A pair of religious leaders came short of condemning Florida schools for its use of textbooks devoting a chapter to Muslim countries in an interview with Fox News host Gretchen Carlson on Wednesday, with one accusing Saudi Arabia of being involved with their production.
“It’s all part of the program that we’ve seen to diminish Christianity, our Judeo-Christian ethos,” Rabbi Aryeh Spero told Carlson. “This is done by the multiculturalists, and there’s a second thing: the Saudis are funding — somehow — they are funding these books.”
As WFTV-TV reported on Monday, the textbook, Prentice Hall World History, has been protested by parents and public officials in Volutia County, Florida, over the inclusion of a 32-page chapter called “Muslim Civilizations” — which Carlson called “a chapter on Islam” — with no specific chapters set aside for Christianity or Judaism.
But supporters of the book, as well as panelist Dave Muscato, argued that mentions of the other two religions are spread throughout the text.
“You can quote me on this,” Muscato, a spokesperson for American Atheists, told Carlson. “I think that we should teach children about Christianity in public schools.”
“Why?” Carlson asked.
“Because they need to know that it’s a big part of history,” Muscato continued. “But we should also teach children about Islam and Hinduism and Scientology and atheism and everything else.”
Carlson countered that she was “most personally offended” by the argument that students already know about Christianity, and should know more about Islam because of its international impact.
“I don’t have any problem with Islam,” she said, before asking Catholic League president Bill Donohue, “What happens when we take Christianity and out of the textbooks?”
Donohue responded by accusing educators of “elevating Islam” at the expense of Christianity.
“I didn’t know the Muslims were so great with [women] and so egalitarian and the like,” Donohue said sarcastically. “In other words, they’re lying about Islam, and they are denigrating Christianity.”
Watch the video below from Fox News, broadcast Nov. 6, 2013.
David Edwards contributed to this report