Conspiracy Watch: Reading, Writing, Ramadan

Are textbook publishers under the sway of Saudi-backed Islamic organizations?

Illustration: Peter Hoey

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


the conspiracy: Textbook publishers are under the sway of Saudi-backed Islamic organizations determined to brainwash our children and undermine the American way of life. Some blatant examples of Islamist propaganda disguised as multiculti curricula: Prentice Hall’s middle-school history textbook World Explorer, which claimed that the Koran teaches “the importance of honesty, honor, giving to others and having love and respect for…families”; and McGraw-Hill’s Journey Across Time, which asks students to explore charity, fasting, prayer, pilgrimage, and other tenets of Islamic belief with skits.

the conspiracy theorists: The American Textbook Council, the Pacific Justice Institute, and Citizens for American Values in Public Education, which heads the “Stop the Madrassa” campaign to close what it calls a “radical Islamist” middle school in New York City. Citizens for American Values’ advisory board includes Giuliani campaign adviser Daniel Pipes.

meanwhile, back on earth: If Lynne Cheney can offer textbook writers advice about the Civil War, why not scholars who actually know something about the world’s second-largest religion? And since when does Al Qaeda use role-playing to win over sympathizers?

Kookiness Rating: tin foil hattin foil hattin foil hattin foil hat (1=maybe they’re on to something, 5=break out the tinfoil hat!)

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest