School stops teaching about the Holocaust so as not to offend Muslim students...

@nicolec (2674)
United States
April 17, 2007 8:56am CST
I just read that one history department in the UK has decided to stop teaching about the Holocaust because it offended Muslim students. This school feared anti-semetic additude and Holocaust denial among the Muslim students. In addition, another history department stopped teaching about the Crusades because their 'balanced treatment of the topic would have directly challenged what is being taught in some local mosques'. So I ask you, whether you are Muslim or not, is this right? Is it right to just stop teaching something that happened in our history because it MIGHT offend some students? And do most Mulsims really deny the holocaust? Or the Crusades? What about the other children in the classroom. What about their education? Personally, I think this is a crime against humanity to just leave out pieces of history, important pieces of history, for what ever reason.
4 people like this
15 responses
• Canada
17 Apr 07
this is why religion must be kept out of public schools, not really "kept out" but not discussed in anything other than a world religions class. On the other hand, everything in history these days, in the western world, has been written by the winners, in other word, the English. So, as much as i trust the writing, i also dont trust the winners. if we see both sides of the story, then we can get the full perspective and thats how schools should be.
2 people like this
@nicolec (2674)
• United States
17 Apr 07
Except that the Holocaust wasn't just about religion. It was about the persecussion of people who were not the Arian Race. Catholic priests, homosexuals, gypsies and more. Yes, I agree that a lot of things that have happened in history were in the 'name' of religion (like the crusades) but that does not mean we should not learn about them in public schools.
• Canada
17 Apr 07
elp, im sure thats not true.. and yea, it doesnt really have to with religion, by the way, the true arian race is the one that migrated from the middle east into europe. then they came back and went farther to eastern india. persians and punjabs are also aryans
@nicolec (2674)
• United States
18 Apr 07
Elp, wouldn't that be true of any religion icon. If I can into that school wearing a big star of David on my shirt, would they not ask me to turn it inside out?
@theponch (198)
• United States
17 Apr 07
In America I guess we don't make a big deal out of these things, because it is history; history gives us the truth about the world. No matter where you live you should be given a fair chance to learn about what happens around you. I suppose it's nicer to be able to at least be allowed to have faith that history has happened and that people can develope wise decision making abilities from what they are taught now and in the future. That's why we have equality, freedom of religion, and freedom of speech in America. We have been given the ability to make good or bad choices through our educational system. We have not been "held up" by fears of discussing issues like other countries have quieted nations for.
2 people like this
• Canada
17 Apr 07
I can only semi-agree with you. I think American History tries to downplay the wars they lost. Especially the war of 1812. But that is not because of lack of freedom of religion and belief, that's probably to induce more patriotism.
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@nicolec (2674)
• United States
17 Apr 07
I suspect you are right in America about how our freedom of speech, religion and all that has helped to shape our education system. I supose that's why you have the choice of whether to send your child to a public school or a private religious school. And if you choose to send your child to a public school, you need to be prepared for all types of lessons.
@oldiebut (859)
• Canada
18 Apr 07
While I have little sympathy with revisionists, especially considering how long I have battled with them, your OP does not accurately represent what is going on in England. I could find no university that has dropped teaching the holocaust. You are actually referring to two different stories. 1. A British study that found a few teachers at the high school level had removed it from the curriculum. As a student of the period myself I don't have a problem with that, it bears only passing mention in history at that level. 2. Leeds University canceled an anti-Islamic speaker. Muslims as a whole do not have a problem with holocaust history. As in every population you have a minority who deny the history for their own racist purposes. The country that produces, by far, the most anti-holocaust literature is actually the United States. It is the home of the IHR (Institute for Historical Review), the American Free Press, Nico Haupt, and an array of other nutters, generally linked to white supremacy groups. Frankly I don't see much of a problem here.
1 person likes this
@Stiletto (4597)
18 Apr 07
I didn't make reference to that in my response but I agree in that the vast majority of anti-holocaust views I've heard or read about have not come from muslims but from neo-nazi, white supremacists. "Nutters" sums them up perfectly.
@nicolec (2674)
• United States
19 Apr 07
I'm sorry, passing mention at the high school level? What age are you talking, because in the US highschool generally means 14-18 year olds. And at that age, they need a little bit more than a passing mention. My original post referrs to one school. One history department. I stated that. I never used the term university, so I don't know why you thought that. And I didn't even know about the Leeds University agenda. Is there any country that produces pro-holocaust literature? Because I would sure love to see that.
@nicolec (2674)
• United States
19 Apr 07
Well I have to say that it is a sad commentary on UK education where History in high schools does not have to be taught by some one with a history degree. As it is not the same here in the US. I remember all my history teachers from middle school and high school. All wonderful teachers and all history majors. The questions you pose are good ones and I guarentee many people do not know the answers. I myself only know a few. However, that's not really the point. The point is just knowing. If you read further back in this discussion you will see a 57 year old person who has bever heard of the Holocaust. I give them props for asking, but use it as the point of how many people don't even know about it. And to take it out of the education system entirely is even worse.
• Canada
17 Apr 07
I think they should be more offended at the notion that they might get offended from learning factual information. I agree with possibly modifying the way something is taught to cater to a large group which may not absorb things as well. But this isn't some sort of art that some might find offensive. These are facts. Maybe certain methods of teaching will offend. e.g. a re-enactment, but there is no excuse to be offended by knowledge. "Seek knowledge from cradle to grave" - Prophet Muhammed "Seek knowledge, even if it is in China" (paraphrased best to memory) - Prophet Muhammed
1 person likes this
• Canada
19 Apr 07
I'm not going to lie, but despite my being a Muslim, I have never heard of North American Muslims denying the Holocaust. I do believe that there are many immigrants who just are unaware of its existence, and many of them may be used to having textbooks they can't trust. Until I hear the rationale for being offended, I have to say they are being unreasonable. No matter what a fact is, a fact is a fact. You cannot be offended by a piece of information. You can be offended to witness proof of the fact, you can be offended about a point of view on the fact, but by definition, facts are things that cannot be argued upon.
1 person likes this
• Canada
19 Apr 07
Oh, for the record, if there were any Muslims in Germany in World War II, the Holocaust would have targeted them too, especially considering most Muslims tend to be non-white.
@nicolec (2674)
• United States
19 Apr 07
Yes this is most likely true. Muslims would have been targeted as well.
• Italy
17 Apr 07
The truth must be known. That's it. The only way to offend someone is by hiding them the truth. It is what it is! Awareness is the most important thing! Acting like nothing never happened won't change anything, it will only be worse.
@nicolec (2674)
• United States
17 Apr 07
I think that's one of the biggest things, acting like nothing happened. What ever the case may be, it happened.
@nicolec (2674)
• United States
18 Apr 07
You know what leopard, there are people who would probably agree with that sentiment. Even though you are joking, I bet they are not. Sad.
@okn0tok (569)
• United States
20 Apr 07
It makes me sad to think that we live in a world where PC garbage and feelings are more important than reality and the truth.
1 person likes this
@nicolec (2674)
• United States
20 Apr 07
Indeed. I too think PC has gone too far.
@Woodpigeon (3710)
• Ireland
18 Apr 07
No, I unequivicobaly believe it is wrong to stop teaching about the Holocaust because it might offend some students. I don't care whether it is German students or Muslim students, or whoever. It was a tragic event on a barbaric scale and we must never forget it. 'm not even Jewish, but it was such a horror for Jews, Poles, other Eastern Europeans, menally infrim and physicaslly infirm people...that sort of thing can't be winky-winky'd out of memory. I have a German friend who I have coffee with and the subject has been brought up in her presence, and I have felt a bit akward. It would have been her parents generation who were adults during WWII and I have no idea where her family stands on the issue. I don't believe they would go so far as to deny it, though.
1 person likes this
@nicolec (2674)
• United States
18 Apr 07
I know a german girl as well and recently during a conversation she found out I was Jewish. I don't know why, but I felt very uncomfortable at that moment. You never know what sort of feelings may have been passed down through a family. But she didn't say anything and that was the end of that. It does make me wonder, how is WWII taught in Germany?
• United States
18 Apr 07
Apparently, in their quest for political correctness, they didn't realize that they could offend Jewish and Christian students by rewriting history in order not to offend Muslim students. Rewriting history is never a good thing... those who fail to learn history, and learn from it, are bound to repeat it. I hate political correctness. It's gone too far.
@nicolec (2674)
• United States
18 Apr 07
Yes my friend political correctness has gone to far. I recently was talking about my black friend to some people. They gave me a look because I called him black. Yes, yes I did. And I told them, he's black, I'm white. What of it? Do I have to call myself caucasian? No. And I dare anyone to prove to me that his family is from Africa. No one calls me european-american, so why should I call him african-american? Ok, I rambled a bit off subject. But it's to show that politcal correctness is not always correct.
1 person likes this
@VotreAmie (3037)
• United States
18 Apr 07
Hi nicolec. My opinion is I strongly think it is not right to stop teaching about the Holocaust because it offended some Muslim students. I believe and I have no doubt that the Holocaust happened. This is a very sad part of history and we should not forget about it. That's why we should teach it in our schools so something similar doesn't happen again. I already received an email about this and I just couldn't believe it. I really thought it was some kind of a joke and it wasn't true. I can't believe that a school stops teaching the Holocaust or the crusades just because some few students might be offended! This is history it happened and we can not deny it.
1 person likes this
@nicolec (2674)
• United States
18 Apr 07
Yes, it is sad to stop teaching a subject because it might offend one religion of the students. It just goes to show how much the hatred of that group of Muslims must be towards the Jews. that's even sadder.
@Stiletto (4597)
17 Apr 07
I'm in the UK and my understanding is this story originated from the findings of a study produced by The Historical Association. Apparently it found that some teachers were dropping controversial subjects because they didn't want to cause offence to children of some races and religions and two of the examples it cited were The Crusades and The Holocaust. There were a lot of other findings in the report but this one was obviously deemed a juicier story by the British Press so they picked up on it. Maybe they've managed to dig up a couple of schools where they have made these decisions and that could be the stories you've read. Personally I have to say I was fairly surprised that the holocaust was on the agenda to be taught in any schools as part of the history curriculum. When I was at school history was one long dreary tale of the Industrial Revolution and it hadn't changed much by the time my daughter took it as a subject. I don't think we should shirk from the truth of history (no matter how well-intentioned the motives are) and let's face it - every country and every religion will likely have their own shameful episodes which perhaps don't fit well with their modern image. I think history as a subject should be taught "warts and all" even if it doesn't make pleasant reading. That's the only way we will ever learn from it - although unfortunately it seems we rarely do learn any lessons from history. Particularly with regard to the consequences of racial and religious intolerance and hatred.
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@nicolec (2674)
• United States
18 Apr 07
Yes, that is where this came from. That study you are referring to. The industrial revolution was a big part of the UK's history. But I'm surprised that was all you were taught. I remember learning all sorts of things about England but perhaps that's because we had to fight you off! The UK is rich in history and just with in your borders there is much to learn. But I do agree, history should not be widdled down so as not to offend anyone.
@bobmnu (8160)
• United States
17 Apr 07
They do it because they are afraid of the Musilums. They don't care to offend the Germans by teaching it. Do they teach the US Revolutions as the US being the good guys doing the right thing? No they are doing it because they are afraid if they Musilums get angry they might hurt them. They are giving the Musilums the status of a bully and will give in to it every time. The way to stop a bully is to stand up to him.
@nicolec (2674)
• United States
18 Apr 07
Yup, it's fear. And anytime anyone is afraid to speak the truth, to teach, or just to speak the other side wins. You make a good point.
@kommionu (39)
• Estonia
17 Apr 07
even for those who do not believe in holocaust, it should be taught, just as the content of bible should be taught to atheists. it has had historical impact, no matter whether its true or not. btw, anti-semitism is really a wrong term to use for muslims, as arabs are a semitic nation just like the jews. so it would mean they hate themselves.
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@nicolec (2674)
• United States
17 Apr 07
The 'anit-semetic' comment wasn't mine as I used the words from the ariticle I read. But you are absolutely correct. It does refer to Jews and Arabs.
@mobyfriend (1019)
• Netherlands
17 Apr 07
deportation place - This building which still exists used to be the Dutch Theatre in Amsterdam. From it thousands of jews were deported to the concentration camps. The building is now a holocaust monument.
I thopught the point of history was to learn from it and never to make the same mistakes again. By omitting fundamental parts of history you will never give young minds a chance to form a well balanced view on the world as it is today. In my country it's impossible not to teach about the holocaust because we were occupied territory and about 60.000 jews were murdered (including Anne Frank and her family).
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@nicolec (2674)
• United States
17 Apr 07
See it's a part of your history, religion or not. The same in England. My grandfather served during the war but was stationed in England. They had Englishmen die in this war. So what, they can talk about the entire war but leave that one little piece out. That tiny little piece called the gas chambers? That just goes with what you are saying, giving all the facts to the young minds. Don't leave something out because of fear.
• United States
18 Apr 07
History is History and It should all be taught. And all side's of it should be taught. If we don't learn from it as humans we are fool's. And Education cartering to Fear! is History repeating itself. And that really is Scary!!
1 person likes this
• India
17 Apr 07
I'm of the opinion that it is not right to stop teaching some historical incident that really happened, just because of the fact that a section of the students may get offended. But this cannot be said about the religious myths. By the way what is 'Holocaust'?
• Estonia
17 Apr 07
Holocaust was originally jewish burnt-offering to JHWH.
• India
19 Apr 07
Again I 've a doubt. What is the fullform of JHWH? Pls explain. Was Hitler that much cruel? Unthinkable! Again one more question. If it was Hitler who was behind this holocaust, then why should Muslims be offended? Hitler was not Muslim? Or among the sufferers were there Muslims also? How narrow minded are these people to kill them just because they were born into a different religion! One is born into a religion without one's knowing or choosing. Ignorance! What other name can be given to this brutality?