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Thursday, May 24, 2007

History is offensive

There's an article in the UK's Daily Mail, saying that a UK government study has shown that "Schools are dropping the Holocaust from history lessons to avoid offending Muslim pupils." As it turns out, this sexy headline from one of the UK's most conservative newspapers is only partly true. From, we find that the study references a single school that was worried about teaching the Holocaust to Muslim students whose local mosque had indoctrinated them with a different perspective on the Holocaust. The BBC also debunked the Daily Mail's flamebait.

So, having had my righteous anger extinguished by cold fact, I do wish to say this:
  • Sometimes history is offensive (e.g. European treatment of Native Americans, slavery, etc). Knowing the folly of our ancestors is how we learn.
  • Sometimes fact is in conflict with belief. Making fact-based decisions in life avoids major mistakes.
As the spouse of a teacher, I'm happy to hear when students have their parent/faith-based/adolescent assumptions shattered by the brick of reality. These students will learn to question and to think.

It's dishonest that the Daily Mail tried to blow this out of proportion, but it's a tragedy that even one cohort of Muslim and non-Muslim students might fail to learn their history.

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