HOUSTON — Some conservative members of the Texas Board of Education assert that the history books used in this state have a pro-Islamic bias, and they are upset about it.
Never shy about wading into the culture wars, they are planning to vote Friday for a resolution that would send a blunt message to textbook publishers: Do not present a pro-Islamic, anti-Christian version of history if you want to sell books in one of the nation’s largest markets.
“The purpose of this resolution is to ensure there is balanced treatment of divergent groups,” Gail Lowe, the chairwoman of the board, said. “In the past, the textbooks have had some bias against Christianity.”
The resolution was written and submitted to the board this summer by, Randy Rives, who as a member of the school board in Odessa, Tex., pushed through a Bible study curriculum.
Last spring, Mr. Rives ran for the state board but failed to defeat the incumbent, Bob Craig, a moderate Republican.
Defeat at the polls did not dampen Mr. Rives’s enthusiasm for protecting Texas students from what he sees as a conspiracy to sugarcoat the history of Islam in textbooks. In interviews, Mr. Rives has likened his concerns about Islam to those he and other Americans once had about communists infiltrating American society.
Speaking to the state board last summer, he said that Middle Eastern companies were investing in American publishing houses, or the “textbook oligopoly,” as he called it.
“If you can control or influence our education system, you can start taking over the minds of the young people,” Mr. Rives said. “And so I think we are real passionate that you need to make a bold statement to the publishers that pushing this agenda will not be tolerated in Texas.”
As evidence of Islamic influence in textbook publishing, Mr. Rives cited a 2008 decision by the Dubai royal family to invest heavily in a company that owns the publishing house Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in Boston….