CAIRO – A civil rights Islamic group has accused a Toronto Jewish school of demonizing Muslims in its textbooks, describing them as “rabid fanatics” with “savage beginnings.”
“The entire chapter devoted to Islam presents a pernicious and extreme portrayal of Muslims and the Islamic faith,” the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) said in an open letter sent earlier this week to Canadian Jewish organizations, a statement obtained by OnIslam.net said.
The open letter said that a textbook used at the Joe Dwek Ohr HaEmet Sephardic School employs “inflammatory and hateful terms in describing Muslims.”
The textbook titled 2000 Years of Jewish History: From the Destruction of the Second Bais Hamikdash Until the Twentieth Century, was published by Feldheim Publishers, is being used in Grade 7 and Grade 8 girls’ classes.
The open letter was sent to Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Center For Holocaust Studies, and The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, as well as the Ministry of Education. A private letter of concern was also sent to the school.
Both letters indicate 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.
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,” reads the open letter.
The Muslim group urged Canadian Jewish organizations to remove the offensive textbook, calling them to initiate a dialogue with Muslims to introduce true information about Islam.
“We look to Jewish organizations to join us again in speaking out against the harmful stereotypes that can creep into curricula and which we would all agree must be expunged,” Ihsaan Gardee, Executive Director at CAIR-CAN, said.
“As our private letter of concern to the school stated, we are ready to engage in dialogue with the school to offer accurate information about Islam and Muslims in a spirit of understanding and goodwill.”
The call for cooperation comes on the heels of an investigation into curriculum at a Toronto school that was allegedly promoting hate through anti-Semitic descriptions of Jewish people in historical narrations.
The school moved quickly to remove the offensive material and launched its own internal review.
Investigators subsequently ruled that the references were “not deemed criminal”, though they “suggested intolerance.”
The civil rights group blamed the ministry of education for failing to examine education materials.
“The Ministry of Education also has a role to play to call on all schools to examine their materials to ensure they fall within acceptable parameters of the retelling of history and stay far away from vilifying any faith or cultural group,” Gardee added.
Muslims make around 1.9 percent of Canada's 32.8 million population, and Islam is the number one non-Christian faith in the country.
A survey has showed the overwhelming majority of Muslims are proud to be Canadian.
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