near future, citing the fact that the supplemental curriculum has not been adopted by California Department of Education...

Mansuri said he believed the material was a reflection of what he called “polemical views.”

“It would be a real tragedy for polemical materials such as those preferred by this group to be considered to be on par with the consensus and high standards of education professionals throughout our nation who are striving to advance a more accurate, balanced and nuanced understanding of our shared world,'' he said...

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