Group Sues Rick Scott to Prevent Pro-Islam, Anti-Evolution Bias in Public School Textbooks
Citizens for National Security, a Boca Raton-based group that's dedicated itself to identifying pro-Islam bias in textbooks, has filed suit against the state of Florida, Gov. Rick Scott, and the state's Department of Eduction, claiming that a new law concerning the review of textbooks would not do enough to make sure that Florida students don't get any sort of funny ideas that Islam isn't dangerous. Oddly, the group is also concerned that the same textbooks may try to ignore evolution.
Yes, we're aware that anti-Islam and pro-evolution groups usually find themselves on different sides of the aisle.
SB 2120 was signed into law by Scott in May after being passed by the Florida legislature. Among other things, the bill reduces the current 10 person statewide textbook review committee to two experts selected by a committee. If the two disagree about the appropriateness of a book, a third expert is brought in.
"It is not possible for two people to review all the textbooks in Florida within a 4 month period of time," states the lawsuit, "and thus Senate Bill 2120 renders it impossible for the Defendants to provide high quality education to all children in Florida as required by law."
Except, sorry Citizens for National Security, that's not what the law says at all. The law requires the commission to select different experts for different subjects. So, two singular people will not be reviewing all of the textbooks in Florida. Furthermore, the bill also requires each individual school districts to appoint teachers or content supervisors to review textbooks as well.
Yet, Citizens for National Security's main goal seems to be keep pro-Islam material out of schools. Their website claims they've undertaken a 14-month investigation of textbooks in Florida.
"We found and documented numerous passages in a variety of history and geography textbooks that blatantly enhance Islam while demeaning Christianity and Judaism," reads the site. "We have identified more than 80 textbooks that contain clearly offensive passages of this nature."
Though, the group does seem somewhat concerned about fundamentalist Christianity as well.
"The present danger of fundamentalist religion is often obscured, the negative influence of fundamentalism is downplayed and the teaching of one of the greatest scientific breakthroughs of all times, i.e. evolution, is often ignored, questioned or denied due to the failure of this State to properly monitor its textbooks," reads the suit.
For their part, Scott's administration isn't concerned about the lawsuit and claims Scott shouldn't even be listed as a defendant.
"This isn't the first time Gov. Scott has been inappropriately added to a
lawsuit where he's not a proper defendant," Scott spokesperson Lane Wright
told The Buzz. "This is all just a ploy to get media splash, and any good lawyer would know better."
Meanwhile, we're more concerned that teachers in Florida have enough funding, training, and support to make sure their students thoroughly read their textbooks rather than finding any sort of hidden Muslim extremist textbook conspiracy.
Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.
Get the Weekly Newsletter
Our weekly feature stories, movie reviews, calendar picks and more - minus the newsprint and sent directly to your inbox.