“It’s inappropriate for our 6th and 7th grade textbooks to exclude the hundreds of millions of Muslims from South Asia,” said CAIR Sacramento Valley Civil Rights Attorney Saad Sweilem. “Changes to curriculum should be informed by academic experts with relevant expertise.”
The California State Board of Education Members will be voting on the final version of middle and high school history textbooks that will be adopted in the curriculum across California and will be in effect for up to 10 years, and likely adopted by other states across the United States.
The current version of the textbook has blatantly inaccurate representations of Muslims, Sikhs, and Dalits, put forth by the Hindu American Foundation, which is attempting to erase and rewrite the histories of our communities from history textbooks. If this version without our proposed edits is adopted, it will pave a path towards institutionalized Islamophobia and complete erasure of minority voices and experiences from our youth’s understanding of history.
As a result of the very limited perspectives included in this process, included not one single Islamic scholarly voice represented, the current History and Social Science curriculum framework is heavily biased against the fair, accurate, and neutral portrayal of the many pluralistic traditions and cultures in South Asia. Islam, in particular, is portrayed almost solely as a religion of conquest, genocide, and slavery in direct violation of California Education Code §§ 51501 and 60044.
With a Muslim population of over half a billion, South Asia is the world’s largest Muslim region. Edits that approved changing the identifier “South Asia” to “India” de-emphasizes the joint heritages of majority-Muslim South Asian countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Muslims from South Asia embody a variety of traditions, including followers of Shia, Sunni, Sufi, and Ahmadiyya traditions.
Ignoring this history not only violates Muslim children’s right to non-discriminatory representations of their histories in California curriculum, but it also contributes to the rising climate of Islamophobia in the state.
SAHFA is an interfaith, multi-racial, inter-caste coalition of organizations and individuals from all over California formed in response to the HAF Alliance’s attempt to erase the facts about the injustices of caste and religious intolerance over the South Asian region’s long history from the educational frameworks being taught to students across the state.
SAHFA’s proposed changes will be heard by the State Board of Education on Thursday, July 14th at 9 AM.
The Board of Education members need encouragement from you to adopt these proposed changes to the history textbooks. Have your voice heard! Write to the California SBE Members today by clicking HERE !