California removes ‘forced conversions’ from textbooks

Debates on these, and other elements of South Asian history and society in the State’s curriculum started almost two years ago.

July 16, 2016 12:54 am | Updated 12:54 am IST - Washington:

The California school curriculum framework approved by the State Board of Education on Thursday has altered an earlier draft by removing references to ‘forced conversion of Hindus’ by Muslims rulers and acknowledging the religious sanction of caste system.

Debates on these, and other elements of South Asian history and society in the State’s curriculum started almost two years ago, ahead of a six-yearly revision, which was completed on Thursday.

The State’s Instructional Quality Commission prepared the first draft in May after hearing groups representing contradictory viewpoints.

The Board has removed the sentence, “sometimes Turkish Muslim leaders forced Hindus to convert, but at other times rulers practiced religious toleration,” from the draft.

The curriculum will also not teach, “Arabs, who were nomadic tribesmen from Arabia, converted to a new religion, and inspired by that religion, fought wars against other cultures.” The Hindu American Foundation, which has been at the forefront of the campaign to “remove negative depiction of Hinduism” from textbooks expressed disappointment over the overall outcome.

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