A historian has slammed the double standards employed in French schools which present Muslim conquerors as peaceful and brilliant, and Christians as backwards oppressors.
Against the backdrop of terror attacks and rising Islamic extremism worldwide, teacher and author Barbara Lefebvre contends that education on Islam has “never been more necessary”. But the historian, who has published several books on the Holocaust, argues that textbooks’ sanitisation of Muslim conquests and their presentation of an Islamic supremacist version of history is completely unhelpful.
The historian says textbooks focus on the “peaceful coexistence” of Muslims and Christians and that official guidelines tell teachers not to study “events that tend to emphasise the warlike contacts”.
She draws attention to the fact that, incredibly, books use the term “resuming control” when describing Mohammed’s conquests of previously non-Muslim areas. This presents as legitimate “reconquests” the warlord’s bloody takeovers of regions that were never previously Muslim, nor his territory.
This directive is ignored, she notes, when it comes to the Crusades, as prominent textbooks title their chapter on the subject of Christian self-defence “Violent Holy Wars”. This period of history, and the Spanish people’s reconquest of their own country, is told through a series of bloodthirsty “crimes”, Lefebvre notes.